By Anna M. Tinsley

Most days are like Christmas for Glen Furtardo.

When he opens boxes sent to the Winchester Gallery gun store in east Fort Worth, he finds out what ammunition he’ll have to stock his shelves with that day as demand for weapons and ammo soars.

Reports of heavy sales at gun stores began around the time of Barack Obama’s election as president, and months later, dealers are facing ammo shortages nationwide.

"People are panicking and buying," said Furtardo, assistant manager. "The crime rate is high, and they are flat scared of what is going to happen in the next few years with the economy and the country. Manufacturers weren’t prepared for this."

Retailers and consumers say there may be several reasons gun stores are running out of ammunition — and the cost of what is available is rising.

There’s a widespread expectation that Obama’s administration will follow through on a campaign promise to reimpose an assault weapons ban. Some people fear that taxes on ammunition, guns and other firearms-related materials might drastically increase, as they have on cigarettes.

Administration officials and Democratic leaders in Congress began saying this month that while they hope to eventually change gun control policies, they will not push the assault weapons ban for now because they know how divisive that debate would be and they don’t want to distract from other goals.

The slumping economy — and the angst it brings — is also prompting many first-time buyers to purchase guns and stockpile ammunition. But the economy could also make it hard for manufacturers to get credit to buy supplies to make all that ammo.

Whatever the reason, gun stores nationwide face back-ordered ammunition requests and in some cases a wait of six to eight months for delivery.

As the demand grows, the cost of ammunition is rising — as is the cost of guns and supplies such as cleaning kits and eye and ear protection.

"This is the same thing the oil industry did to us, but now it’s with ammunition," said Tom Mullenix of Oklahoma, who recently shopped at Cheaper Than Dirt in Fort Worth.