New York Background Check Delays Ensnare Local Police Chief

AP Photo/Lisa Marie Pane

The ammunition background checks enacted by the New York State Police a little more than a month ago are still plagued by delays and false denials, leaving customers and retailers frustrated and fed up.


One of the many New Yorkers who’s found himself twiddling his thumbs while waiting for his background check to come back clear is Chautauqua County Sheriff James Quattrone. As the Niagara Gazette details, what should have been a quick stop at a local gun shop to pick up a couple of boxes of shells turned into a day-long exercise in frustration.

“On Sept. 22, I attempted to purchase two boxes of shotgun shells at a local sports store,” Quattrone told The Post-Journal. “These shells were to be used at a trap/skeet shoot that I was sponsoring to raise funds for a new nonprofit organization.”


“Prior to being permitted to purchase the ammunition, the store spent the 15 minutes or so entering my data in their computer to complete the background check,” Quattrone recounted. “The status came back ‘Delayed.’ We waited another 15 minutes with no update, so I had to leave the store without completing the purchase.”

Approval for Quattrone’s purchase didn’t come for another 25 hours — one hour after the fundraiser ended.

“Previous to the new practice of background checks for ammunition, I would have been able to purchase ammunition from the club where the shoot was held,” the sheriff said. “Due to the new regulation, clubs are not selling the ammunition.”

He added, “There have been attempts to get clarity for the clubs regarding to selling ammunition for use during the events and practices but we have received conflicting information. The clubs are widely choosing to error on the side of caution and not sell until a definite decision is made.”


The sheriff is one of many elected officials outside of New York City who’ve called on the state legislature to repeal the new background check mandate for all ammunition sales. In Quattrone’s view, the law is having a much bigger impact on lawful activities with firearms than any prevention of violent crime.

“I do not believe that this regulation is making our community any safer but is actually hindering law-abiding sportsman and gun owners from being able to purchase ammunition,” he said. “Responsible gun ownership includes not only being safe with the gun, storage in a safe place, but also being proficient with the gun.”

He said delays or outright denials for ammunition purchases may hinder the “opportunity to safely practice using your guns.” He’s also concerned about the status of local youth programs and clubs to provide ammunition for the programs.

“These youth programs do a wonderful job of teaching them safety and responsibility as well as an opportunity for a great healthy activity for many young people in our community,” Quattrone said.

“While I am a strong supporter of Second Amendment rights, I also believe the responsibility is to be safe, responsible and proficient with any firearm you intend to carry or use. Law-abiding citizens and those who have previously been approved to purchase guns and been approved a Conceal Carry Permit have been delayed purchase of ammunition.

“This background check for ammunition seems to be a way to limit our Second Amendment rights — being done in a backdoor manner.”


The entire Bruen response bill, named the Concealed Carry Improvement Act (though Concealed Carry Infringement Act is a much more accurate title), is a way to limit the Second Amendment rights of New Yorkers and visitors to the state, not just the ammunition background check component. From the abundance of new “gun-free zones” to onerous and expansive training mandates for concealed carry applicants (and the trainers themselves), the law is meant to keep as many New Yorkers as possible from exercising their Second Amendment rights.

For some gun owners, relief from the bureaucratic nonsense that comes with buying bullets these days can be circumvented by driving to a neighboring state like Pennsylvania, but that option isn’t available for many upstate gun owners or those living near the borders of Connecticut or Massachusetts, which both require state-issued licenses of their own before allowing retailers to sell a box of ammunition. The sheriff is concerned that some gun owners may simply give up trying to exercise their right, and we may soon be able to see at least some anecdotal evidence if that’s the case.

“With hunting season upon us I am also hoping that our hunters have been able to purchase ammunition — ammunition that is needed to ensure their guns are shooting accurately which is important for safe and humane hunting practices,” Quattrone said. “I wonder what our community would do if people decided not to hunt and we started seeing animals starving due to over-population and how the impact would be on car versus deer collision.”


Keep your eyes on the number of deer harvested this year as well as the estimated number of hunters in the field. With Bidenomics taking a toll on the wallets of many New Yorkers, I’d expect the number of deer taken to be the same or higher than last year’s harvest, when an estimated 231,961 deer were taken. If those numbers dip appreciably, it could be a sign that Quattrone’s concerns are grounded in reality… unlike the wishful thinking of anti-gunners that presumes violent criminals are going to be stopped by requiring background checks on ammo sales.

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