Silver Creek Man Charged with Violating SAFE Act

6:46 PM, Mar 15, 2013   |    comments
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SILVER CREEK, N.Y. -- A Silver Creek man is the first person arrested and charged with violating the state's new gun laws.

Benjamin Wassell, 33, of Silver Creek is the first person in New York charged with violating the new SAFE Act. We went to Wassell's house to try to talk with him Thursday afternoon, but no one answered the door.

Thursday, an undercover investigation by the Attorney General's Office and State Police revealed Wassell is accused of trying to sell two illegal semiautomatic assault weapons to an undercover State Police investigator. According to court documents, those weapons include an AR-15, nearly 300 rounds of ammo and six magazines and an AR-10 semi automatic rifle along with 31 rounds of ammo and one magazine.

Wassell is charged with three felonies related to the sale of illegal weapons and one misdemeanor. That misdemeanor is related to the SAFE Act which went into effect while the investigation was taking place.

The SAFE Act bans people from knowingly selling assault weapons to people who are not legally allowed to have them. During the investigation, prosecutors say the undercover officer told Wassell he or she was a convicted felon, meaning according to the SAFE Act, it was illegal for that person to buy the AR-10.

Prosecutors also say they have an audio recording of Wassell telling them "this whole felony banned for life thing, it's stupid."

Investigators say the AR-10 fell into the assault weapon category covered by the new gun law because it had a specific type of pistol grip.

Prosecutors released Wassell on his on recognizance after he made his first court appearance in Hanover Town Court Thursday. Wassell is scheduled to be back in court March 20. If guilty, he could face up to seven years in prison.

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