Marine Vet Convicted Under NY SAFE Act Has Case Dismissed ‘With Prejudice’

New York resident Brian Wassell was cleared of all charges by the New York Supreme Court (Photo: 2AWNY Youtube)

The first man convicted under the New York SAFE Act has been cleared of all charges, announced last week.

The Western New York gun-rights group filed a lawsuit back in 2013 on behalf of their client, Marine Corps veteran Brian Wassell, and appealed their case all the way to the New York State Supreme Court. After securing a unanimous victory in the Supreme Court, 2AWNY asked that the case be dismissed “with prejudice,” meaning that Wassell can never face the same charges again.

The New York Attorney General initially filed a motion to move the case up to the Court of Appeals, but soon reversed course and agreed to 2AWNY’s request.

“Six years ago, my life was turned upside down by a law that politicians enacted for political reasons that does absolutely nothing to protect the citizens,” Wassell said during a press conference. “These laws are turning people’s lives upside down, like mine, every day.”

“I urge everybody, if you don’t understand these laws, you need to learn. You need to educate yourself because, if you just listen to what these politicians say, they’re going to run railroad over everybody,” Wassell continued. “Today, it’s finally over for me, but there’s a lot of other people that still have to deal with this. We have to stop criminalizing good people and passing laws that are based on sentiment and have absolutely no effect on crime.”

SEE ALSO: Can New York City Ban Your Right to Bear Arms?

Days after New York passed the SAFE Act in 2013, Wassell was caught in a sting by the New York State Police. Wassell, who had recently returned from a tour of duty in Iraq, still owned several now-banned “assault weapons” and was approached by someone at a gun shop who wanted to purchase his rifles. After agreeing to the sale, Wassell was charged with multiple violent felonies.

His case was dismissed by the State Supreme Court not on Second Amendment grounds but because the State Attorney General “failed to demonstrate legal authority to prosecute the case,” according to 2AWNY.

2AWNY’s Civil Rights Advocate Steve Felano said in a recent interview that he believes the Attorney General withdrew his motion to move the case to the Court of Appeals because he feared an eventual appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, which could rule on the Second Amendment issues the state courts failed to address.

“[The Attorney General] knew all along that if the Court of Appeals heard this, we could bring up all the Second Amendment arguments that we made initially that the New York State Supreme Court just ignored, and then we could appeal the case to the U.S. Supreme Court. They didn’t want that to happen,” he said.

SEE ALSO: New York Democrat Threatens Extinction of Local Gun Shops with New Bill

Wassell’s dismissal doesn’t mean the U.S. Supreme Court can no longer consider the constitutionality of the SAFE Act, however. Felano noted that there are “dozens of attorneys” across the state who are actively litigating their own SAFE Act cases, and they hope to move these cases up the chain towards the highest court in the land.

“The end of New York gun control is coming,” 2AWNY concludes in a press release announcing its most recent victory.

The New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act of 2013 (SAFE Act) is among the most restrictive gun ban schemes in the country. The legislation (among other things) bans “assault weapons,” standard-capacity magazines, and private firearm sales.

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About the author: Jordan Michaels has been reviewing firearm-related products for over four years and enjoying them for much longer. With family in Canada, he’s seen first hand how quickly the right to self-defense can be stripped from law-abiding citizens. He escaped that statist paradise at a young age, married a sixth-generation Texan, and currently lives in Waco. Follow him on Instagram @bornforgoodluck and email him at

{ 14 comments… add one }
  • spktruth March 10, 2020, 12:30 am

    The SAFE Act is Unconstitutional and every Citizen of NY needs to Ignore it as an act of Civil Disobedience the State cannot lockup Everyone! These Damn Unconstitutional Gun Control Laws ALL need to be Abolished as You Cannot Legislate an End Run Around the Constitution Period End Stop! If this Keeps Up We the People will have No other Recourse but to Use the Arms We are Granted by Birth Against the Tyrannical Government Now in Power!

