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SAFE Act charges dropped against Saratoga County man

Updated: 08/22/2013 7:40 PM
Created: 08/22/2013 5:56 PM WNYT.com
By: Mark Mulholland

MOREAU - William Greene, 51, was in court Thursday morning to answer charges that he sold a gun to an undercover police investigator, without asking for a background check. The sale took place in April, one day after a new law---part of the SAFE ACT---took effect, and required a background check.

Citing the "totality of the facts," Saratoga County District Attorney Jim Murphy decided not to prosecute Greene for violation of the SAFE Act, which meant two misdemeanors were dismissed.

A victory for William Greene and his supporters who say the new law is unconstitutional and hard to understand.

"Relieved it's over," said Greene. "I feel sorry for anybody out there that's got a gun like that because I didn't know."

Greene says he never intended to break the law, he just needed some money. "With the wife's medical problems this winter, I was drained on my account. So that's why I was selling it."

But Greene didn't get off the hook completely. It turns out the gun he sold was illegal to own. For years, long before the SAFE Act was enacted, the gun has been viewed by law enforcement as an assault weapon.

So Greene pled guilty to criminal possession of a weapon. A misdemeanor.

"It is the sentence of this court that the defendant be sentenced to a one-year conditional discharge," said Moreau Town Justice Timothy Alden.

Greene's Attorney, Greg Canale, was pleased with the result. "It's a very favorable outcome, my client doesn't suffer any jail time, doesn't suffer probation. He's able to keep and possess his firearms."

Greene was also ordered to pay a $200 fine.

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