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Trial set for 1st charged under NY SAFE Act

HANOVER — A trial will get underway next week for the first person charged with violating New York’s new gun-control law.

Authorities said 33-year-old Benjamin Wassell of Silver Creek in western New York was accused of selling illegally modified semi-automatic rifles. The transactions in January and February 2013 involved an undercover officer in the Chautauqua County town of Hanover, 30 miles southwest of Buffalo.

Wassell was charged with three felonies and a misdemeanor under the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act, passed in January 2013.

The Dunkirk Observer reported that jury selection begins March 4 in Chautauqua County Court. The state attorney general’s office is handling the prosecution.

Two Chautauqua County judges recused themselves because they’re members of the National Rifle Association. An Erie County judge will preside.