Local NY SAFE Act Defendant in Court

April 17, 2013 Updated Apr 18, 2013 at 11:11 AM EDT

By Rachel Elzufon

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April 17, 2013 Updated Apr 18, 2013 at 11:11 AM EDT

Hanover, NY (WKBW) - The first person arrested for allegedly violating the New York SAFE Act appeared before a judge on Wednesday.

32-year-old Benjamin Wassell of Silver Creek is accused of illegally selling two assault weapons.

About 30 people came to the Town of Hanover Court. Many had never even met Wassell. They were not just showing support for him, but also taking a stand against the New York SAFE Act.

Don Gould, a life-long family friend, says "he is a good man, a family man. He's always been a good kid."

Wassell is an Iraqi war hero, praised by loved ones for saving fellow Marines.

Benjamin Wassell now faces charges of selling assault weapons that are illegal under the SAFE Act.

Outside the courthouse, Carrie Christman, an activist from Brighton, asks "What is going on in America? What is happening to our second amendment rights -- what's happening to our Bill of Rights?"

The case is being moved to the Chautauqua County Court, where a grand jury will decide whether or not to indict Wassell.

His attorney, Michael Deal, says of now, it appears the case will go to trial.

New York's Attorney General says Wassell knew the gun were illegal. He allegedly was recorded telling an undercover cop "you might want to get a pin so you don't get in trouble," and "this whole felony, banned for life thing, it's stupid."

The head of the New York State Police is now touring the state in defense of the New York SAFE Act and to fight rumors.

"(The State Police) protect peoples rights, they protect our citizens," Superintendent Joseph D'Amico says. "We're not looking to violate anybody's rights. It's just confusion, it's misunderstanding."

However, Wassell's supporters say the New York SAFE Act should not be in place to begin with.

There is another court battle brewing. In Buffalo, the New York NRA filed a motion asking the State Supreme Court to suppress several key provisions of the New York SAFE Act.