New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) and his administration agreed last week to suspend a plan to require background checks for ammunition sales in the state, which were part of the infamous SAFE Act adopted in 2013.
Cuomo said in March that a database designed to make the checks on ammo purchases possible was still being developed, but didn’t offer details about the delay. On Friday, one of Cuomo’s aides, James Malatras, signed a memorandum of understanding that suspends the portion of the SAFE Act related to background checks, citing “the lack of adequate technology.” The memo also said that the database “cannot be established and/or function in the manner originally intended,” according to a story posted by The New York Times.
The agreement, also signed by Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan (R), suspends the development of an ammunition sales database as well, and halts a probation on the Internet sales of ammo.
The act was a big check mark in the win column during Cuomo’s first term, as he persuaded lawmakers to pass it shortly after the mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut in late 2012. The SAFE Act was fast-tracked by Cuomo in January 2013 when he waived the mandatory three-day aging period for the bill and signed it immediately after approval from the state Assembly. The act initially outlawed a number of firearms it categorized as “assault weapons,” banned all magazines capable of holding more than seven rounds, and called for the registration of ammo purchases, among other provisions.
“This agreement is a victory for every law-abiding gun owner and our hardworking, overburdened state taxpayers. The ammunition database and background check requires unproven technology that doesn’t exist, and establishing it would have cost the state up to $100 million, which would be a colossal waste of tax dollars,” said Sen. Catharine Young (R) in a story.
Democrat and state Assembly speaker Carl E. Heastie said the move was “an ill-advised end run around the Legislature and the SAFE Act. I did not participate in this ‘agreement,'” he said. “The law may not be ‘suspended’ by a memorandum such as this. I believe the law should be followed and implemented as intended.”
“This is a clear victory for Second Amendment rights in New York,” said Republican state Sen. James Seward in this story on outdoorhub.com. “While I will continue to work for full repeal of the poorly crafted, over-reaching NY-SAFE Act, this is a significant accomplishment—and constitutes the only modifications that have been made to this law since it was enacted two years ago, over my objection.”