rifle ammunition ammo
Josh Wayner for TTAG
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By Lee Williams 

If you want to buy a box of shotgun shells or even .22 LR anywhere in New York state, be prepared for a bevy of personal questions, a background check that includes a $2.50 fee, and a long wait. 

A new state law went into effect last week, which requires ammunition retailers – who must all be licensed by the state – to conduct background checks through the State Police of all ammunition purchasers. The law also requires retailers to create and maintain a database of the purchasers’ personal information as well as a list of exactly what they bought, to include the number of rounds. 

Mike Mayhood, owner of Mayhood’s Sporting Goods in Norwich, New York, said the new system is fraught with problems – procedural and constitutional – and will likely put many ammunition retailers out of business. 

“We lose money on every box of ammo we sell because of the time involved,” Mayhood said last week. “I’ve never seen things so difficult. It’s not going to get easier. We’re going to have to raise our prices. We know it’s all intentional.” 

It can take Mayhood and his employees up to 15 minutes just to enter the information required by State Police into their computer, and then there are delays. His longest was 22 hours. Some customers become irate, Mayhood said. 

“Two guys cancelled their order because of the delays and wanted their information taken off the state registry,” Mayhood said. “I called the State Police, but they said there was no way to remove their info. The customers left mad, but it’s not our fault.” 

Some of the ammunition offered by Mayhood’s Sporting Goods (Photo courtesy Mayhood’s Sporting Goods)

The information required of the purchaser includes: 

  • Name
  • Street Address
  • City 
  • State 
  • Zip code
  • County/Parish/Borough
  • Reside in city limits? 
  • Contact info (confirmed email and primary phone)
  • Country of citizenship 
  • Government ID 
  • Is the purchaser an alien who has been admitted to the United States under a nonimmigrant visa? 
  • Social Security Number or UPIN
  • Driver’s license number 
  • Place of birth (Country, state and city)
  • Occupation 

The information required of the ammunition they purchase includes: 

  • Manufacturer
  • Caliber 
  • Grain
  • Amount of ammunition being purchased (number of rounds)
  • Ammunition manufacturer’s number (lot number, serial number of other distinguishing number). 

That state law also requires State Police to conduct “periodic” onsite inspections of ammunition and firearm retailers. 

Mayhood and his customers are under no illusions about the government’s true intent in requiring so much information.  “New York is creating a gun registry,” he said. “And the rumor going around is that the state is going to institute limits on the amount of ammunition you can buy.” 

Norwich is prime hunting land, Mayhood said. Deer and turkey abound. He’d like to quit selling ammunition but knows he can’t. 

“I’m the only place within hours where you can buy guns and ammo, but I don’t want to sell ammo under these new rules,” he said. “It doesn’t feel right. It feels like a violation of everything.” 



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This story is part of the Second Amendment Foundation’s Investigative Journalism Project and is published here with their permission.


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  1. I always wondered (feared) that the powers that be would just start not okaying the background checks. Federal, state, whomever. Sounds like something they could possibly get away with?

      • For now yes, there are a lot of pending cases in several district and circuit courts that could greatly limit their ability to act but commie gonna commie and ironically improve red state gun laws they may have forgotten they had/remove the ability of transplants to enact.

      • It’s called Discrimination and it is against citizens whose “crime” in the minds of sickos is owning firearms. For centuries Discrimination from all angles has always been embedded in Gun Control…Gun Control zealots know full well most people today are Gun Control History illiterates which is what makes Gun Control such an easy sell.

      • Pubius, that is why it is time for someone to take the bull by the horns and SUE each and every member of the State Legislature that voted for this unconstitutional “act”. They are for sure INFRINGING on our constitutional rights.

        • Yeah, but they are immune from suits under federal statutes by operation of the 11th Amendment. Further, state law typically extends total immunity for legislative actions. Pretty much puts the kibosh on suing any of them.

        • Mark N, are you really an attorney? The 11th Amendment does not apply. Nice try, Amendment 11
          The Judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by Citizens of another State, or by Citizens or Subjects of any Foreign State. People within the State can instituted a suit.
          Dark, qualified immunity only applies when a person acts inadvertently. These Leftist member of the State Legislatures are doing this INTENTIIONALLY to try (in vain) to circumvent the Constitution, specifically the 2nd Amendment.

    • Well see if it gives us standing as it clearly impacts protected legal commerce for little definable (even before Bruen) benefit. Not going to voice my primary fear but the potential for delay is worrying.

