Ammo shortage impacting local gun stores, possibly law enforcement

FILE - This March 27, 2006 file photo, shows a Bushmaster AR-15 semi-automatic rifle and ammunition on display at the Seattle Police headquarters in Seattle. The maker of the Bushmaster rapid-fire weapon used to kill schoolchildren in Connecticut on Friday, Dec. 14, 2012, was put up for sale on Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2012, as investors soured on the gun business. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

WVLT -- The debate over gun control has resulted in a nationwide shortage of ammunition.

In East Tennessse, ammo is flying off store shelves and it could have an impact on law enforcement.

Some of the toughest bullets to get your hands on these days: 556 ammunition. Brant Williams of Frontier Firearms in Kingston told Local 8 News most his suppliers are sold out.

"The manufacturers don't have the capacity to meet the high demand that we have right now," Williams said.

He said it's also tough to load a 9 mm.

"It's almost impossible," he said.

It's a similar situation at Allen's Guns and Leather store in Lenoir City.

Allen Maddox told Local 8 News there's a high demand, but not enough supply.

"Pretty much day to day, I'm on the phone calling looking for more ammo. It's kind of a struggle to keep it in," Maddox said.

The shortage began shortly after the Sandy Hook school shooting. Many started buying guns and ammo, afraid they'd become harder to get with tougher regulations.

But it's not just the public, law enforcement could also be impacted.

"Budget and availability. Those are the two things I'm most concerned with going into this new year," said Lenoir City Police Chief Don White.

Chief White said the department has enough ammo to last through spring training.

"As soon as we finish training, we will deplete most of our inventory so that's where the unknown comes in to play," he said. "We'll have to restock that inventory in April."

Come April or May, restocking could take some time.

For now, folks will continue to buy. And more people are signing up for permits and classes to maintain their "right to bear arms."