News10NBC Investigates: NYS taking over background checks for all gun and ammo purchases and charging for them

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HILTON, N.Y. – We all know you have to undergo a federal background check if you want to buy a gun in New York but soon you’ll have to go through a background check every time you want to buy ammunition as well. Starting next month, you’ll have to pay for those background checks too. 

Michael Sengillo owns 1791 Guns and Ammo in Hilton. Before he can sell a gun to anyone, a federal background check must be done. The NICS, run by the FBI, typically handles those background checks but soon New York State will step in as a middle-man. 

“New York is taking over the NICS background check for firearms and they’re implementing it for ammo also,” Sengillo explains.  Gun dealers will no longer go straight to the FBI, they’ll go through New York State Police.  

Jennifer Lewke  – To your knowledge, is there anything different about the background check? If it’s going to be the same background check either way, why is New York State taking it over?

Michael Sengillo – Well, they’re charging.  So, money. 

Right now, there is no charge to the customer for a background check but when the troopers take over, it will cost $9 for a new gun purchase and $2.50 any time you want to buy ammunition for that gun or any other gun you might already own.

“If you shoot for sport, skeet and things like that, this is going to definitely get expensive and it depends, are you gonna buy one time and buy 1,000 rounds, 2,000 rounds, 10k rounds?  Depends on how much you’re going to buy and I don’t know if they’re going to put a limit on that,” Sengillo says. 

That’s one of a number of unanswered questions for gun shop owners.   

Michael Sengillo – We’re supposed to be trained by September 13, that’s when the target date is supposed to turn on. 

Jennifer Lewke – And when you say, train, who is doing that training?

Michael Sengillo – I supposed the NYS police. 

Jennifer Lewke – You’ve got like a month?

Michael Sengillo – Yea, a month. 

Jennifer Lewke – Have you gotten any communication on when this training might happen?

Michael Sengillo – None at all. 

A spokesperson for New York State Police tells News10NBC that upon receiving a request from a licensed dealer for a gun purchase, the Division of State Police will contact the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) to initiate a background check similar to what is occurring today.  Dealer training documents will be posted to the NYSP website and dealer registration in the New York State background check system will begin in the next couple of weeks and NYSP says September 13 is still the anticipated start date. 

NYSP is continuing to develop an appeals process for people who feel they have been unfairly denied.  The state legislation requiring NYS to perform background checks for both firearm and ammunition transfers also mandates a fee be charged for each transaction and requires that the money be used to fund the expenses incurred by the NYSP to perform the checks.  The $9 fee for gun background transactions and the $2.50 fee for ammunition background transactions will be used to do that. 

News10NBC asked NYSP if there would any limitation on the number of rounds of ammunition a person can buy per transaction, we were told there would not be.   

As soon as additional details have been released, we’ll let you know.