DA weighs in on SAFE Act charges against Buffalo suspect

Apr 3, 2013

New York's tough new gun control law has been getting a lot of attention since January when it was signed into law. Buffalo Police made the first local arrest to include charges under the SAFE Act earlier this week, but the charge does not carry a stiff penalty.

While Darquane McDuffie was allegedly running from Police early Sunday, officers say he tried to dispose of a semi-automatic handgun with a 12-round magazine.

Under the SAFE Act it's a Class D Misdemeanor to have more than seven rounds in a clip.

Erie County District Attorney Frank Sedita tells WBFO News if convicted, the maximum sentence is 90 days in jail, which Sedita says is probably the least of McDuffie's concerns.

"His main charge is criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree, which has been effect since 2006. That has up to 15 years in state prison. That, obviously, is the major charge," said Sedita. 

Sedita says it's a charge his office has been very aggressive in prosecuting.

"We've put hundreds, literally hundreds and hundreds of people in state prison over the last three years with that charge...and it's much much more punitive than the so-called SAFE Act charge," said Sedita. 

The 18-year-old McDuffie is also charged with unlawful possession of marijuana and obstruction of governmental administration.