NASHUA -- With gun and ammunition sales surging in recent weeks, the city police department wants to make sure its ammunition needs are filled promptly.
"The demand is high. We want to make sure that we can get our order in," said Karen Smith, business manager for the Nashua Police Department. "The vendors are very busy."
On Wednesday, the same day President Barack Obama publicly outlined his new gun plan, the city's aldermanic Finance Committee approved spending $71,494 on ammunition for local police.
"Due to the current state of ammunition shortages and excessive backorders, it was determined best to solicit the two firms that have consistently participated over the last decade," said a memo written to Mayor Donnalee Lozeau, chairman of the Finance Committee.
The committee approved a contract award to Riley's Sport Shop in Hooksett for the department's ammunition supply. The largest portion of the order consists of 145 cases of .40-caliber Smith and Wesson bullets, with 1,000 rounds per case.
Officer Todd Moriarty said the amount of ammunition being ordered is about the same as last year. While the request to order ammo is not ahead of schedule, police officials reiterated that the demand right now is high for the ammunition, explaining they need to get their order placed as soon as possible because of an estimated four to six month delivery date.
According to PoliceOne.com, an online law enforcement resource, police agencies throughout the nation are dealing with ammunition shortages and backorders, largely in part because more civilians are purchasing guns and ammunition.
The Finance Committee also approved the purchase of 22 new bulletproof vests for the police force. At a cost of $13,750, 13 of the vests will replace aging body armor, while the remaining nine vests will be used for new hires, including four new police officers hired last month.
Moriarty explained that bulletproof vests are custom fit for each individual officer, and that they are not reused by policemen.
"I support this plan. I think people who do this for a living need protection," said Alderman-at-Large David Deane.
Both the ammunition and bulletproof vest purchases were approved unanimously by the committee.