Ammunition shortage affects local law enforcement agencies

TAMPA BAY - Across the country and the bay area, many shelves for ammunition sit empty while gun shows are seeing unprecedented lines of people buying guns and bullets.

St. Pete Police have already seen a delay. While they have an ample supply for ammo that officers carry on the street, there's an issue with the bullets they use for target practice.

There has been such a dramatic run on this stuff right now. They (retailers) have actually back ordered it. They have promised we will get it, but they can't put a date on it like they used to," said Mike Puetz, a spokesperson with the St. Pete Police Department.

Puetz stressed there is no reason to be alarmed -- yet.

Depending on how long this disruption and distribution continues, it certainly could become a problem down the pike," said Puetz.

Manatee officials said if this keeps up they could be waiting a year for delivery on their shipments!

The Tampa Police Department said they have stockpiled ammunition.  But because of the surge in demand,  they actually changed procedure, at least temporarily.

"Instead of issuing officers practice ammo, we are now scheduling open range days and then when the officers show up for those days, they are then give the ammo to utilize. So we want to prevent any shortage by having better control over our practice ammo," said Laura McElroy, a spokesperson for the Tampa Police Department.

Pinellas and Pasco County are keeping a close eye on the issue as well. Spokespeople from both agencies said they have been ordering ample amounts since the war on terror began over 10 years ago. And since then have been keeping an abundant supply.

Hillsborough sheriff officials said they have stockpiled as well.

Puetz said no matter what the agencies will keep citizens safe. If need be they will take what ever measures necessary.

"Obviously if we thought there was an issue of public safety, we would reach out to our elected officials to maybe help with us securing these types of tools and equipment that we need. I don't think it has gotten to the point where we need to get into special legislation at this point," said Puetz.

Law enforcement officials said they receive priority when buying ammunition. But, if there is none out there there is simply none to buy.

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