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ATLANTA -- From gun shops to gun shows, customers have had one burning question for weeks:Where has all the ammo gone?

Stockpiles are empty and what's left can cost a small fortune that many are willing to pay.

AtGeorgia Range and Gunsin Forest Park, the brass on the floor might as well be gold. It's just as rare and the price is through the roof.

"We're seeing it on ammo that normally wouldn't be an issue, like .22s which have never had shortages in the past," said David Aldea, who operates the range. "We're seeing it with shotgun ammunition; we're seeing it with regular handgunammunitionthat are not of great supply."

Indeed, when the shelves are empty, it's all they can do to keep enough ammo on hand just to sell to those who want to use the range.

The story is the same all over the country.

"It's my opinion that the gun owners are doing it to themselves," said Jerry Henry ofGeorgiaCarry.org."We did the same thing when Barack Obama was elected president. There was a big run on ammunition. There was a big run on guns. Everybody thought we were going to lose everything. And I think the same thing has happened now to some degree."

Cheaper bullets can cost about a nickel a round versus 50 cents or more for the more expensive ones. But now both are in short supply.

And it's not just civilians buying all they can get. It's the government as well, buying hundreds of millions of rounds.

"At the very same time, there are a lot of supply issues with government orders with various departments and entities," Aldea said. "They are trying to get their orders in for their yearly allotments for their agents to qualify (on firearms training)."

Meanwhile, anything connected to guns is flying off shelves, especially the guns themselves. The buying hysteria appears to be triggered by the still-looming threat of gun control legislation.

The last time it happened in 2008, it took almost a year to stabilize the market. This time, some believe it could be much longer.

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