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  • 12/21/2023 8:54 AM | Anonymous

    New York County Calls for End to Background Checks on Ammo Sales

    By Cam Edwards | 7:31 PM on December 13, 2023

    The frustration over New York’s latest background check scheme hasn’t subsided in the months since the State Police started conducting checks on both firearm transfers and ammunition purchases. If anything, the animosity towards the new regime, which has been plagued by lengthy delays and false denials, is only growing stronger.

    This week the county legislature in Schuyler County voted unanimously in favor of a resolution calling on the state legislature to repeal the ammunition background check law and restore the old background check system for gun transfers, which allowed dealers to contact the NICS system directly instead of having to go through the State Police as an intermediary.

    The resolution will most likely be shrugged off by the Democratic majority in Albany, but Schuyler County Attorney Steven Getman and members of the county legislature still wanted to send a message to lawmakers that the new system is unnecessary, unwanted, and is hurting local businesses.

    “It’s redundant because most of the people have already gone through background checks for firearms, and the federal system has been in place to do this for years. The pending court challenges allege that these additional costs are a violation of the Second Amendment,” said Getman.

    Both background checks come with a state surcharge. A background check for a handgun or rifle is $9 and for ammo, it’s $2.50 per transaction. The background check can take anywhere from minutes, to hours, or even days. Some people have said their purchases have wrongfully been denied.

    [Schuyler County Clerk Theresa] Philbin said because of the fees and long waits, gun owners are heading to Pennsylvania for their ammo and guns.

    “It’s simply geographically easier to just hop over the border to Pennsylvania and make the purchase. Once you’re down there, why not purchase your ammo or any other guns you might need for hunting, or stands, anything to that effect, which is going to make a huge impact on our local businesses,” said Philbin.

    One nearby gun store owner who used to see a lot of customers from Schuyler County told local officials that he stopped selling guns and ammunition the day the new checks went into effect because he knew it would be an imposition and infringement on the rights of his customers. Michael Keegan is now focusing on the gunsmithing side of his Mountaintop Firearms and Gunsmithing business, but says his income has declined by 50 percent since the ammo background checks began.

    I suppose supporters of the background check system can argue that Keegan brought that on himself by choosing to discontinue his gun and ammunition sales, but other retailers who’ve chosen to continue offering firearms and ammo for sale have said their bottom line has been impacted by customers who are choosing to drive across the border and buy their ammo in Pennsylvania rather than submit to the ammo background checks in the Empire State and possibly face delays of hours or even days before they can take home a box of ammo or two.

    Most members of the Democratic majority in the state legislature wouldn’t shed a tear to see these local shops shut down for good based on declining sales figures. They might even see that as a bonus to the background check legislation, which is facing a legal challenge in federal court. The Supreme Court declined to intervene on an emergency basis and halt the ammunition background check scheme, but that doesn’t mean the Court will ultimately rule in favor of the system after the case goes to trial and the appeals process. That could take years, however, and by the time SCOTUS does get the chance to weigh in again, who knows how many stores will have had to shut their doors for good.

  • 12/18/2023 9:57 AM | Anonymous

    Federal Court Reinstates Right-to-Carry In Houses of Worship  from Update: New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms

    A recent preliminary decision from a federal appeals court represents a step in the right direction regarding the right to bear concealed firearms in houses of worship in the state of New York.

    On December 8, 2023, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued its decision in Antonyuk v. Chiumento. In this decision, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals addressed four consolidated cases in which various organizations and individuals challenged the New York gun control law known as the Concealed Carry Improvement Act (CCIA).

    The CCIA was passed in 2022 immediately after another New York gun control law was overturned by the Supreme Court of the United States in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen, 597 U.S. 1 (2022). Because the CCIA banned volunteer church security team members from carrying concealed firearms, New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms filed a lawsuit contending that it violated the Second Amendment. Other lawsuits were filed, and this limitation on volunteer church security personnel was found unconstitutional. Later, the CCIA was amended to allow unpaid security personnel at houses of worship to carry firearms; however, congregants remained barred from doing so.

    In Antonyuk, the court preliminarily found some parts of the CCIA unconstitutional, but allowed other parts of the law to stand. Specifically, the court blocked the provisions of the CCIA that ban the carrying of firearms on private premises which are open to the public, that require concealed carry permit applicants to submit their social media accounts for government review, and—most importantly, at least for Christian gun owners—that prohibit carrying concealed firearms within houses of worship. The court upheld portions of the CCIA that ban concealed carry in “sensitive places” like parks and theaters. The court found it problematic that the CCIA treats concealed carry in houses of worship differently than it treats concealed carry in nonreligious venues.

