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Where is All the Powder?


Fear of changes in firearms laws has led to panic buying and depleted powder supply.  We’re redoubling our efforts to get propellants back to dealer shelves, and there are things you can be doing, too.

As an industry, we have been through scares before.  There was the Clinton era “Assault Weapons Ban” and another after the elections in 2008 that showed not all gun owners believed that President Obama had no intention to limit their rights.  Four more years, and a completely expected about-face by our President regarding gun rights, have led to our current political situation.  People are genuinely afraid that there will be significant changes in firearms laws, and the result there has been a huge increase in demand for shooting related products.  To date, this panic buying is the largest the firearm’s industry has ever seen.

Manufacturing products takes planning and involves a long logistics tail of raw goods, processing, packaging and shipping.  These details are always planned out months and sometimes years in advance.  In our case, along with all the other propellant dealers in the United States, there are complex issues with transportation of raw goods from one country to another.  Our production goals and the estimates of other major manufacturers were based on a market that could not have anticipated the actions of one deranged young man with a rifle. Like the rest of the industry, our plans were set and our production schedules cannot quickly be changed.

Our customer service people are frequently asked when this will end and the components will return to the shelves.  When our planners are asked the same question, by a different set of people, both answers are the same.  We don’t know when it will end.  As a company, we are racing to supply our product but, for now, the demand is simply greater than our ability to supply.

I have been asked repeatedly, and sometimes in whispered tones, if it is true that the government is somehow limiting our sales to the public.  They are not.  Nor are they asking us to somehow adulterate our powders to make them inert in a few years.  The only governmental hurdles we face are the same ones of importation and transportation that we have managed for years.  There are no dark forces at play here, only fear that the Federal Government is going to further abridge the Second Amendment.

In this regard, there are a number of things that you can do to help.  You can contact your representatives in Congress and remind them that shooting sports are enjoyed by millions of honest voters who do not deserve to be judged for crimes they would never commit.  You can contact the President and tell him the same thing.  Join shooting clubs and especially the beleaguered National Rifle Association, which seems to be the lone voice against a rising tide of anti-gun sentiment.  We will do those things too, and we will double our efforts to bring propellants back to your dealer’s shelves.