Restrictions for Ammunition in New York

Under the Penal Law, there is no such thing as restricted ammunition in itself. There is no classification under Article 265 which deals with restrictions for ammunition in New York

This designates a certain type of ammunition as technically restricted, although there are some aggravating factors regarding ammunition in that section. 

For instance, exploding rounds or armor-piercing rounds can cause certain charges to be a bit more severe, but there is nothing specifically regarding restricted ammunition either in the Administrative Code or in the Penal Law.

Defining Penal Law Ammunition Restrictions

Restricted ammunition is a type of ammunition that is specifically mentioned in the Penal Law, e.g., the explosive rounds and armor-piercing rounds, then the answer to that question would be essential that there is no legitimate purpose to having those types of ammunition. Exploding rounds and armor-piercing rounds would technically not fit into any of the lawful purposes of gun ownership in New York.

Most people with guns like to either go hunting or target-shoot and neither one of those activities would require the use of explosive or armor-piercing rounds. It would certainly be contraindicated in terms of any hunting activities. 

If someone is a target shooter working on accuracy, explosive rounds would certainly not be useful in honing their skills. If the question is asked about those two types of rounds which are expressly prohibited to be used by the Penal Law, the answer would be because the legislature sees no legitimate purpose to having them.

What are the Restrictions on the Transfer of Large Capacities of Ammunition?

New York specifically singles out large-capacity ammunition feeders as illegal. There is a fair amount of restrictions for ammunition in New York when it comes to any sort of modifications of firearms. Even if they are lawfully purchased, registered, and never used in any sort of criminal activity, the idea behind restricting large ammunition feeding capacitors is to ensure that they are not being used.

This goes back to New York State's desire to keep the use of guns to lawful activities and what sort of modifications or attachments to any firearm that could conceivably have a legitimate use. The New York State Legislature has decided that large ammunition magazines or feeders do not really have any lawful or legitimate use and are likely to be used in the commission of crimes. 

Firearm and Ammunition Purchasing Regulations

If a person lives inside of New York City, they can only buy ammunition for the type of guns that they lawfully own. It is specifically prohibited under Administrative Code § 10-131 for any person inside of New York City to possess ammunition for any firearm that they do not lawfully own or have registered. 

Outside of New York City, as long as someone does not have the explosive or armor-piercing rounds, they can lawfully possess ammunition for guns that they do not necessarily own or have registered, but if they are being investigated for any illegal activities or firearms and it is discovered that they have ammunition for other types of guns, it certainly is a suspicious, aggravating factor to continue that investigation.

How Law Enforcement Tracks the Distribution of Ammunition

Ammunition in New York can only be lawfully purchased through a permitted vendor. The vendors have to be registered and keep a very, very scrupulous inventory of the products that they move based on the nature of that enterprise. There is a lot of oversight and a lot of regulation on gun vendors in New York. Law enforcement tracks the sale and distribution of ammunition through the lawful vendors.

Once somebody purchases ammunition, there is very little that New York State can do to monitor what that person does; whether or not they take a box of bullets that they buy from a lawful vendor, walk down the street and sell it to some criminal; there is no way for New York to know that. 

The best they can do is try to monitor the sales through the distributors and if they recover boxes of ammunition during a search warrant or during an investigation of criminal activity, they can use the barcodes on those boxes to trace it back to the vendor.