Some more comments regarding ammunition and unknown laws

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.

More reasons to get involved in the political process to repeal stupid laws.

If that fails, there are still moving companies and truck rental places s that you can gather up your possessions and flee to freedom in another state. Same for those living in California where freedom and property rights are being choked more every month.

The worst part is that most often these arcane and insane laws are used to harass basically harmless individuals, while the true violent criminals are ignored, or minor charges like these would be dropped.

If you like ammunition collecting, you better engage in the disgusting game of politics too.

In many states and localities, when one commits a bad felony - armed robbery, burglary while armed, etc. - I am talking about real crimes with victims against citizens and property of the community, not some petty little thing that hurt no one - the first thing to be plea bargained away are the weapons charges. If the only “crime” committed is the weapons charge, it is not plea-bargained. You know what follows - basically it is the decent citizen that either chose not to obey a stupid, useless law or, in the confusion of these laws as so excelletnly pointed out by the Gentleman from New York, that suffers from these inance ordinances.

Now, one can say it is not up to someone to chose what law to follow, or not to follow. That is all well and good, except Government at various levels does that all the time. California has a State Firearms preemption law. That is, the field of firearms law is preempted by the State. Yest since the State Attorney Generals and the State Legislature are anti-gun, local governments (city and county) have been allowed to pass laws, under which people have suffered, with impunity. It is only when someone takes the time and huge expense, which is not recompensated unless one can prove “malice” in making the law, to challange these laws in court that any relief is found. Take a look at Federal Laws regarding illegal immigration. Most major cities and some states declare outright they will not enforce or even cooperate with Federal Agents in the enforcement of these laws. Does someone immediately thrown the chief law enforcement agencies of those localities in a Federal Prison, where they belong? No - the Fed does not enforce the laws against them. They are allowed to pick and chose which laws they want to enforce and which they don’t. Why is some left-wing liberal mayor or Chief of Police more privileged than any other citizen to decide what law to follow?

The point is it that it is normally only good citizens that are hurt under any of these so-called anti-crime laws, or gun safety laws, many of which are only there to extort money through fees and fines from honest citizens and companies.

John Moss

Wow. It’s no wonder that nobody lives in NY or CA. ;) ;)


John S is correct about getting involved in the political process. While serving in the position that I held I dealt with the legal council to the N.Y.S. Legislature. The one day when I met with the top lawyer for the Legislature to discuss some pending legislation he did concede and make the following statement to me, "You know you are correct. There are so many laws on the books in N.Y.S. regarding firearms we do not need anymore. Lets just enforce the ones that are there.

By the way the pending legislation that we were discussing, which was defeated, would make it a Class C Felony for a person who while carrying their licensed handgun committed a crime or infraction of N.Y.S. law. Here is where we get ludicrous. In the state of N.Y., like most states, jay walking is an infraction of the law. Average Joe sportsman while carrying his legally licensed handgun commits the infraction of jay walking. He would have received the infraction ticket but could have also then been charged with the felony since he had his licensed hand gun on him at the time. This one we defeated easily.

I did see a comment regarding why not to live in N.Y. For those of you who have never been to N.Y.S. everyone thinks that N.Y.S. is all of New York City. That is no true. New York City is only 3% of the state. I live 100 miles north of the city in the Catskill Mts. I have an abundance of whitetail deer, black bear, turkey and many other animals in my back yard. As far as the majority of upstate folks are concerned you could take a large chain saw and cut the bridges into N.Y.C. and the 5 boroughs and just push all of it out into the ocean to never been seen again.

About what you mention of the 1,000rd law which nobody knows about in NY, not even law enforcement; it is as I have found to be the case with many ridiculous unenforceable laws. The politicians pass a variety of silly laws, which are then basically left unknown or ignored by law enforcement since they have no means to enforce them. I think many of these laws are meant to be applied only when a true criminal is apprehended for something else, and then these old laws can be tacked on if they are found to be in violation of. This is the case with most of the states which have anti Teflon-coated bullet laws, or anti AP-pistol caliber laws in general (about 10 states total). They are never enforced, and only rear their head when a criminal might be caught for something else and is then found to be in violation, which is incidentally almost never, lending further credence to the notion that the laws are totally unnecessary.


It was I who made the remark about living in NY. Note that it was followed by a couple of winking eyes.

I would bet that everyone on this Forum is in a similar position. All politics are dominated by the big cities. Whether it’s NYC, or San Francisco, or Denver or Phoenix makes no difference. And it can also be as big as the Red Sates vs the Blue States.

One of the benefits of getting old is that you come to realize that you really can’t do anything about it anymore and you can look toward spending your days without worrying about it. Don’t worry, be happy. :>)


Ray I do realize that. My comment was directed towards other folks who have not been to New York state before. Through out my life I have be fortunate to travel and visit all 50 states. A number of times when I have been asked by someone where I am from the conversation goes like like. " Where ya from??" My response " New York state." Their response, “Ya I’ve been to the big city.” As mentioned prior a lot folks just don’t realize that there is a whole bunch of beautiful lands through out the state. I did not take your comment in a bad light. Just wanted folks to know who have never been here before. Have a great weekend

That was a very good post and I congratulate you on it. The laws are so massively complicated that we can be criminals with out ever realising it.

