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OPINION: New York’s Changing Gun Laws: Here’s What You Need to Know

By Will Barclay


Gun owners, outdoor sportsmen and women, and stores selling firearms and ammunition are now subjected to some troublesome procedures and protocols after new regulations went into effect on Sept. 13. The crux of the changes pertains to the way background checks will be conducted, as well as new fees associated with buying guns and ammunition from your local dealership.

Notably, the new law calls for the New York State Police to conduct background checks for ammunition purchases. A background check is required prior to the purchase and the responsibility for initiating NICS background checks for firearm, rifle, or shotgun purchases has shifted to the State Police. Gun dealers and licensed ammunition sellers will now be required to contact the State Police online to process these background checks; however, an automated phone system is expected to be active sometime soon. There will now be a $9 fee associated with each firearm purchase and a $2.50 fee for ammunition purchases to cover the new system’s costs.

These changes are especially noteworthy with the arrival of hunting season, which will likely result in gun and ammunition purchases increasing. With the State Police taking on this new responsibility, there will be delays on the background checks and answering all the questions hunters will have as this new law is implemented. If you are planning to enjoy New York’s exceptional hunting opportunities, budget extra time and money.

There are very legitimate concerns about the burden this new system is going to place on the businesses as well as the State Police and the hunting community. Costs will go up and it is unclear what benefits this new law will generate. Albany Democrats have portrayed this new law as a way to improve public safety. However, we know most gun violence comes from those using illegally obtained weapons. This law targets law-abiding gun owners and puts yet another financial burden on already overtaxed businesses and individuals. It’s hard not to look at this as anything more than a punitive fee for access to the Second Amendment.        

William (Will) A. Barclay, 54, Republican, is the New York Assembly minority leader and represents the 120th New York Assembly District, which encompasses all of Oswego County, as well as parts of Jefferson and Cayuga counties.