Delays and confusion as New York rolls out background checks on ammo sales

AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli

New York’s latest anti-gun measure is now officially in effect. The state’s mandate imposing background checks on all retail sales of ammunition began to be enforced on Wednesday, and there are already signs that the new law isn’t working as seamlessly as promised. In fact, retailers across the state are reporting long delays and a lack of information on the part of the New York State Police, which is now in charge of running the checks through the NICS system.


In the hours leading up to the change, gun store owners were still trying to figure out the process to run the checks, according to reporter Derek Heid with Buffalo television station WKBW.

“No dealer in New York has been contacted by the state about how it will work,” said Dean Adamski, Owner, DD’s Ranch in Alden.

New York State Police shared a statement to WKBW about the confusion:

“We anticipate the New York State Police will start conducting background checks on Ammunition sales starting 09/13/23. New York State Firearm Dealers, FFL’s, and Ammunition sellers, can register online at []. Operations specialists are currently assisting with the registration process and can be reached at 1-877-NYSNICS (697-6427). Ammunition background checks will cost $2.50, which will be used to fund the NYS NICS unit and background check system.”

The two gun shop owners I spoke to tell me they’ve done all the things laid out in this statement, but still feel like they have been left in the dark.

“I’ve received a couple emails from the FBI saying you have to sign up with the New York State Police. We made an account there, but there’s really no information,” Adamski said.

12 hours before its required, Adamski shared that he doesn’t even know what will be asked on the background check.

As a result, stores like his will be unable to sell ammunition without any new information on how to complete the required background checks.

Meanwhile, retailers who’ve managed to navigate the maze of red tape required to sell ammunition going forward are reporting problems of their own.


“They’re putting excess burden 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 severed off and we have to pass through the state, so basically the state has used their government authority to inject themselves in the middle and now charge customers a toll fee.”

… Benty says he did not receive information to train his staff on the new system until Tuesday afternoon and he is afraid the new law may drive customers away.

“We had several checks today, firearms went no problem, but we had many people delayed on the ammunition check, which once they walk out the door, they may come back or they may not,” Benty explained. “You’re going to see more people being more conservative about not going out, not buying a new firearm, or if they do buy ammunition, it is going to be intermittent.”

Justin DiPasquale had to visit two gun stores to get what he needed. He says the ammunition check was new and required an email address, social security number and other personal details.

“Luckily for me, it came back in like under a minute. There was a gentleman that was there for an hour and a half. Filled out all of his stuff before I even got up there and his was still processing,” DiPasquale explained. “It was just a lot of steps. At the end of the day, I guess it’s good, but it was really inconvenient.”

I wonder if he’d still think the new system was all right if he’d been the one waiting at least 90 minutes to be approved. As the owner of DD’s Ranch found out, even FFLs are finding themselves stuck in limbo when putting themselves through a background check.


Adamski ran a background check through the new system today on himself, who holds two federal firearms licenses and four state licenses.

“I was delayed to purchase ammo. So is it gonna cause delays? I’m gonna assume it is.”

Adamski says they have received no information from the state and have only received emails via the FBI, who claims they will now be required to use the state’s system. Adamski has concerns with the questions they are asking in the new background check. He describes it as being “very, very invasive.”

“People are not going to be happy with the type of questions that they’re asking for, they’re asking for aliases and occupation, your address. You cannot do a background check unless you give them your email address and phone number. I mean, they’re compiling all this information for what? I don’t understand. I mean, it can’t be good.”

More expensive, more invasive, and more time-consuming… just the way Gov. Kathy Hochul wants it. The new background check requirements aren’t likely to thwart any criminals from obtaining guns or ammunition on the black market. In fact, I’d say the biggest impact we’re going to see will be the loss in sales in gun shops near the borders of New York’s neighbors, with gun owners choosing to drive into Vermont or Pennsylvania rather than bend the knee to Hochul’s latest edict. And as Jeff Benty says, some would-be gun owners may be dissuaded from exercising their right to keep and bear arms entirely, not only as a result of the ammunition background checks but the continued infringement on their right to bear arms through the nearly endless list of “gun-free zones” established by Hochul and New York lawmakers in the wake of the Bruen decision. This new mandate is anything but reasonable or common sense. Instead, it’s yet another attempt to chill the exercise of a fundamental civil right… and so far it appears to be having its intended effect.



Join the conversation as a VIP Member