    The Antonyuk decision means that for now, New York concealed carry permitholders may now carry firearms within houses of worship, whether or not they are security team members.

    The court noted that its decision was made “at a very early stage of this litigation,” and stated that “a preliminary injunction is not a full merits decision, but rather addresses only the ‘likelihood of success on the merits.’” The court added that its decision “does not determine the ultimate constitutionality of the challenged CCIA provisions, which await further briefing, discovery, and historical analysis, both in these cases as they proceed and perhaps in other cases.”

  • 12/13/2023 8:24 AM | Anonymous

    Schuyler County Legislature advocates for repeal of gun, ammo background check fees

    December 12, 2023 11:00 AM / Updated December 13, 2023 6:39 AMStaff Report Staff Report

    In a unanimous decision, the Schuyler County Legislature passed a resolution on December 11, advocating for the New York State government to repeal the background check fees on firearms and ammunition.

    Initiated by Schuyler County Clerk Theresa Philbin and drafted by County Attorney Steven Getman, the resolution is a symbolic gesture supporting a State Senate Bill currently navigating through Albany.

    This legislative push comes in response to the “Concealed Carry Improvement Act” signed by Governor Kathy Hochul in 2022, which introduced new restrictions and requirements for pistol permit holders.

    The Act, a reaction to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling, now mandates background checks for ammo purchases and routes gun background checks through the New York State Police.

    These checks, previously free under the Federal National Instant Criminal Background Check System, now carry state surcharges — $9 for a handgun or rifle and $2.50 per ammo transaction.

    Local impact of the new law has been significant, with Schuyler County businesses feeling the economic strain.

    As the Bill, sponsored by State Senator Mark Walczyk (R-49), proceeds through the legislative process in Albany, it faces several stages of approval before potentially becoming law. Governor Hochul will now review the resolution passed by the Schuyler County Legislature, which highlights the local government’s position on this contentious issue.

  • 12/05/2023 5:14 PM | Anonymous

    ATF to Reclassify YOU as a ‘Gun Dealer’ Act NOW: Comment Period Ends Dec. 7th

    Under Creative Commons License: Attribution

    Follow us: @Ammoland on Twitter | Ammoland on Facebook

    Dec. 7 deadline looms: Biden’s ATF is planning to reclassify YOU as a ‘gun dealer’ to EXPAND ILLEGAL GUN REGISTRY.

    Your action is needed RIGHT NOW. The comment period on the BATFE’s proposal to change the definition of what it means to be “engaging in the business of buying and selling firearms” expires on December 7, 2023, so you have less than a week to send your comment. You can submit a comment with just a few mouse clicks by simply going to the Gun Owners of America website and clicking on their prepared form, or you can go to the Federal Register website and compose a comment of your own.

    There is no excuse for not doing one or the other of these actions.

    The anti-rights radicals have latched onto this one and “generated” tens of thousands of repetative comments gaming the system in support of the BATFE’s new definition proposal. There are currently almost 300,000 comments logged, and a majority of those appear to be boilerplate paste-ups from the antis’ web pages. We need to catch up and surpass them. That will require not only that you submit a comment but also that you share this information widely and encourage others to submit comments.

    Please note that while the GOA comment system is the easiest way to submit a comment, federal agencies are supposed to give less weight to repetitive comments like those and the ones generated by anti-gun groups. Original comments from individuals are supposed to be given more weight by the reviewers, so it’s better to write your own original comment at the Federal Register website if you’re able. But don’t let that be an impediment. Any comment is better than no comment, so if you don’t have the time or confidence to write up an original comment, just use the GOA system to submit one of theirs. This will probably put you on GOA’s email list, which you should be on anyway, but you can easily opt out of that list if you prefer.

    “I oppose this revision of the definition of “engaging in the business.”

    Original comments don’t need to be detailed or elaborate. Simply stating that you oppose the new definition is the minimum comment needed. Pointing out specific reasons for your opposition can give your comment more impact, but it’s not essential.

  • 12/04/2023 9:08 AM | Anonymous

    NYC bodega owners, grocers arming themselves with guns amid violent thefts plaguing Big Apple

    They’re stocked, locked, and loaded.

