After reading the post regarding shipping ammunition I wanted to mention another law that is on the books in New York State that most people are not aware of. I spent 2 years as the N.Y.S. Conservation Council Region 3 Committeeman for Firearms and Ammunition. Part of our job was to provide feedback and recommendations to the state legislature on proposed laws regarding firearms and ammunition. After the Sullivan Laws were in-acted in New York State, for those of you who do not know what the Sullivan Laws are they were in-acted in the 1920’s and are some of the strictest firearms laws in the country, a law was in-acted regarding the possession of ammunition. The law reads as follows: If a person who is a non licensed F.F.L. holder is in possession of more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition they have committed a class felony in New York State. Now lets assume that Walmart is having a sale on bricks of .22’s. You buy 2 bricks and while you are there you decide to buy a box of 20 cartridges of your favorite hunting ammo you are now in possession of 1,020 rounds and have committed a felony in New York State. How come you have never heard about this before? The law was in-acted so long ago that nobody remembers it. I have spoken with numerous police agencies and officers and have never found one that knew the law was on the books.
Now lets go a step farther regarding ammunition and handguns in New York State. Most folks think that A.T.F. regulations are the gospel regarding firearms. However in all states any state laws that are stricter will supersede federal law. Federal law states that any firearm manufactured prior to 1898 is classified an antique. I have seen many dealers at gun shows have antique revolvers for sale on their table and sell the revolver without paperwork as an antique. New York State law reads that any firearm manufactured prior to 1898 is in antique UNLESS the ammunition for that firearm is commercially available to the public. If the ammunition is available for the antique you need to have it on a valid N.Y.S. handgun license. So lets go and buy and old colt pocket revolver in .22 short manufactured in the 1860’s. The dealer sells it to you as an antique. Guess what, a felony has been committed since you can still buy new manufactured .22 short ammo from CCI.
Let me now step into the land of confusion within N.Y.S. further.
N.Y.S. has a division setup within the N.Y.S. police called COBIS. COBIS has the responsibility for enforcing the firearms laws within the state and also having a ballistic sample of every new hand gun that is sold. I mentioned about antique handguns and ammunition that is commercially available. Lets say that I take a table at a local gun show and sell an antique revolver, as defined under Federal law, that is in .41 RF. Sitting on another persons table are boxes of .41 RF ammo from Navy Arms. If I sell the revolver in the region that is covered by COBIS out of Middletown N.Y. their take is that commercial source is Walmart, K-Mart and the like and that private individuals are not a commercial source so the handgun that I just sold is an antique. If I sell the same handgun at a gun show in the area covered by COBIS out of Albany their take is that if ammo for the antique handgun available, even from a private individual. the revolver needs to be on a license. Therefore myself as well as the buyer have both committed a felony with a mandatory 1 year jail sentence under the Sullivan laws.
Sorry I did not mean to stir up a hornets nest but I wanted to let folks know that even the most knowledgeable individual of firearm laws may not be as knowledgeable as they think. I can’t tell you how many antique revolvers I have seen sold on auction websites go to a N.Y.S. resident as an antique when in fact both the buyer and seller have committed a felony under N.Y.S. law.