First SAFE Act arrest made; man sells assault weapons to cop


A Chautauqua County man who sold two assault weapons to an undercover police investigator has become the state’s first arrest for a violation of the NY SAFE Act.

Benjamin M. Wassell, 32, of Hanover, allegedly sold the illegal firearms in January and February, after the gun law banning assault weapons went into effect.

“The defendant is accused of illegally selling assault weapons not once, but twice. Add to that, he was willing to sell to someone without knowing anything about their background, and it’s exactly the type of dangerous and illegal activity that can lead to more gun violence in our communities,” State Police Superintendent Joseph D’Amico said in a statement Thursday.

Wassell is accused of selling a DelTon DTI-15 assault rifle outfitted with a pistol grip, a telescoping butt stock and a bayonet mount, as well as a Armalite AR-10 Magnum semiautomatic rifle. The criminal sale of an illegal weapon is a class D felony.

He was arraigned Thursday in the Town of Hanover Court and has been released upon his own recognizance. He will return to court March 20, where he will be represented by a public defender, according to the attorney general’s office.


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  1. Dangerous and illegal activity….

    Only since January of this year. Otherwise private arms transactions have been taking place for over a hundred years.

    How quickly our employees hired to protect and defend turn on the populace. Anything for a paycheck I guess.

    Notice the military presence in the Mohawk Valley. Not just your local cop anymore.
    Armored vehicles, troops, assault rifles.

    We don’t need innocent until proven guilty anymore either. The default nowdays is to storm the position and come in shooting. Military tactics.

  2. Looks like it’s time to step up. Any pro-gun lawyers willing to work pro bono reading this? Anyone ready to contribute to a defense fund for Mr. Wassell? It’s time, friends.

  3. This is how our governor and government turns everyday law abiding citizens into comon criminals. Private gun sales have always been legal and if your a convicted felon that should be your responsibility to not buy or possess firearms not mine. Its time for our community to come together and stand behind this man and protest this attempt to make us all criminals

  4. I don’t like the law, but it is the Law. Article doesn’t say if the telescoping butt stock was pinned or not. If not, that has been illegal long before the SAFE Act was inacted. If your going to break the law regardless how you feel about it, better be ready to deal with the consequences.

  5. Albany Observer on

    Gun nuts.

    Would he be a persecuted patriot if the sale was in Brooklyn and not Chautaqua County?

  6. Wait a minute. The private sale provision of the SAFE act went into effect on March 15,2013.
    This guy sold the gun in January or Feburary according to the story. He got busted cause the gun had a telecopeing stock and a bayonet mount – stupid law but THAT ONE has been on the books in NY since the first federal ban went into effect. This has nothing to do with the (equally stupid) SAFE act. The reporter got it wrong and the State police supt. didn’t bother to correct him. Frickin’ idiots!

  7. Good riddance, hope the seller rots in jail. The gun nuts always say they follow the law, and yet we see everyday that they are willing to sacrifice the safety of our kids to make a buck. Absolutely disgusting that these weapons are on our streets.

    If you think SAFE went too far, you need your head examined. It didn’t go far enough. Ban them all and arrest anyone who resists.

    Law abiding my rear end.

  8. There comes a time, when reasonable citizens, must put aside the laws of their dictators. And engage in civil disobedience.

    When a government is so heinous that it deems ergonomic features such as an adjustable stock or a safety feature such as a barrel shroud, contrivances to make an otherwise law abiding citizen a felon.

    One must question, whether it is not time for the people to extract the authority from the present government and give it to a new one.

    Likewise, when that same government fines a citizen $222,000 for the mere download/sharing of 24 songs valued at 99 cents. One must wonder if a 100,000x the value fine in favor of a large lobby that bribes Congress is equally a sign of this government’s failure.

    One must wonder, if the government is in violation of it’s own supreme laws. The Constitution which in the 2nd Amendment says a citizens right to own arms shall not be infringed. And in the 8th says that no excessive fine shall be imposed.

    So if our government refuses to heed it’s supreme laws, why should we give a damn about lesser laws that are clearly in violation of our most revered and highest law?

  9. NUGUN is the very embodyment of gun owners, law-breaking petulent children that are upset thier precious little toys are have been banned. So they openly brag about breaking the laws created by elected officials who won a MAJORITY of the vote. Your side lost, now turn in your death rays and pick a new hobby.

    Go ahead and resist, I am certain the police have more bullets and better training than you do.

    PS- the police should really look into NUGUN via his IP address, he sounds disturbed.

  10. FoundingFather on

    Hey Juan,
    Try reading “Civil Disobedience” by Thoreau, or Gahandi, or maybe the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.

    Were you even born in this country – or did you swim across the Rio Grande in the middle of the night?

  11. A Real Patriot on

    What the fuck is an “Armalite AR-10 Magnum”?

    Again, letting people who know NOTHING about firearms dictate to us how to use them. Way to go NY.

  12. Shaking My Head in Buffalo on

    Courtesy of the Buffalo News:

    “State police, in their complaint, pointed out that Wassell went through with the second sale even though the undercover officer told him he had a felony domestic violence conviction. Felons are prohibited from owning guns.”

    Whether you think these kinds of guns should be banned or not, that’s really utterly reprehensible.

  13. Shaking My Head in Buffalo on

    Everyone just stop, read and savor this quote from an above commenter for a second:

    “if your a convicted felon that should be your responsibility to not buy or possess firearms not mine.”

  14. Wendy Weinbaum on

    As a Jewess in the US, I can only say that NOW is the time for all REAL Americans to put our 2nd Amendment FIRST!! Gangster governments and common criminals are stopped by FIREARMS, not by sweet talk! And remember that America wasn’t won with a registered gun!

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