August 30, 2023 – New York will soon become the fourteenth state to serve as the point-of-contact (“POC”) for background checks on purchasers.  Beginning on September 13, 2023, federal firearms licensees in New York will contact the New York State Police to conduct background checks, instead of contacting the FBI using the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”). NY Exec. Law § 228 required the New York State Police to establish a “centralized bureau” for background checks and mandated that it serve as the POC for all background checks conducted for firearm sales.  Unlike NICS, for which there is no charge, New York will charge a $9.00 fee for conducting a background check related to a firearm purchase. 

In addition, New York will also require a background check in connection with the sale of ammunition. New York initially created a background check requirement for ammunition sales in 2013 when the SAFE Act was enacted. The effective date of that provision, however, did not begin until the State Police certified that it had established a record database sufficient to perform reliable background checks, which did not previously exist.  The New York State Police website indicates that background checks for ammunition sales will take effect on September 13, 2023, the same date that the State Police is set to become the POC for background checks with respect to firearms.  A $2.50 fee will be charged for background checks for ammunition.

It is unclear whether the New York State Police is fully prepared to facilitate background checks for firearm and ammunition sales and whether it will be able to accommodate a high volume of sales. It is anticipated that implementing this procedural change will create delays and will certainly increase the cost for firearm and ammunition sales in New York.

Renzulli Law Firm, LLP will continue to monitor new and developing firearms legislation and regulation around the country.  If you have any questions concerning firearms related legislation or regulation, please contact John F. Renzulli or Christopher Renzulli.