Lakes area retailers see ammo and firearms shortages, increase in gun permits

The number of people getting gun permits in Minnesota's lakes country continues to skyrocket, but it comes at a time when gun shops around the region are having trouble getting ammo and firearms.

We are part of The Trust Project.

DETROIT LAKES, Minn. — At Lakes Sports Shop in Detroit Lakes, Minn., the display cases and walls are still full of firearms for sale. But it has been a tough year with an ammo shortage.

"There were 8 million new gun owners last year, and if you times that by two boxes of shells per gun owner, that is 16 million boxes," explained shop employee Jim Keeley. "On a good year, they make, maybe 4 million."

Making things more complicated, it is also a tough time for gun sellers to get guns.

"It's just a material shortage more than anything," Keeley said. "It's hard to get trying to get different metals or steel and getting workers is another problem that they are running into."

Right now supply is not meeting demand. In Becker County, nearly 500 permits were issued in 2019, and almost 900 were issued in 2020. In the first three months of 2021, Becker County is on track to break a record.


In Otter Tail County in 2019, 997 permits to carry were issued in that county. In 2020, the number jumped to 1453 permits. So far this year, the county has issued 339 permits.

Last year, it jumped to 1,453. The first two months of this year was 339.

In Clay County permits issued more than doubled from 410 permits in 2019, to 950 in 2020.

"We want people to have a reality of what they are getting into and know the ramifications," said Bruce Anderson, a certified firearms instructor for Red Bull Firearms Training.

Gun retailers hope with the pandemic winding down, the bottleneck of ammo and guns will open up so supply can finally meet demand.

Kevin Wallevand has been a Reporter at WDAY-TV since 1983. He is a native of Vining, Minnesota in Otter Tail County. His series and documentary work have brought him to Africa, Vietnam, Haiti, Kosovo, South America, Mongolia, Juarez,Mexico and the Middle East. He is an multiple Emmy and national Edward R. Murrow award recipient.

Contact Email:
Phone Number: (701) 241-5317
What to read next
Amber Erickson, Kristie Haefner and Leslie Valiant are filling three vacancies on the Ridgewater College Foundation Board, comprised of community volunteers from the region. The college has campuses in Willmar and Hutchinson.
Healthy Fusion in Willmar has launched what is being called "Cardinal Project" to bring the community together. The business expanded next door to add a multipurpose room for business meetings, classes or other community events. The space is also open during business hours as a hangout for students and young adults.
Cathy Scheibe, at 82, of LaMoure, North Dakota, continues with Toy Farmer Magazine, more than 22 years after her husband and co-founder, Claire, died. She talks about how the company is changing and preparing for transitions, about how markets for toy tractors and construction equipment have been unusually strong due to the pandemic and supply chain issues for new toy commemorative projects.
Becky Lang comes to Conway, Deuth & Schmiesing in Willmar with 12 years of private accounting experience and seven years of public accounting experience. She is a new staff auditor with the firm.