    • Plus the background check system can go down, or they could use some other excuse, holiday, emergency, or how about a pandemic to justify why they suddenly aren’t able to process any checks, boom, now you are blocked. I hope everyone was able to stock up before this went in, but money is tight and buying a lifetime supply of ammo at once is pretty expensive.

      Of course a criminal only needs one mag or a knife to cause death and destruction, but the law abiding need hundreds or thousands of rounds for hobby, hunting, target shooting, training, defense, etc. As usual, who exactly does this hurt the most?

      • “Plus the background check system can go down, or they could use some other excuse, holiday, emergency, or how about a pandemic to justify why they suddenly aren’t able to process any checks, boom, now you are blocked.”

        That’s exactly what happened here in SoCal during COVID. The County of Ventura simply mandated that no gun stores could be open for business. They were successfully sued, of course, but it took a long time for that challenge to make its way through the courts, and in the meantime local residents were SOL.

        Also, to answer another comment elsewhere on this page, out-of-state residents aren’t even permitted to purchase ammo here. So a Californian can go to Arizona and buy off the shelf like a normal American without a BGC, but an Arizonan cannot buy in California at all. A purchaser must be registered with CADOJ to buy.

        • that is not accurate. Out of staters CAN buy ammo, but they are subject to the full bore background check, the $37 fee, and the ten day wait. Hunters CAN bring ammo in, but as I recall, they are limited to 50 rounds. There are exceptions for competition shooters with which I am unfamiliar. Still, it is a pain in the ass. The large stores have preprogrammed their computers with all of the information about the ammunition sold except the amount (e.g., caliber, bullet weight, use, ballistic info, etc.) and the required purchaser info. But my kitchen counter FFL I use for all internet purchases will not process ammo because it is to costly and time consuming. I weep for the good old days when it showed up at the door.

          To make matters worse, a bill has been passed and sent to the Emperor allowing the State DOJ to raise the cost of the instant background check (currently $1) unilaterally.

        • Has this changed since the law was enacted? My LGS told me they could not process ammo purchases for anyone not presenting a CA ID or DL.

        • (Accidentally hit Send before completing my comment.)

          I was also informed that the ammo BGC bounces off of CADOJ data, so anyone not in their database would automatically be rejected due to the inability to approve. Has this changed in the past four years?

          TBH, I loaded up an ammo big time during the Trump years, and haven’t bought any in CA since AB 63 went live in 2019. I have plenty, and anytime I’m out of state I purchase there and consume it. I haven’t personally gone through our BGC system.

          I hope Rhodes is wrapped up soon, and all this nonsense just goes away.

        • And you can’t import more than 50rds and I believe you have to have a gun registered in the calibre you want to purchase.
          *And* they have agents monitoring the Cabela’s parking lot in Verdi for CA plates for contact upon return. Probably the Reno Sportsman’s Warehouse as well.

        • “*And* they have agents monitoring the Cabela’s parking lot in Verdi for CA plates for contact upon return.”

          Make friends with a local and ride to the store with them in their vehicle to buy ammo.

          Complete bullshit to have to do, but if it throws a wrench in the works, so be it… 🙂

      • Hundreds in varying amounts if you reload for various revolver, oddball pistol (32 acp, 357sig etc) and most non NATO standard rifle rounds. For 9mm and 5.56 and some loadings of 7.62 yeah it will be a while.

        • I started with .45 colt, and yes, with the current version of the ammo drought, it is far cheaper to reload when most ammo is over $1 a round, plus there is a very wide variety of bullets. I moved on to .45 ACP and more recently .308. The most expensive component for .308 is the casings, but they can be reloaded several times, significantly spreading out the cost.

      • A lot of reloaders, me included, don’t do it to save money. But do it to develop custom loads that outperform factory ammunition in a particular firearm. From reading this article I did not realize New York also screwed with people buying reloading components.

        • News to me if they do. Haven’t had any checks for primers powder or bullets unless I wanted to buy in Massachusetts or Connecticut. Haven’t bought fully assembled ammo in NY for a year but that was more focusing the budget than necessary in avoiding data collection.

      • Downunder supplies of powder and primers have all but disappeared.

        Let’s sell our local world class propellant manufacturer to a French company (Thales). What could go wrong?

        • That is a big concern longer term as I doubt more companies will be started to ramp up powder production. Primers I have heard may get some additional manufacturing (or already have) but haven’t seen anything new. Up end starting to get some level of selection in components again.

        • No lead smelting plants.
          Just in time for EV toaster ovens.
          Toaster ovens?
          Yes Toaster Ovens it’s where Ghost PopTart gunms are made.
          Don’t stick pea’s in your nose.
          So now New York is tracking Emu.
          Liberty Liberty Lib er ty

    • True, but the people suffering are not the ones who voted for those democrats. Leftists in NY get away with this stuff because they know most voters in the state won’t be directly impacted.

