Spike in gun, ammo demand hits local police agencies

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by JIM DOUGLAS

Bio | Email | Follow: @wfaajdouglas

WFAA

Posted on January 16, 2013 at 7:24 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jan 16 at 8:42 PM

DALWORTHINGTON GARDENS – The spike in gun and ammunition sales is beginning to have an impact on law enforcement agencies that also need them.  

Police departments in the North Texas towns of Gunter and Van Alstyne both report trouble finding the two. Fort Worth and Arlington Police join the Tarrant County Sheriff's department in reporting adequate supplies, but say they expect to pay more in coming months.  

The Dalworthington Gardens Police Department just received a shipment of about 13,000 rounds. It ordered ammo immediately after the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre because the chief anticipated shortages and price hikes as the gun control debate heated up.

"We wanted to save money and make sure we had the ammo because we've been there before when there were ammo shortages, and we didn't want to be there again," said Chief Bill Waybourn.

He's referring to the run-up in firearm sales surrounding President Barack Obama's first election. Waybourn's officers now have enough ammunition for mandatory range training, but the department is feeling the effects from a spike in assault rifle sales. 

"We've had a difficult time finding back up parts for the AR-15," Waybourn said. 

The AR-15 rifle has become standard police equipment.    

The Major Cities Chiefs Association, which includes Fort Worth and Dallas, recently urged the White House to reinstate the ban on AR-15s and other assault rifles. The chiefs also recommended bans on magazines weighing more than 10 rounds as well as Internet ammo sales. The group wants mandatory reports for all purchases, transfers and thefts of firearms.

Chief Waybourn is not in lockstep with all the association's recommendations.

"We've got some places to fix, but I don't necessarily think gun control is the answer," he says. Specifically, he believes banning assault rifles would have little impact.

Waybourn is also feeling the effects of increased gun sales in another way. He's an instructor for concealed handgun license applicants. He says he normally has about 20 students per month. This month, it's closer to 100.

Email jdouglas@wfaa.com

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