Is It Illegal to Order Ammunition If You Are Not a Gun Owner?

Male 1: It’s 1800law1010, Paul Harding from Martin, Harding & Mazzotti on the horn.

Male 2: Morning, Paul.

Paul: Hey, good morning, good morning.

Male 2: So reading this story yesterday, and I’ll just read a little bit because it’s short, but, “Police in Berkshire County say they made a troubling discovery while investigating a homicide. Investigators tell NewsChannel 13, they got word that Matthew Sylvia of Pittsfield was getting a large shipment of ammo from Texas.” They say he does not have a license to carry. Authorities seized 60 pounds of ammo at a shipping company. And when they searched his home, they found eight guns and 1300 rounds of ammunition. It’s not clear if he was the person who committed the homicide.

Male 1: Right.

Male 2: And if he wasn’t a person who committed the homicide, I guess, my question is, is it illegal to order ammo if you don’t own guns?

Paul: Well, you know, that was a tricky one. So I actually not only looked into it from a legal front, but I actually spoke to some folks who own a local gun shop. And the rules are in New York state… Anyway, there are a few states that are different, but the rule in New York is, you can. You can order ammunition, you do not have to prove that you have the gun, that you have a permit for the gun. You need to be 21 for a handgun and 18 for a shotgun.

Male 1: No, it’s… I like that. I mean, it’s… I’m looking for some subsonic 300 blackout round, and if I can’t find it, I gotta find it online.

Male 2: But is there a limit to what…?

Male 1: Yeah, a good question.

Male 2: Is there a limit to how much ammo one person can order?

Paul: There really isn’t. That was unique. And so I went online also. You can kind of get it, FedEx delivers it to your house. But to the extent that, I guess, there can be some degree of notice giving out to the police, I don’t know what the probable cause… The probable cause had to have been the potential homicide. But for just…

Male 1: Right. But it isn’t mentioned in the story, so it’s a little confusing.

Paul: Yeah. Just getting the ammunition to your house… Now, we are all registered gun owners now, right? So everyone knows. So I guess, they could take a look and say, “Hey, he doesn’t have guns registered, he’s getting ammunition.” But everything I could find shows that that is okay. Now, having that 60 pounds and 1300 rounds did seem extreme. But when I spoke to some folks who are avid shooters, they said, “Hey, me and my buddy can go out for half a day and we can shoot 1000 rounds.” So at first…

Male 1: Yeah, I’ve done that in my basement just being able to go and shoot. Yeah.

Male 2: It’s like my wife shopping at BJ’s. We don’t need a whole pallet of marshmallows. “Well, they were on sale.” So I mean, if you’re stocking up, I get it.

Male 1: You don’t want to have to go back.

Male 2: But look, it’s a technique. It is interesting if you’re ordering all these ammo and you’re not on the registered gun owner list, then what are you doing with it, I guess?

Paul: Yeah.

Male 1: Yeah. What if I just want it in case. You know what I mean? Like, in case of the civil war or defense of my home?

Male 2: What if you’re building a bar and you want rounds [crosstalk 00:02:54]?

Male 1: Well, that’s a great idea if you don’t have any seedy need for it.

Paul: Yeah. And so you can. I know as to why they were there and what they know.

Male 1: Making [crosstalk 00:03:04].

Paul: You can’t have unregistered handguns in your house. But for us, that’s where the line gets drawn, right? And so I think that was the problem there.

Male 2: Well, I’m gonna keep an eye on this story because the details we got yesterday didn’t give us a whole lot. But what we do know from Paul is you legally can order rounds of ammunition and not be a gun owner.

Male 1: Can I get them on Amazon? Did you check that far? [crosstalk 00:03:27].

Paul: I did not go that far. No

Male 1: I can probably do that myself, Paul. But thank you for your heavy lifting.

Male 2: You can get your ED med, your bullets, and your prescription. It’s all online.

Male 1: Listen, just because you’re sharing the ED med with me doesn’t mean that I have to be the one that buys it every other month.

Male 2: Paul, you’re the best.

Male 1: All right, Paul.

Male 2: Thank you, buddy.

Paul: You’re welcome.

Male 1: Paul Harding from Martin, Harding & Mazzotti, 1800law1010,