Firearm Photo

Handgun availability remains low across the country. J & B Outdoors usually has 100 readily available. Currently, the store only has 12 ready to be purchased.

Sales in the last year in many categories have been nothing short of unprecedented, with toilet paper running out in stores, meat shortages and mask requirements.

The oddities do not stop there. With the United States being a country that protects a citizen’s right to purchase and own firearms, there is hardly enough supply of ammunition to go around. There are similar times where ammunition ran low during election years, but never to this capacity.

“We have been in business 10 years. I have never, in my 10 years or lifetime, never seen this kind of a skewed supply and demand,” Jeff Leonard, the owner of J & B Outdoors, said. “The inventory is not keeping up with the demand. Every election it does get bad, but nothing like this. We have never seen anything like this.”

The number of background checks for firearms, according to the FBI, was just more than 39 million for 2020. That is 11 million more checks than any year on record, with the database going back to 1998.

The state of Missouri accounted for just over 700,000 of those firearm-related background checks. That is the highest amount conducted in the state’s history. Inaugurations are another key date for spikes in gun sales, and with 4 million background checks in January of 2021, that was the most in a month in the country’s history.

Firearm supply has been low, but ammunition is almost bare.

“There is definitely a spike in interest, but the supply is just not there,” Leonard said. “When you do get some in, you have to limit one box per customer and stuff like that.”

There is no telling when the hot streak of gun purchases will cool down. Manufacturers have been working to keep up with orders and try to put ammunition on shelves.

“From what I am hearing, all the major manufacturers are all running around the clock trying to get caught up,” Leonard said. “I think with all the pandemic, rioting, looting, and an election year, the combination has driven the demand through the roof.”

Zach Fisher can be reached at

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