      NY gun owners are not a constituent anyone cares about in NY, neither the state GOP (a feckless, embarrassing joke of an organization) nor the state DNC (an organized crime organization masquerading as a political party).

  2. The process is the punishment.

    It’s all about making owning a gun so difficult you won’t want one.

    Your political overlords hate you, they despise you, they don’t trust you, and they want to make sure they’ll always have more power than you.

    • “This is what lawfare looks like.”

      That’s why you hire a smarter or more creative and vicious lawyer.

      My lawyer advised me if I was willing to wait a year or three, I could likely expect a bigger payout from the insurance company who’s client crushed my leg.

      And oh, boy, was he right… 🙂

      • “My lawyer advised me if I was willing to wait a year or three, I could likely expect a bigger payout from the insurance company who’s client crushed my leg.”

        How did I miss this?

        Apologies for not remembering. Did you fully recover?

        • “Did you fully recover?”

          95 percent back, thanks for asking.

          I’m always getting reminders of what happened, it’s annoying, but livable.

          The cash came in very handy when cataract surgery became necessary, and the optional removal of the plates and screws…

  3. Its all by design. Warning to other states… Don’t let Democrats get super majority control in your state. If you do this WILL happen.

  4. A random, unsourced thought just flew by the window; decided to grab it on the fly: “Happiness is a belt-fed weapon”.

    Or, was it, “Happiness is a crew-served weapon”?

  5. Wow… even occupation and phone and email. Don’t even need that on the form to purchase the gun.
    I see people there buying ammo on vacation and taking it home…at least when driving.

    • We did try the whole social media review thing which is still up in the air re pistol permit for concealed carry (don’t think it applied to the permit for ownership) so increasingly intrusive 4th amendment issues are to be expected. Also many of the bigger stores have been taking this info down on paper for the last year.

      • I think I’ll keep my ammo “horde” This is precisely what ILLANNOY would do(I can easily buy ammo in nearby Indiana with no ID🙄). This crap looks like it would motivate a shot heard ’round the world!

    • “I see people there buying ammo on vacation and taking it home…at least when driving.”

      Here in CA, a lot of people do just that when vacationing in neighboring NV or AZ…

    • Sux for the stores though, buying out of state. Alot of these gun shops are mom and pops or 2nd and 3rd generation (if its anything like the south). I hate that the tactic will probably work, forcing gun businesses closed. What a shame

      • NYSP has been known to observe gun shows in neighboring states I would imagine similar behavior to identify “bad actors” for future investigations would be seen. But we will see how quickly this idea “fails” and we need to enforce our ammo embargo from rouge ammo dealing states / the current court challenge goes through the system and gets a decision that will require some creative fig leaf for the next round.

        • much preferable to those blau ammo dealing states.
          now that i think of it, maybe you didn’t mean rogue.

        • Rogue ammo dealing states? Boy, that phrase sure implies that something unconstitutional is afoot, eh? Hopefully, this gets thrown out sooner rather than later. Duplicity is not in my nature, so I have a difficult time understanding how people like Hochul can sleep at night.

        • Lol damnit autocorrect. Although I guess we are going to have issues with red(ish) states so kinda works.

        • “NYSP has been known to observe gun shows in neighboring states…”

          That’s what Uber and Lyft are for. Drive 2 miles from the show, park, and Uber over and back… 🙂

        • “That’s what Uber and Lyft are for. Drive 2 miles from the show, park, and Uber over and back… 🙂”

          Buy a large quantity and pay in cash! Oh yeah, and don’t speed on the way back!

    • Cool cool so real quick how does one acquire firearms without being made into a felon in your mind? I am curious how it meets with the realities of NY amongst other states.

  6. @SAFEupstateFML
    “Even if not it will still achieve FBI penetration depth”

    Will detonation vaporize the bad guy(s)? I really don’t want to have to get the carpet cleaned and sanitized, after.

    • Detonation is a mess that varies by distance but ……yeah a mess. If impact and no detonation it is a different kind of mess where you may have an autonomous mobile grenade of unknown arming status………up end that might not get too much on the carpet.

      • “If impact and no detonation it is a different kind of mess where you may have an autonomous mobile grenade of unknown arming status”

        Guess I better stick with the Ma Deuce I wish I owned.

        • You can have the Ma Deuce, convincing Mrs. Sam that tent life is the good life is up to your salesmanship… 🙂

  7. Got lots of ammo in MS if any NY’ers want to make the trip. Your money is good here, and there’s none of that NY nonsense. 🙂

  8. Easy to forsee ammunition tourism enhancing the sales in border states, just like I expect happened when California did essentially the same thing.

