Via SayUncle, a picture of a Wal-Mart li…

Via SayUncle, a picture of a Wal-Mart limiting ammo purchases to 2 boxes of the same SKU per day. So far, the ammo shortage has led to the classic economic consequences of shortages: the ones who don’t raise prices are almost always out of stock. For example, anyone selling 9mm (9×19) for less than $.40/round has none to sell you.

Other places that don’t raise their prices in proportion to demand (like the Wal-Mart above) have limited purchasing amounts. Recently, I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard the story of Wal-Mart getting a weekly ammo delivery and within two hours, guys buying 1000+ rounds (20+ boxes) have walked out with all of it. Given that Wal-Mart kinda makes their buck on “Always Low Prices”, I guess offsetting demand isn’t an option for them.

And then there are places like the local range, and the local sporting good stores, that reliably have the stuff in stock, but you’ll be paying for it. Reliably, but costly.

The interesting thing? The government regulates ammunition sales relatively lightly. It’s pretty close to the microeconomic perfect competitive market: many producers, many consumers; homogenous products (aside from bullet weight); pretty good dissemination of information. The only thing missing is low market entry cost.