GREEN ISLAND, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Another part of a state gun law goes into effect Wednesday and changes the agency that processes background checks and what you’ll now need a background check for. It’s all tied to gun reform legislation signed by Governor Kathy Hochul after the Tops supermarket mass shooting in Buffalo.
The New York State Police now processes background checks. Gun dealers will no longer submit requests directly to the FBI. Under New York Executive Law 228, on national instant criminal background checks, the state police are authorized as a “point of contact state” and will contact the FBI to initiate those background checks starting Wednesday. And the state is now requiring background checks for ammunition purchases.
The new process left many people at local gun shops frustrated, including Lee Bormann the director of training at the American Firearms Training Academy in Green Island.
“The actual roll out of the process has been pretty daunting, very confusing. A lack of a lot of information,” said Bormann.
He said they did not receive training on the new, time-consuming system and they expect to lose business over it.
Employees gave NEWS10 a demonstration of the new system and said they had no opportunity to see the platform they are expected to operate before it launched Wednesday.
“It just went live this morning so we didn’t have any chance to go into it as a beta at all,” one employee said. “It’s not simple, not easy, and probably very time-consuming for the customer. Cumbersome.”
Once the information is processed the system will approve, deny or delay ammunition purchases and those delays can take up to 30 days.
“All the state was doing was rushing it and all we got was a little booklet that we printed off of their website that has step-by-step directions but it’s not very clear,” said Bormann.
In a statement from the New York State Police it was announced that operations specialists are assisting with the registration process, available at 1-877-NYSNICS (697-6427). But the employees said that line was busy when they called, which left them with unanswered questions. Bormann says he doesn’t have confidence that the state understands the magnitude of what it’s getting into.
Ahead of the new law taking effect, Bormann said customers started making bulk purchases of bullets.
“People are buying ammunition by the cases instead of just coming in and getting a box or two. Our customers now are taking extra money out of their accounts and stockpiling it because they don’t know how this process in reality is going to work,” Bormann said.
Customer Warren Bourdeau stockpiled and said his friends were too.
“In the last two or three days I’ve bought 1,500 rounds of 22 which I shoot here,” said Bourdeau. “Totally unnecessary thing I think if you have a pistol permit and you passed all the background checks, there’s no reason why I should have to go do a background check every time I want to buy ammunition. It’s ridiculous.”
Other changes include new fees for those background checks, a $9 fee to get a background check to buy a firearm and a $2.50 fee for the background checks for each ammunition transaction.
Bormann said many customers are concerned about the state having their personal information like social security numbers, addresses and phone numbers. But the state police said the information is not a public record and will not be disclosed to any person not authorized by law.