HANOVER – A Silver Creek man has been charged under the NY SAFE Act for the alleged sale of illegal guns. Benjamin M. Wassell, 32, allegedly sold the illegal firearms in January and February, following the implementation of the NY SAFE Act. He is the first person to be charged under the new law.
Wassell allegedly sold assault weapons to an undercover police officer on two separate occasions. According to media reports, the first sale started on Jan. 24 when Wassell attempted to sell a DelTon AR-15 rifle, a banned weapon due to a pistol grip, telescoping butt stock and bayonet mount, to the undercover officer. The sale between Wassell and the officer was finalized at Aunt Millie’s Restaurant for $1,900 and included 299 rounds of ammunition as well as six large-capacity clips.
Following the first purchase, the officer kept in contact with Wassell. A month later in the parking lot of Lakeshore Lanes, the Wassell allegedly sold a Armalite AR-10 Magnum semiautomatic rifle to the officer for $2,600. Once again, the sale included ammunition – 21 rounds. On this sale, the officer told Wassell about a previous felony conviction.
“By selling these illegal firearms, Mr. Wassell’s actions had potentially dangerous consequences for New Yorkers,” said State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. “We have seen far too much gun violence in our state in recent months, and the sale of illegal semiautomatic weapons will not go unpunished.”
Both sales were after the NY SAFE Act was put into effect, banning the sale of assault weapons in the state. The law also requires gun registration, mental health evaluations and removal of guns if deemed appropriate, as well as ammunition tracking.
Wassell was arraigned in the Town of Hanover Court. He was released on his own recognizance to return to court next week. The investigation was conducted by the state Attorney General’s Office and the New York State Police.