BUFFALO (CBSNewYork/AP) — Upstate gun shops, shooting ranges and county clerks’ offices have seen an upsurge in business, ever since state lawmakers rushed through Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s sweeping set of gun laws.
Dennis Deasy, owner of Niagara Gun Range in North Tonawanda, told The Buffalo News that pistol permit classes are booked through May. He says his store can hardly keep up with demand for guns that hold 10-round magazines ahead of the April 15 ban on them.
The FBI reports there were 76,001 firearm purchase background checks for New York State residents in January and February of 2013. That compares to about 51,000 for the same months last year.
Some upstate county clerks say they’re overwhelmed with pistol permit applications and paperwork resulting from a new provision allowing permit holders to keep their permit status private.
The Erie County Clerk’s office received 852 applications from residents seeking their first pistol permit in January and February, nearly double the number during those months last year.
Nationally, gun sales have soared since the Sandy Hook elementary school shootings Dec. 14. Last year marked the highest number of background checks the FBI has run since starting the program – more than 19.5 million.
In the Hudson Valley, several counties have passed resolutions opposing the hasty process by which the new gun law was adopted as well as some of its provisions.
Dutchess County Clerk Bradford Kendall said the law’s provision that the county process all the forms from permit holders seeking to opt out of having their status public could bog down his staff and cost county taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars.
The New York State legislature quickly passed the gun control measure in the wake of the Newtown, Conn. school massacre. Gunman Adam Lanza used a Bushmaster .223 semiautomatic in his rampage that left 20 first graders and six educators dead.
Under prior state law, assault weapons are defined by having two “military rifle” features spelled out in the law. The new law reduces that to one feature and include the popular pistol grip.
It also forces gun owners to renew their licenses every five years, stiffens penalties for using a gun in the commission of a crime and for bringing a gun on school property.
The gun law has also led to large protest rallies in Albany and pressured Senate Republicans who represent many of the upstate areas where gun owners are most upset.
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