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Hurricanes and Supply Chains: 2021 Edition

Hurricane Ida
Flooded streets are shown in the Spring Meadow subdivision in LaPlace, La., after Hurricane Ida moved through Monday, Aug. 30, 2021. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

During these very strange and trying times, now seemed to be a good time to do a quick industry update. A lot of items are still hard to come by and are only being distributed to larger accounts. Ammo is starting to come back, but prices are a lot higher than they were before, amidst newly increased demand from news of a Russian importation ban.

One thing that the supply chain really wasn’t counting on was the 2021 hurricane season.  As of this writing, tens of of thousands in Louisiana are without power thanks to Hurricane Ida tearing through the state this past weekend.

Two of the largest sporting goods wholesalers in the nation are located in Louisiana. Both of them supply a large number of firearm retailers around the nation. Baton Rouge is badly flooded, Shreveport much less so.

Throughout a storm-ravaged Orleans Parish, interstates are open to first responders only, and electrical linemen are working from New Orleans to Baton Rouge to get power restored and life back to normal for these folks. Verizon is rolling in their portable COW’s – Cells on Wheels – while many folks are dealing with the fact that that their house no longer has a roof.

I placed some orders for products last week with Lipsey’s, a Baton Rouge institution, since they had a few things my customers needed. I was told the storm may delay a few things. Without actually talking to someone in the industry, it would be difficult to know how a storm of this size hitting this area could impact things, but here are a few truths about guns.

We’re not really sure when things will get back to normal in the bayou.

A firearm distribution warehouse has a lot of moving parts. They need salespeople, compliance staff, IT folks and warehouse staff.

With the storm incoming, Lipsey’s sent an email blast to all customers announcing that orders would be delayed and they were closed Monday and until they can get back up and running. Form 3’s won’t be sent out or looked at, orders won’t be pulled and packed for shipment, and families will be fixing any storm damage.

If your local firearm retailer ordered something for you, it’ll take a little while for any order at Lipsey’s to work its way through.

Even if the power gets turned back on, there also has to be working internet, there have to be people in the warehouse, they need passable non-flooded roads, and Fedex has to have the staff to get trucks and trailers to and from their facility.

Based on the news and the photos of flooding in the area, it’s not entirely clear when things will be back to normal. The Shreveport area where Sports South is located looks much more clear, but that’s not to say delivery issues with Fedex or UPS won’t have ripple effects throughout the network.

One customer of mine is waiting for some SilencerCo products that is pending shipment from Lipsey’s. He had a very interesting question today. He asked me if the hurricane knocks things out for a few weeks, will he be able to get all of his promotional free goods paperwork submitted in time?

I had no idea what a category 4 storm plus ATF Form 3 delays would mean, so I called SilencerCo and asked. They basically said just call them if there’s a significant delay and they’ll work with the customer to get the free merchandise out as promised.

In short: Proper Communication can lead to only Minor Aggravation.

There are a lot of folks who work for Lipsey’s in the Baton Rouge area who are no doubt impacted by the storm and eager to get back to work and normal life. Please consider them in your thoughts and prayers before you call your firearm retailer and wonder why your order isn’t in.






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