New York Attorney General Letitia James today cracked down on online ammunition sellers illegally shipping ammunition to New York residents and failing to keep records of these sales.
An investigation by the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) found that 39 ammunition sellers have been shipping ammunition directly to New York residents in violation of New York’s SAFE Act, which prohibits direct online sales of ammunition to New York residents. Attorney General James sent cease and desist orders to these ammunition sellers demanding that they stop shipping ammunition directly to New York and warned them of serious legal consequences if they continue to violate New York’s law.
“Shipping bullets to New Yorkers’ doorsteps is illegal and ammunition sellers that ignore the law will face the full force of my office,” said Attorney General James. “Online sales of ammunition are dangerous and could end up in the wrong hands. We are taking action to protect communities and enforce our responsible gun laws. Ammunition sellers must stop illegally bringing ammo into New York. My office will continue to use every tool at our disposal to protect the safety of everyday New Yorkers.”
New York’s SAFE Act requires all ammunition sales to be conducted in person between a licensed firearms dealer or registered seller of ammunition and a customer. The law also requires ammunition sellers to create and maintain a record of every ammunition transaction in New York that includes the age, occupation, and residence of any person buying ammunition. Direct shipments of ammunition and a failure to keep records of ammunition sales in New York violates the SAFE Act and New York’s consumer protection statutes. Online ammunition sales are unsafe and illegal because sellers circumvent legal requirements that are intended to protect New Yorkers.
The OAG identified 39 ammunition sellers, including two based in New York, that were illegally shipping ammunition to New York residents. Attorney General James warned sellers that such violations could carry penalties of up to $5,000 for each individual violation and may subject them to disgorgement of all income resulting from these illegal sales. In addition, Attorney General James demanded that the sellers take every necessary step to preserve all physical and electronic records related to these sales.
Today’s action continues Attorney General James’ efforts to protect New Yorkers from gun violence and enforce New York’s responsible gun safety laws. In June, Attorney General James filed a comprehensive lawsuit against 10 gun distributors for illegally selling and bringing ghost gun parts into New York. Earlier this year, Attorney General James sent cease and desist letters to online gun retailers illegally advertising and selling ghost gun parts to New Yorkers.
In April 2021, Attorney General James sent a letter to U.S. DOJ urging them to strengthen federal regulations on ghost guns. In February 2021, Attorney General James led a coalition of 21 attorneys general from around the nation in filing an amicus brief in the case Grewal v. Defense Distributed before the U.S. Supreme Court, where the coalition fought a lawsuit that seeks to stop states from enforcing their laws against a company disseminating dangerous 3D-printed gun files on the internet.
In September 2019, Attorney General James sent cease and desist letters to a number of websites selling ghost gun parts. In July 2020, Attorney General James announced that all those companies had complied with her cease and desist letters.
To date, Attorney General James has taken more than 3,700 guns out of communities through gun buyback events and takedowns of violent drug and crime rings since taking office in 2019.