An 18-year-old man was arrested early Sunday and charged with violating the state’s new gun control law after a foot chase through an East Side neighborhood ended with the recovery of a 9 mm handgun, Buffalo police said.
Darquane M. McDuffie was arrested after he reportedly jumped from the rear seat of a vehicle that police were trying to stop near the intersection of Sweet Avenue and Stanislaus Street.
Officers Adam O’Shei and Joseph Walters gave chase on foot and caught McDuffie, who they said discarded a loaded handgun while running.
The handgun, described as a 9 mm pistol with a 12-round magazine, had one round in the chamber plus 11 in the magazine. It was recovered by Buffalo Police Lt. Ivan Watkins in the driveway of 161 Stanislaus St. in the Broadway-Fillmore area.
During processing, police said, they found 10 bags of marijuana hidden in McDuffie’s right pant leg.
Police charged McDuffie with unlawful possession of a large capacity ammunition feeding device under the state’s SAFE Act. Enacted on Jan. 15, the law prohibits having more than seven rounds in a magazine.
McDuffie also faces charges of felony possession of a weapon, obstruction and unlawful possession of marijuana.
In addition to prohibiting more than seven rounds in a magazine, the act tightens the definition of illegal “assault weapons” and requires owners of formerly legal semiautomatic guns to register them. It also includes stronger penalties for crimes committed with guns and requires mental health professionals to notify authorities about people they think may pose a danger to themselves or others. The new gun law, among the nation’s most stringent, is the subject of a federal lawsuit filed in Buffalo by the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association, the statewide affiliate of the National Rifle Association. The group is challenging the ban on certain semiautomatic guns defined as “assault weapons” as well as the limit on the size of magazines – a provision state officials have talked about modifying because manufacturers don’t make seven-round magazines.
In a separate state court lawsuit, a judge refused to block the SAFE Act in a case brought by plaintiffs who claimed it violates the state constitution because it was passed too quickly, without the normal three-day aging period, and restricts rights.
Last month, a 32-year-old Iraq War hero from Silver Creek appeared in Hanover Town Court as the first person in the state charged under the law. Benjamin M. Wassell is accused of modifying two weapons by adding features like a pistol grip and a bayonet mount to make them more valuable in the wake of the ban, and then selling them to an undercover state police officer who, in one case, reportedly posed as a felon.
Wassell, who pleaded not guilty, is due back in court April 17. He faces up to seven years in prison if convicted on all charges under the SAFE Act.