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.

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