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Firing Blanks on Ammunition Law Deal?

Friday, July 17, 2015

Firing Blanks on Ammunition Law Deal?

Gun rights advocates may recall that New York's "SAFE Act" was passed only 24 hours after it was introduced, with no debate or public scrutiny, and with Governor Cuomo signing the bill an hour after the State Assembly approved it in January 2013.

Among the law's restrictions is a requirement that within 30 days of a statewide license and record database becoming operational, no retail seller of ammunition may transfer ammunition to any non-dealer without recording the details of the transaction with the database ("amount, caliber, manufacturer’s name and serial number, if any, of such ammunition") and running a background check on the buyer. All commercial sales and transfers of ammunition have to go through a licensed dealer and such transfers "must occur in person," imposing a ban on internet sales that bypass these requirements. 

Now more than two years later, the underlying database remains a work in progress with no expected rollout date. An open letter posted on the State website by New York State Police Superintendent Joseph A. D’Amico advises, “The State database is currently under construction and not operational, and prior notice will be given to all sellers on a timely basis before the database is completed and any requirements are relevant.”

Late last Friday, news of a "memorandum of understanding" (MOU) signed by State Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan and James Malatras, Governor Cuomo's director of operations, regarding this key part of the 2013 SAFE Act, was released. 

The MOU notes that the superintendent has informed the legislature “of the lack of adequate technology to allow the Database to operate,” and acknowledges that “the [ammunition] Database cannot be established and/or function in the manner originally intended at this time.” As a result, the document purports to suspend the provisions of the law referencing “the use” of the statewide ammunition database. It further states that no certification of the database will be made “until such time as the undersigned have determined that the [listed] concerns have been satisfactorily resolved.” The MOU further advises that state funds are not to be expended for any software or other implementing equipment for the database until the cost is approved by both parties.

This is a rare instance where bureaucratic ineptitude might be having a beneficial impact on the citizenry at large.

This is a rare instance where bureaucratic ineptitude might be having a beneficial impact on the citizenry at large.  Besides halting further development of the database before it goes into effect, it was also reported that the MOU ends the SAFE Act's ban on internet sales of ammunition. These would be welcome changes for New York’s lawful gun owners.

The actual impact of this agreement, though, is now in dispute. Shortly after the MOU hit the news, counsel to Governor Cuomo, Alphonso David, offered an explanation that only muddied the waters. “The memorandum can in no way supercede the law as passed by the legislature and further, there is nothing in the memorandum that is inconsistent with the letter, spirit or intent of the law.” Far from curtailing any aspect of the legislation, Cuomo's anti-gun administration clearly remains committed to moving towards a functional database and keeping the prohibition on internet sales in place in the meantime. Under this interpretation, the MOU simply confirms the existing state of affairs: that the ammunition database is technologically not feasible for now. Another explanation is the MOU provides a face-saving way for the administration to avoid dealing with yet another example of how the rush-job on the SAFE act resulted in bad policy for New Yorkers.

Insofar as it purports to abate parts of Governor Cuomo's signature gun control law, the MOU may prove to be something of a misfire. New Yorkers hoping for relief from the SAFE Act may look to ongoing efforts to repeal the legislation, as well as a pending lawsuit to overturn the law, currently before the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

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Monday, April 24, 2017

Lawsuit Filed Against California's Assault Weapons Control Act

The National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) today announced it is supporting, along with the California Rifle and Pistol Association (CRPA), an important Second Amendment lawsuit challenging California’s newly expanded Assault Weapons Control ...

“F” Stands for Fail: School Jeopardizes Student’s Future for Possession of Squirt Gun

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Friday, April 21, 2017

“F” Stands for Fail: School Jeopardizes Student’s Future for Possession of Squirt Gun

Public education’s long-running “zero tolerance” war against anything that suggests the idea of a firearm (including, for example, clothing, gestures, toys, food, computer images, and favorable opinions of self-defense) has claimed another victim. This time ...

Illinois: Senate Passes Legislation that will Close Gun Stores

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Illinois: Senate Passes Legislation that will Close Gun Stores

Today, the Illinois Senate passed an amended version of Senate Bill 1657 by a 30-21 vote.  As amended, SB 1657 would exempt big box stores from its restrictions.

Brace Yourself: ATF Reconsiders Obama-Era Policy on Stabilizing Braces

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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Brace Yourself: ATF Reconsiders Obama-Era Policy on Stabilizing Braces

News broke this week that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has reconsidered and “clarified” its Jan. 6, 2015 Open Letter on the use of stabilizing braces as shoulder stocks.

South Carolina: Senate Subcommittee to Hear Multiple Gun Bills Tomorrow

Monday, April 24, 2017

South Carolina: Senate Subcommittee to Hear Multiple Gun Bills Tomorrow

Tomorrow, a subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing to discuss several firearm-related bills, and subcommittee members need to hear from you.

California: Open Carry Ban Passes in the Assembly

Friday, April 21, 2017

California: Open Carry Ban Passes in the Assembly

Yesterday, the state Assembly passed Assembly Bill 7 by a vote of 44 to 29.   AB 424 was not considered during yesterday’s floor session, however it remains eligible for a vote at any time.  

Rhode Island:  House Committee Will Hear Over a Dozen Gun Bills Tuesday Night

Monday, April 24, 2017

Rhode Island: House Committee Will Hear Over a Dozen Gun Bills Tuesday Night

On Tuesday, April 24, the House Judiciary Committee will hold a marathon hearing on several anti-gun bills.

The Prosecutors and the Pagans: Two Sides of the Empire State’s Gun Laws

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Friday, April 21, 2017

The Prosecutors and the Pagans: Two Sides of the Empire State’s Gun Laws

Early this month, members of the gun-control group Prosecutors Against Gun Violence met at a “Manhattan Summit” and took the time to express their dismay and alarm over federal bills proposing national concealed carry reciprocity. ...

Chicago: Mayor Emanuel Demands Tougher Laws for Gun Dealers as Straw Purchaser Gets Probation

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Friday, April 21, 2017

Chicago: Mayor Emanuel Demands Tougher Laws for Gun Dealers as Straw Purchaser Gets Probation

On Tuesday, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel met with representatives of the UCAN organization to make the case for further gun controls to combat the city’s violent crime. Chicago’s WLS reported that Emanuel used the opportunity ...

Illinois: Anti-Gun Legislators are Attempting to Sneak their Agenda into Unrelated Legislation

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Illinois: Anti-Gun Legislators are Attempting to Sneak their Agenda into Unrelated Legislation

Yesterday, Illinois Senate President John Cullerton proposed Senate Amendment 1 to his shell bill, Senate Bill 233.

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NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.