New York Ammo Background Checks Delayed Indefinitely

   10.30.13

When New York’s SAFE Act was passed into law earlier this year, one of its key provisions called for background checks on ammunition buyers. Lawmakers originally planned to implement this provision on January 15, but it has now been delayed indefinitely by State Police officials. According to The Buffalo News, this is because the State Police currently have no system capable of handling this part of the SAFE Act.

“The State Police is working on technology solutions to be able to carry out this section of the SAFE Act so that the public, buyers and sellers are not inconvenienced or delayed in any way when they purchase ammunition,’’ said State Police Director of Public Information Darcy Wells.

The law requires all ammunition sellers in the state to register with State Police as well as submitting customers to a background check similar to those wishing to buy a firearm. However, the ammunition background check system will be kept separately and will not be connected to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), reported the New York Daily News. Additionally, ammo retailers will have to keep records of their customers, including name, age, occupation, residence, and how much ammo they purchased. This information can be made available to law enforcement.

As the State Police currently has no system to handle the new set of background checks, the provision is being shelved until the state has established a database. In the meantime, ammunition sellers are still obliged to register by January 15 but are not required to keep records.

The New York SAFE Act was passed in January of this year shortly after the tragic shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. Supporters of the gun control law says it will reduce crime and prevent future mass shootings. Gun rights advocates refute this, saying that further restrictions will do little to reduce crime. Instead, pro-gun activists criticize the SAFE Act for infringements upon the Second Amendment and provisions that are unfeasible, like the ban on any magazines capable of holding over seven rounds. Because manufacturers do not produce such magazines, the ban has since been altered to allow 10-round magazines, although it is a felony to load more than seven rounds. Other provisions lengthened the list of banned “assault weapons” and instituted further gun storage restrictions.

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