    Hundreds of Big Apple supermarket and bodega owners are arming themselves as the epidemic of violent theft continues to plague their businesses.

    Over the past year, the United Bodegas of America and the Bodega and Small Business Group said they’ve helped at least 230 store owners apply for their gun licenses, connecting them with concealed-carry classes required by the state to obtain a permit.

    The National Supermarket Association, which represents roughly 600 independent grocers, estimated a quarter of its members in the city are packing heat, compared to 10% pre-pandemic.

    “You see the necessity because the city is getting out of hand with the crime rate,” said one supermarket owner, who purchased a 9mm SIG Sauer handgun two months ago, after thieves cut a hole in the roof of his Ridgewood, Queens, store to steal $3,000 and smash up the registers and camera system.

    “I feel safer having a . . . weapon with me,” the 50-year-old said, especially when going to the bank.

    The gun-toting grocer said he hasn’t had to use his firearm, but practices once a week for the worst-case scenario where he needs to defend himself and his staff.

    “I don’t know who is coming in, what I’ll confront, on my way in, on my way out,” he said.

    Radhames Rodriguez, who owns several bodegas in the Bronx, said he purchased a 9mm Smith & Wesson pistol after obtaining his concealed-carry license two months ago.

    “If I see somebody coming to me and I’m going to lose my life because somebody’s got a gun aimed at me, a knife, I need to protect myself and my family,” said Rodriguez, 60, who is also the UBA president.

    Rodriguez said he previously had a “premises” gun permit to protect his business during the crime-ridden ’80s, but as the city cleaned up under the Giuliani and Bloomberg administrations, he let the license lapse.

    With the recent wave of violence, “it started looking like in the ‘80s, the ‘90s,” he said. “That’s why I applied [for my new gun license], and this is why I have it.”

    Many grocers have felt an increasing need to arm themselves partly because of slower police responses to their emergency calls, according to retired NYPD Sgt. Johnny Nunez, who leads 18-hour courses covering gun safety and live firearm training that are required by New York State for obtaining a concealed-carry permit.

    “They recognize that there’s less cops on the street, they’re attending all these rallies, and [they] have to defend [themselves],” said Nunez, whose classes have been attended by many bodega and supermarket owners.

    “Those factors, and the fact that crime is up [compared to pre-pandemic levels], that’s what’s driving them to at least feel protected,” he added.

    The surge in gun-toting grocers follows the Supreme Court’s landmark decision last year to strike down New York State’s century-old law, which severely restricted who could carry handguns in public by requiring applicants to show “proper cause” for needing the weapon beyond general protection.

    It also follows a jump in shoplifting in recent years, with complaints soaring to 54,229 through Nov. 30, versus 37,919 incidents for all of 2019, per NYPD data.

    “The criminals have the upper hand — they’re the ones going out there robbing us, murdering us . . . getting away with it,” UBA spokesman Fernando Mateo told The Post.

    In March, a beloved Upper East Side bodega clerk was fatally shot during a late-night robbery, while two robbers shot a Spanish Harlem deli clerk in the groin and pistol-whipped a customer in June.

    In May, four men held a Woodside bodega employee at gunpoint before stealing at least $6,000.

    “If we can fight with the same firepower, they’re going to think about it twice,” Mateo said.

  • 12/01/2023 7:40 AM | Anonymous

    Rem Arms Ilion Operation to Close March 2024

    ILION, N.Y. -- In a memo to employees, RemArms, LLC stated that the operation in Ilion will close entirely.

    "I am writing to inform you that RemArms, LLC has decided to close its entire operation at 14 Hoefler Avenue, NY 13357," the memo obtained by NEWSChannel 2 stated.

    "The Company expects that operations at the Ilion Facility will conclude on or about March 4, 2024," the memo stated.

    Around 250-300 employees work at the facility.

    New York State Senator Joseph Griffo (R-C-Rome), Assemblyman Brian Miller (R-C-New Hartford) and Assemblyman Robert Smullen (R-C-Meco) released a statement regarding the closure of the Ilion plant.

    “Remington’s reported decision to close its Ilion plant next year is concerning and unfortunate. This facility, which received investment from the state, employs many local residents. Unfortunately, like we have seen all too often in New York, burdensome regulations, crippling taxes and problematic energy and other policies continue to force businesses and companies to flee the state, taking jobs and livelihoods with them. We will continue to communicate with state and federal officials and work to help and assist the company’s employees and their families during this difficult time.”

