PLATTE COUNTY– Newly elected president Joe Biden has made statements concerning gun control that has several Wyoming residents a bit cautious about the weapons they own and the weapons they are purchasing. Biden also hinted that he would limit the sale of ammunition.
According to joebiden.com, “Joe Biden knows that gun violence is a public health epidemic. Almost 40,000 people die as a result of firearm injuries every year in the United States, and many more are wounded. Some of these deaths and injuries are the result of mass shootings that make national headlines. Others are the result of daily acts of gun violence or suicides that may not make national headlines, but are just as devastating to the families and communities left behind.”
“Joe Biden has taken on the National Rifle Association (NRA) on the national stage and won – twice.”
Statements like these have caused more gun owners to research their rights, purchase more guns and to begin stockpiling ammunition. There are many rumors flying around as to who is stockpiling and panic buying.
According to Offthegridnews.com, “Home defense is where people really go crazy on ammunition purchases. But is that realistic? When infantry soldiers go off to battle, they carry what is known as a “basic combat load.” That’s the amount of ammo that they are expected to use in one day’s fighting. Do you really think you’re going to use more ammo than an infantry soldier?
The basic load of rifle ammunition for an infantry soldier is 210 rounds. That’s seven, 30-round magazines. One is in their rifle and the others are in ammo pouches on their chest rig. For those who carry a pistol (usually rear area troops and upper-level officers), they carry three magazines’ worth. You should have ammo for both, as you should be carrying both. Okay, so if we use that as a basis, then how many basic loads of ammo do you need? This is subject to argument, but I seriously doubt that any of us are going to use more than two. If you survive through that much fighting, you’re amazing. Most of us will probably die long before we reach that point.
The other issue here is portability. Ammo is heavy. If you’re ‘bugging out,’ you probably won’t be able to take more than two basic loads with you — one on your person and another in your vehicle. Once again, if you survive through that much fighting, you’re simply amazing.
Of two of the gun shops in Platte County, Able Tactical in Guernsey and Teel Gun Works LLC in Wheatland, both have said that ammo is harder to come by at this time. Not impossible, but harder to come by.
Shane and Misty Clevenger own Able Tactical in Guernsey. Shane said that his take on things was the fact that there somewhere between 6 and 7 million people who have never owned guns before went out to purchase guns this year.
“Ammunition also goes with that,” he said. “I read an article by the Federal CEO and they have gone to three shifts to make the ammo, but they need time to train people, and even so they have made more ammunition this year than they’ve ever made.”
Clevenger said that he thinks the lack of ammunition is due to both the government and panic buyers.
“A lot of police departments, especially smaller police departments, they’ll shoot practice ammo or like the academy uses frangible ammo,” Clevenger said. “So a lot of agencies will shoot the less expensive stuff and have their duty rounds for duty and normally we change those out once a year.”
He also stipulated that the federal government doesn’t cut corners with their ammo and uses top grade ammo for everything.
You can visit Able Tactical at abletactical.com for all of you gun and ammo needs or if you want to schedule yourself for a training session. Clevenger said that they cannot advertise training on Facebook because it gets removed. They are planning on putting training videos up on the Rumble app. They are also on My Liberty page and Mewe.com. You can also reach them at (843) 575-1911.
“Classes range from your traditional basic firearms training,” said Misty Clevenger. “We do all women’s courses too which I teach along with another instructor. We do a variety of classes from pistol to shotgun and rifle.”
The shop which has been open for five years at 42 S. Wyoming Street in Guernsey gives a good solid foundation of marksmanship skills. For beginners, the Clevengers will bring an array of guns to the range and help them find one that suits their needs. The couple believe in “test driving” the guns before purchasing.
Clevenger said that people who are now afraid of purchasing a gun with some of the threats from the new administration, should go out and get involved in one of the national groups that defends the right to bear firearms. Although the National Rifle Association has recently filed for bankruptcy, there is still the National Shooting Sports Federation.
“As far as training goes, we want to get people out there,” he said. “We want to get them trained and we teach every age class from kids marksmanship to SWAT tactics. I don’t do hunter safety yet, but that is one of the things we are trying to get.”
Some gun owners have said they have seen a change in gun and ammo purchasing pre- and postelection.
