NY Lawmaker Wants To End Background Check Fees

(Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press via AP, File)

It’s bad enough that New York requires background checks for even ammunition. It’s not like that’s going to stop bad guys from getting ammo in the first place, after all, but they also charge a fee for the background check.

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As a result, the cost of buying a gun and practicing regularly increases.

Now, most New York legislators don’t actually care about that. They don’t seem to realize that making it cost more to practice is, ultimately, bad for the public in general as accuracy is tough enough in a tense self-defense situation, but not being able to practice might well make it worse.

And this isn’t even getting into how this amounts to a poll tax.

But one lawmaker wants to address this aspect.

“My office and I spent the last two months visiting local gun shop owners and answering calls from frustrated constituents. As a representative of the North Country and Mohawk Valley, when it comes to firearms it’s not just a hobby, it’s a way of life. I’ve listened to everyone’s concerns and coordinated with my Republican colleagues to fight against these injustices,” said Blankenbush.

He said among the numerous bills drafted, Blankenbush sponsors measures to repeal background check fees for gun and ammunition purchases, remove excessive licensing requirements, permit judges or magistrates to defend themselves and others in the courtroom if danger arises and permit licensed wildlife hunters to purchase ammunition without contacting the statewide license and record database.

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Now, realistically, this isn’t likely to go anywhere. This is New York and they don’t want to do anything that might actually be good for gun owners.

Removing fees for background checks, among other things, is one of those efforts that there’s not going to be a lot of support for. Not unless they figure they could head off a court challenge by doing so.

Since that doesn’t seem to be a major thing, at least not now, it’s unlikely we’ll see anything like that happen.

Which is a shame, because Blankenbush’s proposal is pretty reasonable, all things considered. You want to require background checks for literally everything to do with guns–I’m amazed they’re not requiring them for holsters at this point–then why not remove the fees to help encourage compliance?

Trust me, there will be people who kick a few bucks over to their buddy who is going to buy a pile of ammo, all so they can minimize the costs of background check fees. It might be illegal, but since ammo isn’t serialized, it’s going to be impossible to prove.

Now, picture a couple of guns who have known each other for a few years. They’re not super tight, but they know one another from the range or whatever. One guy is going to get ammo and his buddy asks if he can pick up a few boxes for him. He’ll even help offset the background check fee, but he just can’t afford all of that.

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The buddy doesn’t realize his friend is a felon.

But if you remove the fees, people will go and get their own ammo. They’ll also be less likely to trust someone who tries to get another to pick up ammo for them.

Don’t get me wrong, I think these laws are stupid. If New York criminals are getting guns, they can get ammo, too. They’ve accomplished nothing.

Yet if they’re going to have this law on the books, the least they can do is not charge people for background checks.

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