New York’s rollout of background checks to buy firearm ammunition is creating issues for sellers and buyers alike.
The state’s Concealed Carry Improvement Act took effect in early September and includes a background check prior to the purchase of ammunition as well as a $9 fee for a background check to buy a firearm and a $2.50 fee for a background check for ammunition. The mandate effectively circumvent the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tabacco and Firearms and the national background check the ATF is supposed to undertake, and instead places the background checks to be conducted in the hands of the New York State Police instead.
“I’ve lost about $300 worth of sales this week alone,” said Bruce Piatz, the owner of M&M Sport’s Den. “The new system takes a lot longer to process than the federal one, it crashes often, and when you call the number they gave us to call for assistance it just keeps ringing … no one picks it up, it’s a mess.”
Piatz wasn’t done with this lambasting just yet.
“I know several customers who walked out and said, ‘I’ll just go across the border.’ So instead of us and the state getting a fee, Pennsylvania reaps the benefits,” Piatz said.
Piatz wasn’t alone in his assessment. Firearms training instructors are also being effected by the legislation, including one who said he as placed on a terrorrism watch list.
“I buy ammunition in bulk for the pistol safety courses I teach,” said Michael D. Hanselman, the owner and proprietor of The Small Arms Pistol Academy, a military veteran and National Rifle Association basic pistol instructor. “The most you can buy is 999 rounds. After that … what, because I buy so much ammunition, I get flagged? Put on a watch list? It’s just easier to go across the border and buy what I need than deal with this mess.”
Hanselman said the check should be unnecessary for those who have already gone through background checks to purchase their weapon.
“Your pistol permit is essentially your background check, in my opinion, because in New York state, getting a permit you’ve already had a more intense check than anything else — so paying for an ammo check too is pointless. Criminals aren’t following laws, so this will not stop anything. The Robertson Pickman Act already places a tax on firearms, so we’re getting double taxed.”
Additionally, the Pittman-Robertson Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act of 1937 has since undergone several legislative changes and recently ended with an even more refined and robust round of legislation. The Wildlife and Sports Fish Restoration Programs Improvement Act, proposed by Representative Don Young, (R-Alaska), in 2000, this legislation defined what tax revenues collected under the Pittman-Robertson act could be used for it. It earmarked funds to only be spent for — hunter education programs, construction of shooting ranges and sport fish restoration projects. This act passed Congress 423-2 and became law on November 1, 2000.
The U.S. Supreme Court will hold a conference Friday focusing on one of many challenges to the Concealed Carry Improvement Act — a decision that comes a few weeks after Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor declined to hear a challenge to the law.
The conference will not focus on a federal court challenge filed by William Ortman of Stow and state Sen. George Borrello, R-Sunset Bay, but a similar case. Ortman and Borrello argue the background checks on the purchase of ammunition imposed by the Concealed Carry Improvement Act infringe on their right to bear arms and that they can’t “identify an American tradition” of firearm regulation justifying the state’s law. The phrase “identifying an American tradition” is taken from the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in New York State Rifle and Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen, which states history and tradition will be used to determine whether laws regulating firearms are constitutional under the Second Amendment.
The Bruen decision struck down a New York law requiring people to demonstrate a particular need for carrying a gun in order to get a license to carry a gun in a concealed way in public — and paved the way for the state to pass the Concealed Carry Improvement Act. A majority of the Supreme Court ruled in Bruen said that the state’s former concealed carry requirements violated the Second Amendment right to “keep and bear arms.” Justice Brett Kavanaugh, joined by Chief Justice John Roberts, noted the limits of the decision. States can still require people to get a license to carry a gun, Kavanaugh wrote, and condition that license on “fingerprinting, a background check, a mental health records check, and training in firearms handling and in laws regarding the use of force, among other possible requirements.”