By Tim Linscott
Perkins County Sheriff Jim Brueggeman waits patiently every day for something to be delivered.
As many people wait for a package to arrive around the holidays, Brueggeman has been waiting for over a year for his to arrive.
Brueggeman ordered ammunition for the sheriff’s office last April and is still waiting for the shipment to arrive.
The reason for the delay? A nation-wide shortage of ammunition has put off many orders to citizens and law enforcement.
Hand-gun ammunition came in a relatively quick amount of time, according to Brueggeman, however, rifle ammunition has still not arrived.
Brueggeman isn’t too concerned about the order arriving as the sheriff’s department has plenty of ammunition on hand.
“We have a sufficient stock but when we realized there was a high demand and short supply we went ahead and put in an additional order for ammunition to make sure that if it continued to be a long-term thing, we’d have plenty on stock,” Brueggeman said.
A second round of ammunition shortage began across the United States after the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting in Connecticut in late 2012. The Manchin-Toomey amendment failed in the Senate in April 2013 but the states of Colorado, Connecticut, Maryland and New York all passed new firearm restrictions.
This heightened awareness about firearms and ammunition fueled the purchase of ammunition from consumers as well as the increase of gun permits.
In Perkins County there was a 21 percent increase in firearm permits issued in 2013. Brueggeman feels the majority of those issued were done in preparation of future sanctions against firearms.
“I think permits are up because people are purchasing firearms to have them before the federal government somehow infringes on their rights,” Brueggeman said. “They want to be able to buy and possess them.”
The previous shortage of firearms and ammunition may be prompting people now to continue to secure those items, Brueggeman feels.
Matt Boggs, a manager at Wal-Mart in North Platte, explained that there is quite a variety of ammunition that is hard to get in the retail store. Once it does arrive at his store’s location, it doesn’t last long on the shelf.
“It has been quite a while like that,” Boggs said.
The firearm shortage was felt locally as Brueggeman said his department ordered some firearms but it took longer than usual to receive as the department was put on a production list.
“We still had to wait several months to get what we ordered,” Brueggeman said. “Everyone was making a mad rush to get certain types of ammunition and certain types of firearms.”
The ‘pipeline’ time to fill production orders is coming back slowly, according to Brueggeman, so his department continues to patiently wait.
“It isn’t 100 percent better, but it is getting better. It is better than where we were a year ago,” Bruegggeman said.
The sheriff’s office orders ammunition yearly and rotates through the supply as deputies go to the firing range.
The way of ordering ammunition isn’t different, it is the waiting that is different for Brueggeman and his deputies.
“It is new for us to wait for an order. We are used to placing an order and it just shows up within a short period of time,” he said. “Waiting on it is something we’ve not had to do before.”
It will still take some time for the chain of supply to catch up as the military and law enforcement departments still have a need for ammunition and public demand is still high.
“As long as there is that demand for it, this will be an on-going thing,” Brueggeman said.