Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
Table of contents
- New Changes Take Effect
- Centralized System Incoming
- Cost Implications for Background Checks on Ammo Purchases
- New Requirements At a Glance (Courtesy of The Bradford Era )
- The SAFE Act and Ammunition Checks
- Local Businesses Complain About Delays
- The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) Responds
- Lawsuit In the Works
New Changes Take Effect
This month, New York is experiencing pivotal changes to its gun laws. The state is moving away from the FBI handling firearm-related NICS background checks.
Now, the New York State Police (NYSP) will manage all these checks. What could go wrong?
Centralized System Incoming
NY Exec. Law § 228, enacted last year, drives this transition. It requires the State Police Superintendent to establish a “centralized” bureau for checks.
Dealers were required to submit background check requests to this bureau starting last Wednesday, Sept. 13th.
Cost Implications for Background Checks on Ammo Purchases
To manage the costs associated with this centralized approach, § 228(5) permits the state to levy fees on these background checks.
Reports by local media indicate the fees will be an additional $9 for firearms and $2.50 for ammunition — on all purchases and transfers.
New Requirements At a Glance (Courtesy of The Bradford Era)
- Shifts New York state from a jurisdiction in which the FBI conducts firearms-related National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) background checks, to one in which the New York State Police are the “point of contact” for background checks.
- Requires the NYSP to conduct background checks on all firearm and ammunition purchases in the state.
- Authorizes NYSP to charge fees for each background check on purchases and transfers. Those fees have been set at $9 for firearms and $2.50 for ammunition.
- Requires the NYSP to create and maintain a statewide firearms license and records database to be used for ammunition sales as well as for the certification and recertification of permits and assault weapon registration.
The SAFE Act and Ammunition Checks
The state mandate for background checks on ammo purchases originated from the draconian 2013 SAFE Act. However, the act faced initial challenges. The needed technology wasn’t available then.
But last year, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced a shift in stance. She confirmed New York’s intent to implement ammunition background checks.
Local Businesses Complain About Delays
Mary Vann, owner of Vann’s Gun Shop in Plattsburgh, spent eight hours navigating the new system. She expressed significant concern in an interview with WCAX3.
“I hope the whole system dies if I am going to be brutally honest,” said Vann. “It took eight hours between a computer tech and me to play with their website to get their website working.”
She said the state’s treatment of gun owners and dealers is likely to put family-owned FFLs out of business.
“There is less and less of them all the time because it is a lot of work… This, I think, would just kill anybody’s notion of having a family-owned gunshop,” Vann said.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) Responds
Mark Oliva, NSSF’s managing director of public affairs, criticized Gov. Hochul’s initiative.
In an email to GunsAmerica, he explained how it shifts the focus from addressing criminal misuse of firearms to burdening firearm retailers.
“Governor Hochul’s order is predictable. Instead of addressing the issue of criminal misuse of firearms as a criminal issue and demanding her state attorney general and district attorneys abandon their soft-on-crime policies, she’s shifted focus and attention to creating more burdens for firearm retailers and barriers for law-abiding gun owners,” said Oliva.
“Her order punishes those who obey the law and treats them as criminals, yet actual criminals are being turned out on the streets with no accountability,” he continued. “There is no indication that criminals, who already ignore the law, will suddenly stop committing crimes because of this punitive order.”
Lawsuit In the Works
State Sen. George Borrello (R-Sunset Bay) has joined a federal lawsuit challenging this new background check mandate for ammo purchases.
“My office has been flooded with calls from law-abiding gun owners, sporting goods dealers and gun clubs who are upset about this latest assault on our Second Amendment rights,” Borrello said in a statement.
“Requiring a background check and fees for each ammunition purchase is unconstitutional and has already proven to be a technological and administrative failure,” he continued.
Clearly, this battle is far from over. As always, stay tuned for updates.