Still No Clear Timetable For Ammo Background Checks in NY

BUFFALO, NY - A spokesperson for the New York State Police disputes the term "delayed", when describing the implementation of another provision of the controversial SAFE Act, a series of tougher gun control measures fast tracked into law by the state legislature and signed by Governor Cuomo, shortly after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school.

However, several dealers of firearms and ammunition tell WGRZ-TV they were initially told that a measure requiring them to conduct a background check on customers seeking to buy ammunition would go in to effect January 15th.

"It's not a delay," said NY State Police spokesperson Darcy Wells in an e-mail.

Wells said there are two requirements that are legally set to go into effect on January 15, 2014.

"The first is the law that requires all sellers of ammunition to register with state police and the second law that requires all ammunition transfers to take place face-to-face and be facilitated by a New York State ammunition dealer. These provisions will go into effect on that date," Wells explained.

As to the background checks on purchasers of ammunition, Wells added;

"The SAFE Act law also provides that background check and record keeping requirements imposed on all retail sellers of ammunition are scheduled to take effect 30 days after the Superintendent of the New York State Police certifies that a statewide license and record database is created for such a process. That certification has not yet been made and the system is still being developed."

Wells did not say when the system might become operational.

"Just like the rest of the Safe Act, there are a lot of questions with no answers," said Jack Taylor, who sells guns and ammunition at Hunters Landing in Batavia.

"We don't really know how we're gonna do it, because I don't think they (State Police) know how their gonna do it…it may happen sometime later in the year, but nobody seems to know," Taylor told WGRZ-TV

Taylor sees many problems with the SAFE Act, viewing many of its components as nonsensical.

"And it's not going to keep anyone any safer," he said, predicting that it will actually lead to an increase in crime.

Moreover, there is another thing of which he is most certain: the cost of ammunition will rise.

"The state has put a cost to this… where a dealer can charge up to $10 dollars for a background check. But it may cost us up to $20 to do a background check, in man hours and keeping the records and all that kinda stuff…it's going to cost a store money to do a background check."

Subsequently, and regrettably, Taylor says the cost will most likely be passed on to customers.

"So in the long run, it's just going to cost the consumer, he said.

That is, or course, if his customers stay with him..

Some gun owners told WGRZ that while they have enjoyed doing business with Taylor, they are already making plans to start buying ammunition in other states like Pennsylvania.

There, they expect to be able to buy ammunition at a lower cost, and with much less hassles than in New York, a state, which Governor Cuomo— who championed the Safe Act— is often fond of saying, is "open for business".

"Well, they're about to lose mine," one hunter said.


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