WATKINS GLEN – The Schuyler County Legislature will consider a resolution on Monday, December 11th, calling for the state to repeal its recently enacted background-check fees for guns and ammunition.
The resolution was submitted to the County Legislature by County Clerk Theresa Philbin. It was drafted by County Attorney Steven Getman.
The draft resolution was unanimously approved by the county’s Management and Finance Committee, chaired by legislator Phil Barnes (R-Watkins Glen) at its meeting on November 27 for presentation to the full legislature in December.
The “Concealed Carry Improvement Act”, signed by Gov. Kathy Hochul in 2022, outlines new requirements for pistol permits, prohibits guns in multiple places even with a lawful permit, and requires background checks on ammunition purchases.
Under the act, New York State Police oversee all background checks for firearms and ammunition purchases in the state. The state fees for background checks under the new system are passed onto consumers at costs of $2.50 for every ammunition purchase and $9 for every firearm purchase. These new charges were effective in September.
Since September, several news organizations have reported that gun owners statewide have been improperly denied, or experienced lengthy delays to purchase ammunition for their legal firearms.
Philbin said the act “punishes legal gun owners and local businesses.”
“Those who don’t want to take the extra time and expense for a background check to buy their ammunition will go to neighboring Pennsylvania to purchase it,” she said. “That hurts local sporting goods stores and gun shops.”
According to Getman, the law is currently under challenge in various state and federal courts, as a possible infringement on lawful gun owners’ constitutional rights
Previously, Getman noted, background checks were completed quickly using the federal National Instant Criminal Background Check System, at no charge to consumers.
“It really is 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,” Getman said. “The pending court challenges allege that these additional costs and steps are a violation of the Second Amendment.”
State Sen. Mark Walczyk (R-49) has sponsored a new bill to repeal the background check fees for firearm and ammunition purchases. The resolution asks the legislature to pass it and the governor to sign it.
The resolution, if passed, directs the clerk of the legislature to send copies to Hochul and the county’s representatives in the New York State legislature, Senator Thomas F. O’Mara and Assemblyman Philip A. Palmesano, asking each to support the repeal.
As County Clerk, Philbin is responsible for processing every pistol permit issued in Schuyler County. Amendments to the permit, name and/or address changes, transfers to/from other counties, as well as suspensions are made through her office. Pistol permit records are kept in the office, the original of each record is sent to the state.
As County Attorney, Getman is the legal advisor to the County Legislature and other elected county officials. His office prosecutes and defends civil actions in the name of the county and prepares legislation, resolutions and other legal documents for the county government.