New gun law targeting ammo stirs controversy in New York’s North Country

Published: Sep. 18, 2023 at 6:05 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. (WCAX) - A new gun safety law is stirring controversy in the North Country. Lawmakers have failed to keep guns out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them, so now, they’re targeting ammunition.

Some worry it will only affect small businesses.

“I hope the whole system dies if I am going to be brutally honest,” said Mary Vann, who owns Vann’s Gun Shop & Reloads in Plattsburgh.

Vann is not pleased with the state’s implementation of a new law aimed at curbing gun violence.

In New York, background checks are now required to buy ammunition, and background check requests will go through the state police instead of the FBI, possibly adding a delay in purchases. Fees are also being implemented to pay for the background checks-- $9 on firearm purchases and $2.50 for ammo.

Vann says the rollout of the rules this week resulted in massive wait times.

“It took eight hours between a computer tech and me to play with their website to get their website working,” she said.

Elected and local officials say the new process will likely take time and patience to get into working order.

Vann believes it will hurt not just her business but other family-owned gun shops, too.

“There is less and less of them all the time because it is a lot of work... This, I think, would just kill anybody’s notion of having a family-owned gunshop,” Vann said.

The legislation is part of a slew of firearms-related bills signed into law by Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul, who has made gun control a major priority of her first elected term. Her agenda took a hit after the Supreme Court struck down a century-old concealed carry law last year which prompted more legislation, including a law that banned firearms in public parks, something not taken lightly in the North Country.

New York Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie says the safeguards are needed to help reduce gun violence statewide.

“I represent, you know, the inner city and our problem is illegal guns. And I constantly say illegal guns start out legal somewhere, so the ability to track that... I think all of our attempts... people want to hunt, great... you protect your family, that is all great. But we just want it to be as safe as possible,” said Heastie, D-N.Y. Assembly Speaker.

Democratic Assemblyman Billy Jones says we’ll have to wait and see if the new ammunition law will make a difference in gun violence.

“Bad people are getting ammunition through other various means as well, so I do not know how effective this is going to be,” said Jones, D-Chateaugay Lake. “Certainly we do not know until later on but I just do not know the effectiveness of this law and how it is going to help with the violence issues.”

Related Story:

Background checks now required for ammo, antique guns in NY