No jail time given in high profile gun case

MAYVILLE, N.Y. (WIVB) – A Chautauqua County man has avoided jail time in a high profile gun possession case.

Benjamin Wassell was sentenced to five years probation Friday by Acting Chautauqua County Court Judge Michael D’Amico. The 33-year-old had been one of the first people charged under elements of New York’s SAFE ACT. Those charges were eventually set aside by a grand jury, which still charged him with three felony counts, including possession of an illegal firearm, sale of a firearm, and possession with intent to sell a firearm.

“What happened here would’ve been criminal before the SAFE ACT was passed,” noted Judge D’Amico.

Wassell was found to be in possession of an AR-15 with at least three “assault features” attached to it, including a bayonet mount, a pistol grip, and a telescoping butt stock. Before the SAFE ACT, New Yorkers were allowed to own certain guns with up to two assault features.

Wassell served as a Marine in Operation Iraqi Freedom. He has two young children at home and told the judge, “I have never been in trouble before this or since this, and I will not be in trouble in the future.”

Wassell must stay away from guns and alcohol during the five years of probation. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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