  9. Ammunition background checks outright fail the most minimal rational basis test. Ammunition is worthless without a firearm to shoot it through. Firearms are extensively regulated. There is no rational basis for ammunition background checks. They exist solely to inconvenience and discourage training.

    • “we need punishment for those that violate our Constitution”

      Why? What’s the point of gaining and holding power, if you don’t get to use and abuse it? Talk about a waste of time and money.

        • “Sam if you are asking that question, I have to question what you feel the value of the Constitution is?”

          It’s kinda like a person running for elective office is ample proof that such a person should be denied election to public office.

  10. @Geoff “I’m getting too old for this shit” PR
    “You can have the Ma Deuce, convincing Mrs. Sam that tent life is the good life is up to your salesmanship…”

    When Mrs Sam (the colonel) volunteered for service in Iraq during Desert storm, she was informed that her insistence on being qualified on all small arms was viewed as a limiting factor, and she was denied her request.

    • A family friend had a marriage like that, he was an AF Captain, she was a bird Colonel… 🙂

      • “A family friend had a marriage like that, he was an AF Captain, she was a bird Colonel…”

        I was a Major, she a bird Colonel. We were blessed to spend our last seven working years in the same fed agency, same office.

  11. One of the real ironies is that New York does not have the death penalty. They can’t bring themselves to adequately punish the real criminals but choose to restrict the rights of law abiding citizens and drive small stores out of business instead!

    • Just the old playbook of releasing untouchable hardened criminals into society to create the chaos they need more power to save us from.

  12. I prefilled this out, any “retailer” taking this information is violating the Supreme Law of the US, absolutely anything required of the purchaser should be filled out as follows:
    Name: Go Fuck Yourself, this is unconstitutional
    Street Address: Go Fuck Yourself, this is unconstitutional
    City: Go Fuck Yourself, this is unconstitutional
    State: Go Fuck Yourself, this is unconstitutional
    Zip code: Go Fuck Yourself, this is unconstitutional
    County/Parish/Borough: Go Fuck Yourself, this is unconstitutional
    Reside in city limits? Go Fuck Yourself, this is unconstitutional
    Contact info (confirmed email and primary phone): Go Fuck Yourself, this is unconstitutional
    Country of citizenship: Go Fuck Yourself, this is unconstitutional
    Government ID: Go Fuck Yourself, this is unconstitutional
    Is the purchaser an alien who has been admitted to the United States under a nonimmigrant visa? Go Fuck Yourself, this is unconstitutional
    Social Security Number or UPIN: as per the Social Security Laws, unless this information was required or requested by government for identification prior to 1960’s it cannot be captured…and oh yeah Go Fuck Yourself, this is unconstitutional
    Driver’s license number: Go Fuck Yourself, this is unconstitutional
    Place of birth (Country, state and city): Go Fuck Yourself, this is unconstitutional
    Occupation: Go Fuck Yourself, this is unconstitutional

    If the retailer chooses to capture this information – its not my concern:
    Manufacturer, Caliber, Grain, Amount of ammunition purchased, Ammunition manufacturer’s number (lot number, serial number of other distinguishing number).

    • More than a few stores did exactly that for the last year where id checks were not required and no system was in place (if they took down information at all). Now if they wish to remain open at all (and we are not likely to see many new FFL’s approved here with some of the extra layers NY imposed on top of the Federal drama) it is comply with the law or die as a business. We can wish for all kinds of things to be different but for the stores the courts are the only way forward. The only benefit from this is the possibility that the increased demand for reloading supplies might justify increasing production.

  13. NYS FFL here – I’m still unable to register on the NYS NICS replacement website to even be able to conduct background checks for ammo or firearm sales.

    Their customer service has been lackluster at best.

  14. I live too far from NY State to be of much assistance, however; Purchase your ammunition via mail order delivered to a trusted friend out of state. Visit your friend.

  15. @Walter E Beverly III
    “Sam, that is the MOST CONVOLUTED response I have ever read from you.”

    But, in such a short space.

    The first statement was sarc, about abusing power. The second was simply that people who want power, should be denied power; those who want to rule over others cannot be trusted.

    • Sam, this may shock you, but there are some (I grant not the majority, in my humble opinion) who are in it to help people. Unless you personally know the person running you are making an ASS-U-Mtion as to their motivation.
      To tell you the truth, most politicians talk out of two sides of their mouth. I have only know (personally, I might add) who did not.


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