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Borrello Joins Lawsuit Challenging Constitutionality Of New State Ammunition Regulations

State Sen. George Borrello asks a question during this year's state Senate session.

ALBANY — State Sen. George Borrello, R-Sunset Bay, has joined a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of New York state’s newly implemented ammunition registration law which requires that purchasers submit to and pay for a background check for ammunition transactions.

“My office has been flooded with calls from law-abiding gun owners, sporting goods dealers and gun clubs who are upset about this latest assault on our Second Amendment rights,” Borrello said. “Requiring a background check and fees for each ammunition purchase is unconstitutional and has already proven to be a technological and administrative failure. Since the system launched on Wednesday, retailers who sell firearms and ammunition across the state have reported that attempts to use New York’s new online system either failed completely or took so long to complete, the potential purchasers had already left their stores,” said Borrello. “The end result is that the state is blatantly denying New Yorkers the ability to exercise their Second Amendment rights. That represents a violation of the U.S. Constitution, which is the basis for our lawsuit.”

Along with Senator Borrello, plaintiffs in the lawsuit include the New York State Firearms Association, Assemblyman David DiPietro, William Ortman and Aaron Dorr. The defendant is Steven A. Nigrelli, acting superintendent of the New York State Police.

The new requirements are part of Executive Law 228 and include the following:

• 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;

• Requires the NYSP to conduct background checks on all firearm and ammunition purchases in the state;

• Authorizes NYSP to charge fees for each background check on purchases and transfers. Those fees have been set at $9 for firearms and $2.50 for ammunition; and

• Requires the NYSP to create and maintain 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.

While the establishment of an ammunition database and background check requirements were part of the 2013 SAFE Act, implementation was put on hold because of legal and operational concerns.

“The governor and her allies in the Legislature are pushing the false narrative that public safety will be achieved by making it harder for law-abiding gun owners to purchase firearms and ammunition. Meanwhile, they are tripping over themselves in their rush to pass laws that keep dangerous criminals — including criminals caught with illegally-possessed firearms — on the streets instead of behind bars where they belong,” Borrello said. “Law-abiding gun owners shouldn’t be punished for New York’s crime problems by having their Second Amendment rights taken away. These latest restrictions won’t accomplish anything other than driving more residents out of the state and diverting the hard-earned tax dollars of New Yorkers to our courts as the state is forced to try to defend its indefensible actions. New Yorkers deserve better.”

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