Let me give you an example of stupid laws in action. About two years ago a woman teacher in Britain discharged a BB gun into the air on her own property to scare off some neighbourhood kids who were causing trouble and had a long history of trouble in the area.
She went to jail on firearms charges even though the BB gun wasn’t a firearm because the court ruled that the victims might have believed it to be a firearm. Totally wrong. The same now applies to toy guns, replicas and theoretically sticking two fingers togeater and pointing them at someone.

That woman lost her liberty, her job, her pension and possibly her home. The little scumbags on the other hand sold their story to the newspapers.

How can that be justice?

BW and others,
It is a useful topic, so we realize that there are places where things are even worse than where we live. It make us feel good. And makes others want to move to New York (ha,ha,ha). BW, I hear your pain of being taken for a New York City person. We’ll have to live with it until Wall Street moves out of NYC. Go see “2012” in which entire Kalifornia goes down into the ocean (John Moss, please, move before 2012). Here is New York around me.

Regarding the 1000 round law, we come back across the Hoover dam, & were stopped for a random inspection. Having been at the Idaho, Northwest CTG show we naturally had lots of bullets. The officer when looking in our back door saw a large clear plastic tub of rounds which he, in his next breath identified as inert. No problem. He then asked how many rounds we had & I stated I’d no idea, and he then informed me 1000 is the limit.
So long story short, apparently 2 bricks of 22 shorts is pushing it, but 999 rounds of GAU 8 with the DU penetrator is no problem. Our bean counters at work.
PS no ? about firearms was asked.
We didn’t have to take the long way home & so a happy ending!

It’s late this evening, but I had to comment…as I started collecting cartridges in NY (born and raised 100 miles north of NYC…across the river from the area BWHornbeck speaks of). I certainly was in excess of the “1000 round rule”, then as a kid, and since, and for 16 years (77-92)I lived in metro NYC (Nassau County Long Island) and many many law enforcement folks knew of my collection (especially when my home alarm would “false” and the local PD would walk through my house)…they were always intrigued by my collection…whether or not I was breaking laws (???)…I can only say “ignorance is bliss”…but it does not stand up in a court of law !!

One thing that has always “dis-armed” folks about my collecting (no pun intended)…is I have never been a “gun guy”…other than my couple childhood long guns…my lack of “weapons” seemed to make folks go “ho hum” about my “wacky hobby” (no matter where I have lived)

I am afraid we all are very ignorant of “things” and I am reminded often when I see the cartridges mailed (the fact they are “mailed”…USPS…is alarming enough)…and then the types of things sent…flares…irritant gases/powders…on and on (HAZMAT ???)

All that said…it is great to have the Forum and for folks to bring up these issues so you, me…(whomever) can make their own informed decisions about their collection and how they deal with it

Realize, the IAA makes to claim to understand, interpret and advise anyone about their collection, municipality, state…etc. etc…

Ignorance may be bliss…but don’t try it as a “defense”

Pepper Burruss
IAA President

As an ammunition collector of some years and a retired police officer (of some years also!), I have to take exception to some “law” accounts that I have read. In my home state of Ohio and many (if not most) other states their Criminal Code is written as a “Revised Code.” That is to say that when the laws were “Revised” or passed, the then existing State Criminal Laws not codified were rescinded.

Everyone has read somewhere that in “The 1812 State Law of Ohio (name your state) it is illegal for ducks to walk backward while unloading from a steam ship) or some such nonsense. Unfortunately this is not so with Federal, City and Village codes and also does not apply to Civil Law. It may indeed still be illegal to “walk ducks backwards” in the Village of Podunk, Ohio! But not the State of Ohio!

Another caution, while seeking legal advice, is that most Police Officers do NOT know the area of law that they don’t generally enforce. They are pretty good at the traffic and general criminal laws that they enforce on a daily basis. An attorney instructor at the Police Academy teaching us Criminal Law, often stated “You know when someone is doing something wrong, arrest him and figure out what to charge him with later!” I don’t believe this is good advice; it tends to make the officer fit the circumstances into a perceived violation of the law.

Also some officers and some prosecutors are good at “stretching” a set of circumstances into a violation of a law that it was not intended to cover. For instance, Ohio state law does not forbid carrying a firearm that is not concealed. But in the City of Cincinnati for many years you would be cited for the violation of “Inducing Panic” and arrested for it. And if you walk around with a pocket of ammunition with no firearm, you may still be “detained” and be cited for some minor non-related violation such as jay walking and etc.

It is not my intent here to argue the pros and cons of the legal system, but to be very cautious in believing what is actually legal or illegal. Guns and therefore ammunition can be scary to many an otherwise “good” citizen. While there are many contradictory firearms and ammunition laws on the books, be cautious, but “Damn the torpedoes and keep collecting!”