BUFFALO, N.Y. — With New York State's new gun laws taking effect last week, there's still plenty of confusion about some of the changes now on the books for gun dealers and their customers. And that includes the updated requirements for the sale of ammunition.
As Dean Adamski checks his shelves of ammunition for sale at his DD's Ranch firearms store in Alden, he is well aware of some customer frustration since the state of New York is now requiring him under the new law to record information about any ammo purchases. That includes not just the customer's name, address, date of birth, and type and quantity of ammunition, but also their occupation.
"People question, like, why do you need my driver's license for ammo?" Adamski said. "I'm 70 years old, and why are you taking all this information? So, I mean, people are apprehensive about it. I mean, most people understand it. You know it's not me, it's the state. But you know there are some people that are just they don't know why, it's so absurd to them."
And there are some quirks now, such as getting ammunition for shotguns and rifles that do not require owner permits unless they are semi-automatic weapons.
"Any ammunition including anything, shotgun, yeah the same process," Adamski said. "You got to take all the information down. How much ammo they bought, what they bought, caliber, gauge. Whatever it is, all the information has to be taken, no matter if its shotgun, rifle, anything."
Adamski estimates that ammunition purchases represent about 20 to 30 percent of his business. And while some types have been hard to get with apparent manufacturer supply chain issues, he is also worried that come next September of 2023 the state, once it actually pays for a workable database system, will start requiring a background check for people purchasing ammunition.
He is also concerned it may have some kinks for gun dealers just like when the National Instant Criminal Background Check System for gun purchases went into effect in 1998.
"Hunting season comes up, you know people are going to have to deal with the current rules if they want their ammo. We have to take their information. What scares me more is hunting season next year, there's a background check system," Adamski said.
He added: "How is the system going to work? Is it going to be if they can't determine right there, do they put them on hold? Do they deny? Is it going to cancel out a sale? Are people going to get aggravated? Or are people just going to go to Pennsylvania? Because it's certainly not illegal to go to another state. We're close enough to buy their ammunition. It's definitely not going to help. I agree on background checks with the guns, OK, but ammunition, that's getting pretty invasive."
Here is one additional point on ammunition. Adamski says starting in December under state business law, gun dealers will have to keep their ammunition for sale in locked display cabinets.
One thing we did clarify with the Erie and Niagara county clerks: if someone has a current pistol permit they can now still purchase a semi-automatic rifle, which can be listed on an attached now-available amendment form to that existing pistol permit.
If someone does not have a pistol permit and wants to buy a semi-automatic rifle with the also new 21-year-old age requirement, then they have to go through the permitting process.
Adamski says he and other gun dealers are somewhat frustrated, as county clerks were last week, in that they felt the state was late putting out information on all the changes and they had to track it down on the state's website or interpret the new requirements best they could with questions that came up.
The state Division of Criminal Justice referred us to the listed website for gun law changes.
Also they suggest another website for hunting-related questions through the DEC.
And finally for gun dealers they do point out there is a direct line with the New York State Police at 855-LAW-GUNS.