  • 11/14/2023 10:21 AM | Anonymous

    Supreme Court Accepts NRA First Amendment Case – A “Historic Step Forward” for the NRA and Free Speech

    The National Rifle Association of America (NRA) commented on the United States Supreme Court accepting National Rifle Association of America v. Maria T. Vullo for review. The decision is a landmark development in one of the most closely watched First Amendment cases in the nation. 

    “This is a historic step forward for free speech, the NRA’s millions of members, and for all who believe in freedom,” says NRA CEO & EVP Wayne LaPierre. “The NRA’s fight for justice continues – this time in the highest court in the land. At a time when free speech is under attack as never before, it is important that government officials be sent a message that they cannot use intimidation tactics to silence those with whom they disagree.”   

    In a May 2018 lawsuit, the NRA alleged that Vullo, at the behest of former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, took aim at the NRA and conspired to use the regulatory power of the New York Department of Financial Services (DFS) to “financially blacklist” the NRA – coercing banks and insurers to cut ties with the Association to suppress its pro-Second Amendment speech. The NRA argues that Vullo’s actions were meant to silence the NRA – using “guidance letters,” backroom threats, and other measures to cause financial institutions to “drop” the Association. 

    The NRA's First Amendment claims withstood multiple motions to dismiss. But in 2022, after Vullo appealed the trial court’s ruling, the Second Circuit struck down the NRA’s claims. The court ruled that in an era of “enhanced corporate social responsibility,” it was reasonable for New York's financial regulator to warn banks and insurance companies against servicing pro-gun groups based on the supposed “social backlash” against those groups’ advocacy. The court also ruled that Vullo’s guidance – written on her official letterhead and invoking her regulatory powers – was not a directive to the institutions she regulated, but rather a mere expression of her political preferences. 

    On February 7, 2023, the NRA petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court, seeking review of the Second Circuit decision. 

    The Court granted review on the following question:  Does the First Amendment allow a government regulator to threaten regulated entities with adverse regulatory actions if they do business with a controversial speaker, as a consequence of (a) the government’s own hostility to the speaker’s viewpoint or (b) a perceived “general backlash” against the speaker’s advocacy?

    “The Second Circuit’s opinion…gives state officials free rein to financially blacklist their political opponents – from gun rights groups, to abortion-rights groups, to environmentalist groups, and beyond,” the NRA states in its petition. The Association argues that the Second Circuit erroneously opened the door to unrestrained harassment of advocacy groups by state officials, and seeks to have it closed.

    “We are grateful the Supreme Court will review this First Amendment case and excited by the opportunity to argue to the Court that a government regulator cannot take adverse action against its political enemies,” says William A. Brewer III, counsel to the NRA. “The ruling from the Second Circuit condones public officials having unbridled power to attack those with whom they disagree.”

    Seven amicus briefs representing 40 individuals and organizations were filed in support of the NRA. 

    The amicus briefs include those from state attorney generals from Montana and 17 other states, in addition to a brief filed jointly by Texas and Indiana. Various business and legal scholars, the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE) and the Gun Owners of America, among others, also submitted briefs. 

    The NRA observes this is not the first time state officials have leveraged their regulatory power to suppress a disfavored civil rights organization or choke off disfavored speech. The NRA's petition to the Court emphasizes a long line of First Amendment cases – from seminal decisions involving the NAACP, to the Supreme Court's storied Bantam Books decision – that forbid such tactics. 

    The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has voiced its support for the NRA. 

    In August 2018, ACLU Legal Director David Cole wrote that, “…they [New York public officials] cannot use their regulatory authority to penalize advocacy groups by threatening companies that do business with those groups. And here the state has admitted, in its own words, that it focused on the NRA and other groups not because of any illegal conduct, but because they engage in ‘gun promotion’ – in other words, because they advocate a lawful activity.” The ACLU wrote that dismissing the NRA’s case “would set a dangerous precedent for advocacy groups across the political spectrum. Public officials would have a readymade playbook for abusing their regulatory power to harm disfavored advocacy groups without triggering judicial scrutiny.”

    Eugene Volokh joins Brewer in representing the NRA, along with Brewer Partner Sarah B. Rogers and firm counsel Noah Peters.

