August 24, 2023
By Cam Edwards
The New York State Police are set to assume responsibility for running background checks on both gun and ammunition purchases next month, a move that’s likely to lead to increased delays for purchasers. Even more concerning, however, is the back door registration scheme that will be implemented when the agency starts serving as the middleman between consumers and the FBI’s National Instant Check System. New York congresswoman Elise Stefanik and several of her Republican colleagues from the Empire State criticized the pending change in a letter to Gov. Kathy Hochul this week, calling out the unconstitutional measure and urging her to halt the new checks from moving forward.
Stefanik and three other New York GOP lawmakers called on the governor to halt Executive Law 228, saying it was an unconstitutional measure that “targets law-abiding gun owners,” according to a copy of the letter obtained by The Post.
The law orders gun dealers to redirect background checks not to federal authorities, but to the New York State Police, who will create an office to oversee a new statewide database for firearms licenses and records.
The new state office would also assume responsibility for sending background checks on gun and ammunition sales to the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).
“This state order creates a duplicative office run by the State Police to act as a middleman, transferring background checks from registered firearm dealers to the NICS on the dealer’s behalf,” Stefanik told Hochul. “The sole purpose of this office will be collecting fees and increasing bureaucratic red tape.”
“New Yorkers’ Second Amendment rights are once again under siege as buyers and sellers are being kept in the dark about how to properly implement the burdensome new state order charging fees for firearm and ammunition background checks,” Stefanik told The Post. “Buyers and dealers have been left in limbo with no access to training and little information on the change.”
“Clearly, this disastrous policy was motivated by gun grabbing anti-Second Amendment radicals in Albany rather than by commonsense and the public safety of our Upstate New York communities,” she said. “Far Left Albany Democrats have once again assaulted our Constitutional right to bear arms and I will do everything in my power to stop their attacks on the sacred Second Amendment rights of New Yorkers.”
Unfortunately there’s not much of anything Stefanik or her colleagues Claudia Tenney, Nick Langworthy and Brandon Williams can do to stop the new mandate from taking effect on September 13th, though raising attention to the damage that could come from the change is still helpful in educating the public about the devil in the details of Hochul’s mandate.
If the new background checks are implemented on schedule, New York will become just the second state in the nation (behind California) to require background checks on the sale of ammunition. Originally passed as part of the SAFE Act in 2012, the ammo background check mandate was put on ice a few years later when the state police said it was unfeasible to implement. California’s ammunition background check requirement, meanwhile, has led to tens of thousands of false denials for legal gun owners. California’s law is the subject of a federal lawsuit, and we’re waiting on a decision by U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez, who’s widely expected to rule the law an infringement on the Second Amendment rights of both residents and non-residents.
New York’s law isn’t identical to California’s, but it’s also likely to face a legal challenge once the checks start taking place. A letter from some of New York’s congressional delegation isn’t going to put a stop to New York’s latest trampling of a fundamental civil right, but a lawsuit just might do the trick, and my guess is it won’t be long in coming once the state police start running checks on every purchase of a box of ammunition.
Read the article in Bearing Arms here.