Background checks, fees required for ammunition purchases in NYS

Frank’s Gun and Tackle Shop on State Highway 30 in Mayfield is popular family business that’s been around for years. Ammo sales have been way up recently.

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“Very, very brisk. People are afraid,” said owner John Havlick. “They think they’re going to be on a watchlist. Kids, they shoot in the local trap teams, if they come in and get two, three cases of ammo because that’s how much you go through on a weekend, are they now going to be on a watchlist being a kid that’s 17, 18, 19 years old?

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Beginning Wednesday, September 13, background checks will be required to buy ammunition and antique firearms in New York State.

And there will be fees: $9 for gun background checks, and $2.50 for each ammunition check.

“It’s not going to be smooth sailing and you know what? The friction is being introduced just in time for hunting season,” said Assemblyman Robert Smullen (R,C – Mohawk Valley and the Adirondacks). “We have almost 800,000 New Yorkers that have hunting and fishing licenses. They already pay the state for the privilege of doing something that’s their constitutional right, to hunt and fish, and now we’re going to add another tax, another layer of bureaucracy, an inefficient system run by the state police who are not ready for this.”

Instead of the FBI and NICS, the National Instant Criminal Background Check System which was free, state police will be taking over, using NICS.

Some are concerned this is a backdoor move to a state gun owners registry.

Upstate Guns and Ammo in Schenectady is part of a lawsuit trying to stop it. Attorney and Policy Analyst Paloma Capanna represents owner Craig Serafini.

“Dealers do not want to be agents of a repressive state government building a registry that is clearly unconstitutional,” she said. “Second, dealers will go out of business because the business is going to be lost.”

Some are concerned that customers will just go out of state.

“I mean, people are already talking about it. They’re going to go across the borders and buy what they’ve got to buy because they don’t want to be on a watchlist,” said John Havlick. “It’ll affect me and every town because your sales tax is going to drop.”