The aftermath of the Sandy Hook school shooting has led to a push for stricter gun control laws, which, in turn, has caused U.S. consumers to buy and stockpile guns and ammunition that may one day be unavailable or illegal.
Given the higher demand, prices on guns and ammunition have risen, and local police departments aren't immune to these economic trends.
However, it's not just the Newtown, Conn., massacre or recent legislative proposals that have affected prices and backlogged orders; so to find out more on the issue, Patch corresponded via email with Kent Police Capt. Paul Canfield.
Here's what he had to say:
Kent Patch: Is the Kent Police Department paying more for ammunition following the Sandy Hook tragedy?
Paul Canfield: Ammunition prices have risen steadily since 2003. I suspect that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have something to do with that. However, I've also heard folks in the firearms industry say that competition for natural resources (lead, brass, copper, etc.) by developing nations (specifically China) has had a significant impact on ammunition prices.
Patch: How much will you spend this year in ammunition versus last?
Canfield: The Kent Police Department's budget for ammunition is the same this year as it was last year. Depending on our current stock of ammunition, KPD may purchase more or less ammunition this year as compared with last year. Therefore, it may be difficult to compare year-to-year expenditures on ammunition.
Patch: Have you experienced any delays in receiving ammunition you've ordered?
Canfield: Since 2003, there have been a number of years when KPD has experienced delays in fulfillment related to ammunition orders. Suppliers are predicting delays up to six months or more on ammunition orders for 2013. At this time, we have no way to predict the actual length of the delay.
Patch: Is the cost of ammunition constricting your budget; or do you have the available funds to purchase it?
Canfield: There never seems to be enough money for ammunition and time for training. The general public expects every officer to be an expert with firearms. That's quite an undertaking, and it requires training and ammunition.
As in past years, KPD training staff must balance available funding for training time and other resources to keep officers adequately trained. I have never experienced a time when resources weren't scarce. We do our best to manage what is available carefully and be good stewards of public funding.