Supreme Court allows New York ammunition background check to take effect tomorrow

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor on Tuesday rejected a gun shop-owning couple seeking to block New York’s background check law for ammunition purchases one day before it goes into effect.

In a paperless order, Sotomayor rejected an application for a stay of several measures under the Empire State’s Concealed Carry Improvement Act, which was signed by Gov. Kathy Hochul (D-NY) last July in response to Justice Clarence Thomas’s 6-3 decision striking the state’s century-old restrictive gun permit regime.


The requirement for ammunition sales goes into effect on Wednesday and forces purchasers to pay background check fees, $2.50 for the sale of ammunition and $9 for guns, which helps fund the new program overseen by the New York State Police Department.

Some measures of the law began as recently as Sept. 1, including a requirement for dealers to maintain a physical or electronic record of gun purchases and sales documents. Some of the rules predate the 2022 high court ruling.

The loss marks the second time the Gazzola family has been rejected by the high court, following a denial for injunctive relief on Jan. 18. A federal trial judge and a federal appeals court refused to block the provisions before the plaintiffs sought Supreme Court relief, and Sotomayor handles applications stemming from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit.


Thomas and Justice Samuel Alito told separate plaintiffs on Jan. 11 that they should again seek relief at the Supreme Court if the 2nd Circuit doesn’t “within a reasonable time” explain their stays of several lower court orders that tossed out several of the CCIA’s provisions.

The Supreme Court receives up to 7,000 applications each year and grants approximately 60-70 cases per term.

The case before Sotomayor is known as Gazzola v. Hochul.