Local sheriffs' departments are waiting to buy ammunition this year, because prices have doubled and supplies are limited. Panic buying among the general public is being blamed.
Ammunition plays a big role in the budgets for local law enforcement, and when prices rise departments have few choices. They can stomach the increased cost and pull money from other areas or they can forego buying ammo and hope prices drop. That's what a number of sheriffs' departments are doing in Wisconsin. Shawano County Detective Keith Sorlie says bullets for their AR-15 rifles are usually around $0.35 apiece, but since the Newtown school shooting and talk of an assault weapons ban, he says prices have more than doubled.
"The price for an individual round is as high as a dollar apiece. So, at this point we are not purchasing those rounds due to the fact that we have a supply that will last us for approximately a half a year."
Sorlie says his department was able to stock up last June when prices were low, but they'll have to buy more bullets later this year. He says hopefully prices will go back to normal but if not, tough choices will have to be made.
"We may have to limit the amount of other firearms that we replace. We'd have to use a target for longer than we would normally, out on the range. Things like that."
Some departments are even reporting up to nine-month wait lists for rifle ammo. Taylor County Sheriff's Department Captain Tony Sheckles says they too have a slight reserve for 2013, but hopes wholesalers will get resupplied by late summer.
"If we can't come across ammunition by the end of the year, maybe, it could affect our training."
The Department of Criminal Investigation is also reacting to increased ammo costs. They're using conversion kits for their AR-15s that allow them to shoot a much cheaper type of bullet.