December 16, 2014: Provisions governing ammunition sales within the NY SAFE Act have caused unrest amongst firearm retailers and consumers who want to insure that they are selling/purchasing ammunition legally. 

An open letter in early 2014 from NY State Police Superintendent Joseph D’Amico noted, in pertinent part, that “the [SAFE Act] requires that as of January 15, 2014, all ammunition transfers take place in person, including internet sales, which must be facilitated by a New York State ammunition seller,” and “the law will also require retail sellers to do background checks and record sales once a New York State database is established and operational.”

Chief inquiries raised by retailers and consumers of ammunition in New York have been: has this database been established? And how and when will we know when the database is operational?

In short, the database has not been established and New York State authorities have not provided any indication as to whether or not the operational date of a database is imminent. Rather, authorities have only hinted (for over one year now) that the database is “under construction.” Authorities have assured industry members that notice will be given to all sellers “on a timely basis before the database is completed.”

As such, ammunition purchase laws in New York for approximately the last year – and an unknown time moving forward – appear inherently inconsistent and ineffective. While the law mandates that consumers purchase ammunition in person, the state has failed to supply the purported extra security provided by background checks for ammunition purchases.

This unfortunate reality – faced by many New York firearm owners – may continue for a significant period of time, as authorities have not yet provided a hard (or estimated) date for when the database will be operational.