Paper admits New York's new ammo background check law has "issues"

Paper admits New York's new ammo background check law has "issues"
AP Photo/Keith Srakocic

It’s not the state’s largest paper, but I honestly can’t imagine what it would take for the New York Times to ever acknowledge anything problematic about the state’s ironically named “Concealed Carry Improvement Act”.


Instead, it’s the Post-Journal, which bills itself as the leading newspaper in southwest New York, that’s acknowledged the reality that both gun owners and ammunition sellers are struggling to deal with after the New York State Police took over administering background checks a few weeks ago, at the same time the state’s new mandate requiring checks on all ammunition sales went into effect.

The results have been felt across the state, with many would-be buyers reporting lengthy delays or false denials.

“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 terorrism 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 Roberston Pickman Act already places a tax on firearms, so we’re getting double taxed.”


I knew about the issues with the delays and denials, but I wasn’t aware of the restriction on the amount of rounds that can be purchased at any one time until running across Hanselman’s story. And if Hanselman’s right and he was placed on a watch list for trying to buy ammo in bulk, how many other firearm instructors, competitive shooters, and avid plinkers are in the same boat?

The new ammo background checks are the subject of an emergency request for an injunction that the Supreme Court will consider in this Thursday’s conference. So far the Court has allowed the aftermath of the Bruen decision to play out without interceding, but it’s hard to argue that the new law isn’t causing irreparable harm; not only to businesses who are losing customers to border states, but to the gun owners themselves who may find themselves under intense government scrutiny simply for exercising their Second Amendment rights. Despite the Court’s reluctance to be the intervenor of first resort, there’s a compelling case that intervention is necessary to protect the people from an abusive and unconstitutional policy enacted by New York Democrats.


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