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Firearms dealers describe effects of newly signed legislation on sales
By BRIAN QUINN, firstname.lastname@example.org
Gov. Kathy Hochul signed comprehensive legislation into law Monday in an effort to close loopholes in previous laws. Before that, President Joe Biden suggested a few days ago that the nation ban assault weapons.
What impact have these things had on gun sales in local businesses lately?
Mike Barrett, owner of Barrett’s Batavia Marine sporting goods store, 411 W. Main St., said there hasn’t really been an increase in sales of AR-15 rifles and other semi-automatic weapons sales, saying things are so restrictive now because of the SAFE Act, gun-control legislation passed in New York state years ago.
“We’ve seen a few people come in. We’ve had a hard time getting certain firearms. I virtually have to take the ARs that come in and convert them to (be) New York-legal — changing a lot of features on the gun. I have to buy parts and replace the parts on the guns to make them legal.”
The new state legislation requires microstamping for certain new semiautomatic handguns. Microstamping is an innovative ammunition-marking technique that marks bullets and cartridge cases with a unique fingerprint each time a firearm is discharged. This allows investigators to link bullets and casings recovered at crime scenes to a specific gun and potentially other crimes.
Barrett said from what he read about the law, microstamping in New York state will not be possible because gun manufacturers will look to other states that don’t require microstamping.
“There’s 48 other states that they don’t have to do this, so why would they (gun manufacturers) concentrate on New York?” he asked. “... They’re going to say, ‘The hell with it, we’re going on the other 48 states.’”
Barrett said when COVID hit starting in 2020, there were a lot of plants which shut down.
“Now they’re trying to get back (up and) running. Even without this law, it’s hurting. It’s going to put a nail in the coffin of a lot of these gun shops,” he said.
Barrett said the people who write these laws are “out of their minds.”
“They constantly blame the law-abiding citizens. The eventual end is, they want to disarm the American public at all costs — inch by inch, mile by mile, they want to disarm us,” he said.
Brandon Lewis, owner of The Firing Pin, LLC, 8240 Buffalo Rd. in Bergen, said there’s been an increase in purchases of AR-15s.
“I would say since the Buffalo shootings (May 14) — we see this every time one of these major events happens,” he said.
Lewis said unfortunately, the last increase in AR-15 purchases was after the May 24 Uvalde, Texas school shootings.
“Both of those things back-to-back, people know that restricting the guns are a low-hanging fruit for the politicians,” he said. “They don’t know how to fix the real issues, so they go after the low-hanging fruit, which is guns. I’m not saying I know the real issues, but there are plenty of other countries where people do own firearms, maybe not as much as we own here.”
Lewis asked what makes someone believe shooting incidents like these are good things to do.
“It all circles back to mental health issues, poverty ... I think just some of the frustrations of life — economic, social. Mental health, obviously being the biggest one,” he said. “I think we need to do more to fund mental health and taking that stigma away of being afraid to get help.”
Purchases have gone up since the state legislation passed in Albany, he said. Since the shootings May 14 at Tops Friendly Markets in Buffalo, AR-15 purchases are probably three to four times the number of purchases The Firing Pin would normally see, he said.
“Friday and Saturday were very, very busy days. It’s (the AR-15) probably the most popular semiautomatic,” he said.
Compared to where things were three or four years ago, Lewis said, the purchase of all firearms is way up.
“They know if they’re not going to be able to get them in the future, two is one and one is none. People will collect anything especially of you can’t buy it in the future,” he said.