ELMA, NY (WIVB) – A new law took effect Wednesday and changed the way the state conducts background checks for firearms and ammunition. It’s part of the Concealed Carry Improvement Act that Gov. Kathy Hochul signed into law last year.
New York is now one State contact pointmeaning the New York State Police NICS Unit will be handling the matter National Instant Criminal Background Checks (NICS) when a customer attempts to purchase a firearm. NYSP NICS will contact the FBI to determine whether the buyer is eligible to purchase the weapon.
When it comes to ammunition, the state police department reviews a state records system to decide whether a customer can purchase ammunition. This government background check is a new system.
Previously, there was no background check on ammunition and gun stores submitted requests directly to the FBI NICS without going through the state.
“You’re putting undue stress on systems that are already working,” Jeff Benty, CEO of Just Holster It Firearms and Training Center in Elma, told News 4. “That communication [between the shop and FBI] is separated and we have to drive through the state, so the state has basically used its state authority to get in the middle and now charge customers a toll.”
Customers must pay $9 per firearm background check and $2.50 per ammunition background check. The state says the money raised will fund the new background check system.
Benty says he only received information to train his employees on the new system Tuesday afternoon, and he fears the new law could scare away customers.
“We had several checks today, firearms weren’t a problem, but we had a lot of people late at the ammunition check and when they went out the door they may or may not come back,” Benty explained. “You’re going to see more and more people be more conservative about not going out, not buying a new firearm, or if they do buy ammunition, it’s going to be sporadic.”
Justin DiPasquale had to visit two gun stores to get what he needed. He says the ammunition check is new and requires an email address, Social Security number and other personal information.
“Luckily it came back in less than a minute. There was a gentleman who was there for an hour and a half. I filled out all of his stuff before I even got there and his was still being processed,” DiPasquale explained. “It was just a lot of steps. At the end of the day I think it’s good, but it was really uncomfortable.”
A background check on ammunition will be denied by the state if the purchaser:
- Was convicted of a crime
- Is a fugitive from justice
- Is an illegal user of or addicted to a controlled substance
- Was judged to be mentally retarded or was admitted to a psychiatric institution
- Is in the United States illegally or unlawfully or was admitted to the United States on a nonimmigrant visa (with limited exceptions)
- Was discharged from the armed forces under dishonorable conditions
- Renounced U.S. citizenship after previously being a citizen of the United States
- Is subject to a qualified protective order preventing the purchaser from harassing, stalking, or threatening an intimate partner or such intimate partner’s child
- Was convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor
- Charged with felony
According to the NYSP NICS Unit, all gun and ammunition dealers must be registered with the online system and background checks can be submitted 24 hours a day. A background check is not considered a public record and should not be disclosed to anyone unauthorized by law.
In case of rejection, a potential buyer can appeal the decision within 30 days. The state then has 30 days to provide a reason for the denial. The buyer can then appeal to the Attorney General if they disagree with the decision.
Just Holster It is worried that all sales will have to stop if the online system goes down. Currently, all background checks are conducted online. New York says an automated phone system will be rolled out in October.
This law is one of them several steps The Hochul government has decided to strengthen weapons reform. Gun stores are now required to secure ammunition and firearms and have a security system with cameras inside and outside the store. The store is also required to retain security materials for two years.
Governor Hochul released the following statement on Tuesday:
Judge Sonia Sotomayor issued an order rejecting the latest attempt to stop New York’s nation-leading gun safety laws from taking effect tomorrow and block a related law that has been in effect since December 2022. The Concealed Carry Improvement Act was passed last year after I called a special session of the Legislature to address the Supreme Court’s reckless repeal of gun safety regulations that had kept New York safe for more than a century. This new order from Judge Sotomayor will ensure that the provisions of the law requiring stricter background checks for firearms and ammunition, set to take effect on September 13, continue to be vigorously implemented, as well as the law requiring regular on-site inspections of firearms dealers stipulates remains in force. Public safety is my top priority and I am committed to doing everything in my power to keep New Yorkers safe.
Gov. Kathy Hochul