Background checks now required for New Yorkers buying ammunition

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Regular Deer season opens up Saturday morning in New York’s southern zone, which includes Central New York. However, a new law could impact their supply of ammunition.

Hunters are heading to gun shops, gearing up for deer season.

“It’s definitely picking up, a lot of people wait until the last minute,” said David Steinberg, owner of the Sporting Department at Ra-Lin’s in Syracuse.

But a new law requiring New Yorkers to go through a background check to buy ammunition for their gun could have you waiting even longer. It’s all part of the Concealed Carry Improvement Act passed last year by Governor Kathy Hochul. The new law has only been in effect for about two months now, but Steinberg says it’s been a time-consuming process for not only him but also his customers.

“A lot of times it’s five to ten minutes. Other times you put it in the computer and you get an answer. Sometimes it could be a two to three delay,” said Steinberg.

The sheriff’s office in Oswego County also feeling the impact.

“In some cases, it could have been a day long. In the beginning, the sheriff’s department was locked out when they were trying to transfer between the two systems,” said Terry Wilbur, Oswego County Clerk.

That delay has since been resolved. The background check process significantly picking up in Oswego County. But Steinberg says some people are having to wait longer than expected.

“Hunting season times we’re busy or like black Friday next week when the system is busy, it could be just a delay because the computer system can’t handle it all,” said Steinberg.

Since the law went into effect in September, Steinberg says this has been the busiest week for ammunition sales, with about three background checks being done a day.

“When we put it in the computer, they pretty much need the same information if someone is buying a firearm so that’s the paperwork we use and just write on it, ammunition. Make, model, and serial number of the ammunition they’re buying. Put it in the computer, all of their information, and its time consuming,” said Steinberg.

If you’re looking to buy ammunition, Steinberg has some advice for buyers.

“Be patient and shop early,” said Steinberg.

For the first time this year, rifle hunting for deer and bear will be legally permitted in Onondaga County beginning Saturday, Nov. 17 until Sunday, Dec. 10.

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