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Flathead gun stores face product shortages

By Scott Zoltan, KECI Reporter, szoltan@keci.com
Published On: Jan 17 2013 11:12:08 PM MST
KALISPELL, Mont. -

Brass and Bullets owner Junior Szklarz pulls up his ordering system, and in some sections, he sees nothing but zeros. Those zeros mean he’s been sending many customers home empty handed, even when they’re just looking for basic stuff like primers and powders. Skzlarz says the shortage started up after the Newtown shooting.

“Those of us in the retail industry started to see our distributors on a national level begin to deplete by at least 30 percent December 14, after the shooting, so by that evening, we noticed that semiautomatic rifles, handguns, and the like were already starting to be purchased at an alarming rate” said Szklarz.

Customers came in and out of his store on Thursday, including one woman looking for a 9mm, and a man looking for a type of bullet.

“Considering I see his face at least once a month, whether he’s in here just to visit or whether he’s purchasing, it’s hard” said Szklarz.

“If I don’t have anything to sell then I can’t earn a living…If I can’t pay my bills, I’m out of business,” said Szklarz.

Customers have been frantically trying to stock up, and that means rudeness in some customers.

“I got into an argument with a local physician over this and he just had a very hard time understanding that he couldn’t have what he wanted,” said Szklarz.

Szklarz put up signs, warning that he can take the primers off the shelves and sell them elsewhere.

“I’ve also told them that there are none for me to order so because of that I do put people on restrictions.” said Szklarz. “If they want to keep fighting me on it I’m just going to have to eliminate the reason to fight.”

He doesn’t want to do that to his customers though, not with the limited supplies out there and not with the zeroes that wont be anything but zeroes for quite some time.