“We have not seen a big change yet,” he said. “People were panic buying after the statement was made that the government was going to come after their assault weapons. First of all, there is no such thing as an assault weapon. The government has said now that they are openly going to tax ammunition, have a higher tax on firearms, buybacks, magazine capacity limits. Everyone has a question and that’s why everyone should get involved. It’s not the time to sit back and say nothing.”
Al Teel who owns Teel Gun Works LLC in Wheatland agrees with the term “assault rifle” being a battle rifle.
“If what we have now is considered an assault rifle then the 1873 Shiloh was an assault rifle,” Teel said. “It would have been an assault rifle for what they had at the time.”
Teel who was born in California is a decorated Army veteran and opened his gun shop in Wheatland as a hobby in 1986.
“I came to Wheatland in ’74,” Teel said. “I cut wheat here. As a kid I lived on Field and Stream and Outdoor Life and I had always wanted to live in Montana or Wyoming. So here I am.”
Teel who runs his shop as a secondary business works as a member services manager for the REA.
“The gun shop started out as a hobby, but I’ve always been one of those people who don’t know when to say when,” Teel said. “It just kept building over the years and I take pretty good care of my customers so they keep coming back.”
When a lot of gun owners are scrambling to buy guns to sell, Teel says that he’s doing “just fine,” and attributes his supply from staying on top of things several months ago before a lot of the panic buying set in.
“But now, it has become a lot harder,” Teel said. “I’ll pick up one here and one there. To give you an example, one of my larger wholesalers, normally if I go to their website and I’ll click on handguns which is revolvers and semi-auto, pistols, derringers, anyway they normally have 3500 different models and variations of models, and I click on their stock and he has two. Yesterday it was down to one.”
He went on to say that there definitely is a shortage of ammo at this point.
Michael Brown, police officer in Guernsey said, “There is a definite lack of ammo and in some cases, it’s hard to get. Teel from Wheatland supplies our ammo and so far, we have gotten what we’ve needed.”
Grady Winders who is the undersheriff with the Platte County Sheriff Department concurs and said, “It is difficult to get ammo. We still have been able to get our ammo but the manufacturer told me it has gotten harder to get the components which does extend the amount of time to receive the order.”
Teel mentions that there are two things primarily the reason for the ammo and the gun shortages.
“You have all these people in these cities that used to vote for gun control are now saying that if the police department goes away, I got to protect myself, so maybe I better buy guns,” Teel said. “And when all the country folks have everything they want, see the new demand and decide to gear up their supply.”
According to Teel another factor is the COVID response, the social distancing requirements at the factories which allow the manufacturers to operate sometimes at only 50% of their production staff. So naturally they are producing less.
“You get that less production and larger demand and that really hurts the supply chain,” Teel said. “As for having reloading supplies so people can keep their own supplies, I told someone one time, ‘where do you suppose I’d put them?’”
Teel runs his gun shop in a limited space and in fact has customers from an appointment only basis. Inquiries and supplies can be purchased by contacting Teel at [email protected] or by calling (307) 331-0319.
Teel has a gun inventory of about 250 guns and has more ammo on his shelves than some of the bigger stores. He says that potential gun owners at this time have been leaning toward buying handguns and the 9 mm handguns are his bestseller. As for the cost, Teel says it’s like buying a car. The 9 mm is the gun of choice for buyers because according to Teel, the ammo is cheaper simply because you have less lead grain in the casing, less powder and the casing is smaller and more inexpensive.
The guns range from the less inexpensive all the way to the more expensive top of the line models. He advocates that first time gun owners listen to his advice for what their needs are and then he automatically takes the buyer to a gun range and gives free of charge training on how to use the gun they are buying, provided they buy the gun from him. He says that the easiest gun to use is a revolver because all you have to do is pull the trigger.
“But I’ll tell you, I don’t just sell a handgun to somebody for self-defense and turn them loose if they’re not familiar with them,” he said. “I mean anyone can come in and buy a gun if they pass a background check, but if they are inexperienced, I make arrangements with them and let them know I am going to take them out and teach them how to shoot.”
Many people will do their homework on the internet, but to get the most of guns and ammo, it’s best to actually go into a gun shop and talk with an expert that not only knows guns and ammo, but can educate you on the use thereof. They are also up to date on new regulations and can verify or debunk the rumors that are flying around concerning guns and gun control.