But retailers say much of the demand is from gun owners who are stockpiling in case certain weapons are banned, who believe that economic chaos may be coming, or who are driven by rumors of inevitable background checks or rising taxes on ammunition. Gun sellers and owners say a run on ammunition began shortly after President Obama was re-elected, and has intensified in the gun-violence debate since the December mass killing of 20 children and six adults at a school in Newtown, Conn.

“We absolutely are in uncharted territory,” said Larry Hyatt, of the family-owned Hyatt Gun Shop in Charlotte, N.C.. “Our store is 53 years old, and we have never seen anything like this. We have had some spot shortages and busy gun times in the past. This is a level (of demand) never before seen.”

He adds: “The political turmoil is intensifying it. People feel like this administration is very anti-gun, and they are going for the legal gun owner.” Among the rumors he hears, he says, are that taxes on ammunition are going up and that background checks for ammunition purchases are coming.