WNYT.com

Facebook gun sale leads to arrest

Posted at: 04/17/2013 5:56 PM
Updated at: 04/17/2013 6:21 PM
By: Beth Wurtmann

MOREAU - No one answered the door at William Greene's home Wednesday, less than a day after State police said the 51-year-old Town of Moreau man illegally sold an assault rifle to an undercover trooper.

"The sale occurred after the law changed," said Captain Timothy Munro, with Troop G.

Munro said under provisions of the New York Safe Act that went into effect Monday, background checks are required for private gun sales. Assault weapons can't be sold to random individuals, only to certain exempted groups or people, like family members.

Troopers said Greene posted his RGuns .223-5.56 caliber semi automatic weapon with a pistol grip, on a private Facebook page for gun enthusiasts. Investigators said he sold it to the undercover trooper for 2000-dollars.

"It's clear to us through conversations and through the investigation, that he was aware he was violating the law when he made the sale," Munro said.

Reporter: "So he knew he should have got a background check?"

"Yes," said Munro.

But getting a background check isn't that easy, according to John Aiken. His Queensbury outdoor sporting goods store isn't running the NICS checks for private sales, because a  state cap of just ten dollars, he said, it's too much paperwork to make it worth the time.

"They're going to get upset with any dealer that may not want to do that transaction to make it easier for them, but if we can't afford to that that transaction, we're not going to do it," Aiken said.

Aiken added that as Greene's case showed,  buying a gun from a private seller online is loaded with risks, especially with New York's tougher gun law.

"You're not going to know or have the knowledge of the person you'll be selling to," he said.

Greene faces two misdemeanor counts in the case. If convicted he could face up to a year in jail and a one thousand dollar fine.

Under the Safe Act, Greene could have also kept the assault rifle if he registered it by April 15 next year.