  • 09/29/2023 1:05 PM | Anonymous

    Supreme Court to review NYS gun laws

    by: Amal Tlaige

    Posted: Sep 28, 2023 / 09:29 AM EDT

    Updated: Sep 28, 2023 / 09:51 AM EDT


    ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN) — A new law is changing how background checks are conducted for those looking to purchase guns and ammunition. The latest lawsuit challenges this law and other New York gun laws. From the Supreme Court, Justice Clarence Thomas granted an emergency conference to look into a provision of New York’s Concealed Carry Improvement Act, also known as CCIA. This came after a group of gun store owners sued Governor Hochul over the state’s new background check system.

    At a press conference on Tuesday, Governor Kathy said this case is intended to dismantle a series of laws created after the Supreme Court struck down the state’s century-old conceal carry law. “They are dead set on placating their NRA donors and supporters and we are the ones left to clean it up. We are working really hard to ensure that New Yorkers are safe,” said Hochul.

    Background checks for guns and ammunition used to be conducted under a federal system, but As of September 13, it’s become the responsibility of state police. Background checks to purchase a firearm cost $9 and for ammunition, $2.50. “The gun dealers have to contact the state police and the state police then contact NICS in order to get a background check. Anytime you put more steps in a complex procedure it always gets messed up,” said Tom King, President of New York State Rifle and Pistol Association.

    King has had a pistol permit for 40 years. He said he was denied when he requested ammunition, but doesn’t know why, “The only people that are being affected are the lawful gun owners and if you ask the FBI, ask the state police, we are not the problem. the percentage of lawful gun owners that are involved in violent crimes is minuscule.”

    Assembly member Robert Smullen said the conference could be a pivotal moment for New York Gun laws. “I predict that the governors gonna be severely rebuked by the United States Supreme Court. They could strike down whether it’s this background or these ammunition checks or they could strike down the entire law, or they can require that the Second Circuit Court of Appeals bring their case directly to them,” explained Smullen. The case will be brought to the full court for conference on October 6.

  • 09/05/2023 8:28 AM | Anonymous

    NRA, hunters and US Forest Service beat environmental groups in legal battle over lead ammo

    The environmentalists said that when animals are shot and their remains are left behind or when they are field-dressed, the toxic ammunition fragments can be ingested by other animals.

    A federal court ruled in favor of the National Rifle Association, hunters and the U.S. Forest Service over environmental groups who were pushing to ban lead ammunition in a national forest.

    The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday unanimously rejected an attempt from the Sierra Club, the Grand Canyon Wildlands Council and the Arizona-based Center for Biological Diversity to order the Forest Service to ban lead ammunition in the Kaibab National Forest, which is a popular hunting destination near the Grand Canyon.

    The Center for Biological Diversity first filed the lawsuit in 2012 alleging that the Forest Service violated federal conservation law by failing to regulate lead ammo in the Kaibab. The following year, the NRA, and two hunting groups – the Safari Club and the National Sports Shooting Foundation – joined as defendants in the lawsuit.

    The environmentalists said that when animals are shot and their remains are left behind or when they are field-dressed, the toxic ammunition fragments can be ingested by other animals.

    Because the center admits that the Forest Service is "not the source of any lead ammunition found in the Kaibab, the question is whether a person who has some power to prevent someone else from contributing to the handling, storage, treatment, transportation, or disposal of hazardous waste is liable," the court wrote in its opinion Friday before stating "that the answer is no."

    "This NRA victory is a significant setback for gun control and anti-hunting advocates who see ammo bans as a pivotal leap in their agenda," the rifle association wrote on X after the court's decision.

  • 08/24/2023 8:43 AM | Anonymous

    NY gun owners will face background check fees for ammo purchases next month

    August 24, 2023 6:19 AM Staff Report 

    Starting September 13, New York State will require gun owners to undergo a background check every time they purchase ammunition, a move that has left many perturbed.

    Not only will buyers have to navigate the new checks, but they’ll also shoulder the cost: $9 for the firearm background check and an additional $2.50 for ammunition.

    The collected fees will be channeled to the state police to facilitate the checks.

    Advocates have expressed concerns over the lack of clarity provided to dealers and the potential time lag for checks, given the added workload for the state police.

A 2nd Amendment Defense Organization, defending the rights of New York State gun owners to keep and bear arms!

PO Box 165
East Aurora, NY 14052

SCOPE is a 501(c)4 non-profit organization.

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