Gun sales shoot up, according to groups

Gun sales and background requests for firearms have gone up in New York since the SAFE Act passed last year, a local gun dealer and gun groups report.

The New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act of 2013, known as the SAFE Act, went into full effect on Jan. 15. Parts of the law went into effect after it was signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in January 2013 in response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn.

The measure included many requirements. Among the requirements in the SAFE Act, it bans possession of any high-capacity magazines, requires ammunition dealers to do background checks and requires the creation of a registry of assault weapons – which allows for people to sign up until April of this year.

On a state level, both local dealers and state organizations have said they have seen an increase in sales.

Tom King, president of the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association, said he has seen the sale of guns and particularly ammo rise across the state.

“You go to a gun shop today, they aren’t going to have near as much ammo as they had previously,” King said.

According to King, certain calibers of bullets, such as .22-caliber or .22-magnum bullets, are hard to stock due to demand outpacing supply.

According to King, people are purchasing more ammunition partially because of concerns about future availability.

Also, he said, serious shooters?- such as those who target practice often?- are making bulk purchases.

Frank Havlick, who works at Frank’s Gun Shop in Broadalbin, said business has gone up.

The business has shifted to selling firearms allowed under the SAFE Act, but Frank Havlick said it has not hurt business.

“Actually [business] kind of increased. People are coming in to get different guns, people are coming in to get their handguns and pistol permits,” Frank Havlick said. “Due to the fact that the SAFE Act did certain things and [people] are afraid if they don’t do it now, they may not ever be able to do it. They want to get it done now.”

Frank Havlick said he also has seen ammunition and reloading equipment shortages.

However, he said, rifle ammunition is starting to become easier to acquire.

Store owner John Havlick agreed business has gone up since the act passed.

“What it did was they kind of put [guns] in the mainstream,” John Havlick said. “When someone says you can’t have something, people want it even more.”

Since the SAFE Act was first discussed, a jump in background checks for firearm purchases could be seen.

The number of background checks done for a possible gun purchase is available through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, which is handled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

According to the yearly numbers, New York saw an increase in background checks between 2012 and 2013, from 338,000 to 353,000.

According to the monthly numbers, in December 2012 there were 43,752 background checks. In January 2013, there were 48,320.

National numbers have also gone up, with a 1.5 million increase in applications, from 2012’s 19.5 million to 2013’s 21 million. However, this is not as high as the 2011 to 2012 increase, which was over 3 million.

According to Mike Bazinet, public affairs director with National Shooting Sports Foundation, the increase, both nationally and on the state level, could come from people’s concerns of legislation prohibiting the sale of arms and ammo, which gets them buying while they believe they have a chance.

“Nationally, any time there is discussion of a product not being available, there is going to be a want,” Bazinet said.