From: Senator James L. Seward
Subject: Special Bulletin: Ammunition Background Check
As you know, the SAFE Act that was passed, last year, over my strenuous objection and includes a background check, on buyers of ammunition, in New York. Because I have had a number of calls, on this issue, I wanted to provide an update.
The law requires that the background checks, on ammo buyers, start on January 15th, 2014 OR whenever the state police superintendent certifies that the relevant database is in place and operational.
Please note the following:
1) While ammunition sellers and retailers (other than type 01 or 07 FFLs) must register, with the state, by January 15th, the database is not in place and is not operational. Ammunition background checks will not begin on January 15th;
2) The SAFE Act does not authorize any fee, for the ammo background check. I have received numerous calls, about a supposed $10 fee, for the ammo background check. The state police would need clear authority, in the law, to impose a fee and there is none. I believe that some are confused, by the fee, which dealers can charge, when they perform NICS checks, for someone involved in a private sale. If a retailer or big box store clerk is telling you that his company is going to charge you a $10 state fee, for ammo background checks, ask to see the letter, from the state police;
3) While the SAFE Act now prohibits free citizens from exercising their right to accept personal delivery of ammunition, via the Internet, a vendor can ship your Internet purchase of ammunition to a licensed ammunition seller (gun dealer or FFL), where you take possession of it, in person. This might happen, where, for instance, a dealer might not keep ammo on hand, in unusual or less common calibers;
4) The prohibition, on Internet sales and the ammunition background check, do not apply to reloading components. You may still purchase powder, shot, wads, primers and hulls, via your usual sources (but I respectfully suggest that you support your local corner gun dealer).
You can stay updated, on the SAFE Act, at this link: http://www.governor.ny.gov/nysafeact/gun-reform.
Last year, the legislature reduced the applicable portion of budget funding, for the ammunition background check database. Little funding is available, to move forward, on its development. To build a database, which will check multiple sources, simultaneously (mental health records, orders of protection, felony convictions, etc.), will take a period of time and substantial funding. It’s been almost a year and it’s not ready to go.
We had some good news, with a federal judge’s decision, striking down the SAFE Act’s limit on seven cartridges in a magazine but there’s much more to be done.
I will continue my efforts, to peel back as much of this travesty as possible.
Supplemental, from Gary:
The fact that the state law does not require a fee, for the background check, does not mean that an ammo seller cannot charge same or that, if s/he does, it has to be limited to $10.