    • Sam March 12, 2020, 3:32 am

      They don’t have to lock up anyone. They can convict you and give you a $50 fine. They make their own declaration of what is a felony, and you are banned for life from owning any kind of firearm. In some States that even means a BB gun.

  • Jim Bragg July 19, 2019, 10:46 am

    He never should have been charged in the first place. The man just served his nation in the front lines of a military unit. I think he is capable of safely operating his firearms.

    • DM July 19, 2019, 1:09 pm

      He owned a prohibited item after the ban went into effect. It has nothing to do with his ability to safely operate a firearm. Right now if you were in possession of a bump stock you’d be charged with owning a machine gun via federal law. He simply had a prohibited item, nothing more, nothing less. So he was charged on those grounds.

      The prosecutors dropped the safe act charges instead of having the law tossed in higher courts and possibly have the SAFE act overturned. They had enough on him regardless to convict. Wassell fucked up in numerous other ways other than the SAFE act. The first rifle he sold F2F wasn’t allowed to be sold due to features, and the undercover cop told him he was a felon. Wassell still sold the rifle, ammo, and mags to the cop. Due to this they chose to not press the charges on the SAFE act and instead hit him with selling a rifle F2F that was covered by other laws and that he was knowingly selling to an admitted felon. Wassell still has other charges to face before this is all over. And he’s pretty much guilty as sin on them.

      This isn’t a victory on the SAFE act. Far from it. This act really needs overturned at the supreme court so we can stop this nonsense of banning everything due to looks or that will take arms from law abiding owners yet leave criminals armed.

      • ES July 22, 2019, 10:29 am

        Can you site where you received your information and confirm?

  • Jim Jam July 19, 2019, 9:27 am

    What about all those affected signing on to a class action lawsuit that sues for reparations- damages could be qualitative or quantitative- loss of earnings (due to court issues) damage to psyche, reputation, family involvement, all manner of major issues. Knew of a teacher who was wrongfully accused of peddling porn- not the same sure but these people’s lives are consumed and destroyed by the far left laws and the victim society. The best offense for 2A also includes a good defense. Countersuits could be a great deterrent…

  • John Roberts July 19, 2019, 9:05 am

    This is great news for the people of New my opinion the safe act is nothing more than a political act that the governor hatched to make him self look like he accomplished gun safety in New York.the safe act has not made New York any safer,all that he accomplished was to make law abiding citizens criminals.the state police and other police agencies want no part of this unworkable law. I am banned from owning an Ar15 because of this stupid law.i have a clean record and have had a concealed carry permit since 1960.i hope the Law gets overturned at some point, or replace our current governor!

  • Jay July 19, 2019, 7:47 am

    President Trump has failed second amendment supporters all over this Country. He single handedly and without any fight turned a gun accessory (bump stocks) into a machine gun by making the ATF change the wording, definition of a machine gun thereby changing physics somehow with a stroke of a pen. You have no idea what is coming down the line from this one action and future presidents will do now that this has been done.

    • Alan Robinson July 19, 2019, 9:07 am

      Wow, you sure do base one hell of a lot on just one incident.
      Now, logically defend your claim.
      Cite the very items or rights you think will be next.
      I believe Your emotion has clouded your reason.

      • Jay July 19, 2019, 10:54 am

        If you need to have what was done explained to you in elementary terms, so your lack of intelligence might grasp, then you need to come out of that basement and live among the rest of us for a while!

        • Sam March 12, 2020, 3:36 am

          OK, you have called your names and belittled a poster, now, defend your claims

  • Mark N. July 17, 2019, 1:21 am

    The NY Supreme Court is the trial court, not the highest court in the state. The intermediate court is the Appellate Divisions of the Supreme Court. The highest court is the Court of Appeals.

    • Grampy Tom July 19, 2019, 7:01 am

      Don’t speedread, you are not good at it. The author states, “The New York Attorney General initially filed a motion to move the case up to the Court of Appeals” from the Supreme Court. Clear as a bell to people reading an article for its contenet, not to find fault.

    • Dr Motown July 19, 2019, 7:15 am

      The terminology can be very confusing from one state to another, no doubt. Thanks for clarifying

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