Gun shop owner sees increased demand for guns and ammunition, decreased inventory

BILLINGS- Many industries have had challenges getting inventory in during the pandemic and the firearm industry is no exception. With gun sales up this year, a gun shop owner said it's becoming a challenge to get some inventory in.

Matt Zimmerman, owner of Butt's Gun Sales, said demand has been up ever since the beginning of the pandemic. Then, he said it escalated with some of the protests around the country. He said demand is still up, but it's hard to get inventory in right now.

"They normally catalog over 3400 different kinds of handguns," Zimmerman said. "That's a lot of different styles, colors, barreling, all of that stuff- 3400. Out of that, what's actually available to order are 11. And, to be quite honest those are the 11 handguns nobody wants anyway. So, everything in between is just flat gone or it's at least allocated. So, that's why you have to call all the time just to see if they have anything you might want to order. That's how bad the inventory count has gotten today."

Zimmerman said the shortages apply to ammunition as well.

"It's not unusual to get 1,000 rounds of say 9 or 223 or some of these more popular calibers and it will all be gone in a day or two," he said. "So, then we just have to wait to get more. I mean, I would love to have more ammunition, but it's just not available."

Zimmerman said the three guns that are the hardest to get right now are: short barrel shotguns, semiautomatic handguns and AR-15s. Zimmerman said once they are in the store, they don't last long.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is reporting more firearms background checks already this year than in any other year since they started tracking it in 1998. said firearm sales were up 57.8% in August 2020 versus August of 2019. They also said approximately 1.8 million handguns were sold in the United States during August of 2020.

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