State Senator George Borrello is urging Governor Kathy Hochul to exempt high school trap shooting teams from a new state law requiring a background check each time ammunition is transferred from a team coach to a student-athlete.
Executive Law 228, which is set to take effect September 13, requires the New York State Police to conduct New York State National Instant Criminal Background Checks (NYSNICS) for all firearm and ammunition purchases or transfers in New York State. The FBI has conducted NICS checks on firearm purchases at no cost to gun buyers since 1998.
High school trap team coaches, registered as “ammunition keepers” with the State Police for their teams, typically buy shotgun ammunition in bulk and then give it to student-athletes during practice and competition. Last week, the coach/ammunition keepers received letters from Hochul and Acting State Police Superintendent Steven Nigrelli requiring them to register with NYSNICS and establish a method of payment to cover the cost of the background checks. New York State is charging $9 for each firearm transfer and $2.50 for each transfer of ammunition.
Borrello said there are more than 2,500 students in 144 high school clay target teams that participate in the State High School Clay Target League. He called the new state law, “ridiculous and unworkable.”
All student athletes in the NYS High School Clay Target League must complete a firearm safety certification before participation. Team members, most between the ages of 13 and 17, are unable to purchase shotgun ammunition themselves. They participate on the teams with a signed permission slip from their parent/guardian.
Executive Law 228 will also affect adult trap, skeet and sporting clays leagues where host conservation and shooting clubs sell ammunition to competitors. All retail firearms dealers and ammunition sellers in New York are also required to comply with the new system.