Legislator: Hunters Should Be Exempt From Ammo Tax
Hunters or conceal-carry license holders should be exempt from additional ammunition background checks and fees, according to one Central New York state legislator.
Assemblyman Joseph Angelino, R-Norwich, has introduced A.8085 to amend the state Penal Law to allow licensed individuals to purchase or take possession of ammunition without requiring contacting the statewide license and record database for a background check. The check is called for in the Concealed Carry Improvement Act passed by the state Legislature in 2022 and which took effect in September. The law has been challenged at least twice in federal court, including once by Sen. George Borrello, R-Sunset Bay, William Ortman of Stow and Assemblyman David DiPietro, R-Buffalo.
The Concealed Carry Improvement Act shifts New York state from a jurisdiction in which the FBI conducts firearms-related National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) background checks, to one in which the New York State Police are the point of contact for background checks on all firearm and ammunition purchases in the state while collecting fees of $9 for firearm purchases and $2.50 for ammunition purchases. The State Police is also charged with creating a statewide firearms license and records database to be used for ammunition sales as well as for the certification and recertification of permits and assault weapon registration.
“Licensed individuals with a pistol permit and semi-automatic rifle endorsement have already been through a significant background check and are required to recertify that permit,” Angelino wrote in his legislative justification. “Both pistol permit holders, and those with hunting licenses, have proven their ability to safely carry firearms and ammunition by taking New York state courses approved by the Department of Environmental Conservation. This legislation would exempt such licensed individuals from the duplicate background check and fees being imposed.”
Angelino’s legislation is unlikely to be approved in the Democrat-controlled state Legislaure. It is the second Republican attempt in the past couple of weeks to remove the fees on ammunition sales following legislation by Sen. Pam Helming, R-Canandaigua, who proposes the state pay the cost of background checks on ammunition sales.
The U.S. Supreme Court struck down New York’s longstanding concealed carry rules in New York State Rifle and Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen, which states history and tradition will be used to determine whether laws regulating firearms are constitutional under the Second Amendment. A majority of the Supreme Court ruled in Bruen said that the state’s former concealed carry requirements violated the Second Amendment right to “keep and bear arms.” Justice Brett Kavanaugh, joined by Chief Justice John Roberts, noted the limits of the decision. States can still require people to get a license to carry a gun, Kavanaugh wrote, and condition that license on “fingerprinting, a background check, a mental health records check, and training in firearms handling and in laws regarding the use of force, among other possible requirements.”
Ortman and Borrello argue the background checks on the purchase of ammunition imposed by the Concealed Carry Improvement Act infringe on their right to bear arms and that they can’t “identify an American tradition” of firearm regulation justifying the state’s law.