AG: Wading River man sold assault rifle without conducting background check

11/30/2011 2:51 PM |

COURTESY PHOTO | Attorney General Eric Schneiderman at a press conference Wednesday announcing charges related to a statewide sting of illegal gun sales.

A Wading River man is facing charges for failing to conduct a proper background while selling an assault rifle at a gun show, according to a press release from the New York State Attorney General’s office.

Alexander Lasurdo of Zophar Mills Road is one of 10 defendants accused in a statewide investigation into the illegal sale of guns at gun shows, officials said. A spokesperson for Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said Mr. Lasurdo sold the gun at a show held in the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Hall in Hauppauge this September.

Beginning in March of this year, undercover officers from the Attorney General’s office purchased weapons from sellers at gun shows in Erie, Genesee, Saratoga, Schoharie, Suffolk and Washington counties.

“The 10 defendants charged today chose to sell a firearm to the undercover officer with brazen disregard for the required NICS background check,” read the press release from the AG’s office. “Typically, the undercover investigator told the seller that he had an order of protection against him and would not be able to pass a background check.”

An AG spokesperson said Mr. Lasurdo sold a Rock River AR 15 assault rifle to the undercover investigator.

NICS background checks are required for all gun purchases at gun shows throughout the state, authorities said. A person who fails an NICS background check is ineligible to purchase or possess a gun under federal law.

The AG’s office said persons prohibited under federal law from purchasing or possessing a gun include those who:

• Have been convicted of a felony

• Have been adjudicated a “mental defective” or committed to a mental institution

• Are unlawful users of or addicted to a controlled substance

• Being an alien, or living illegally or unlawfully in the U.S.

• Are subject to a court order that restrains the person from harassing, stalking, or threatening an intimate partner or child of such intimate partner

• Have been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence; or

• Have been dishonorably discharged from the U.S. Armed Forces

“The illegal sale of guns at gun shows endangers the public by giving felons, terrorists and the dangerously mentally ill an open and anonymous marketplace to buy guns without a background check,” Mr. Schneiderman said in a statement.

Other states, such as Arizona, have been criticized by gun control advocates for loose regulations at gun shows.

Mr. Lasurdo has been offered an appearance ticket on a misdemeanor charge of failure to conduct a background check at a gun show and is due in court at a later date, an AG spokesperson said.

gparpan@timesreview.com