More than seven years ago, Iraq War hero Benjamin M. Wassell became the first person to be criminally prosecuted under New York State's SAFE Act, a controversial gun control law that has been applauded by advocates for victims of violent crimes but attacked by defenders of the right to bear arms.

State Police arrested Wassell, of Silver Creek, after alleging that he sold two semiautomatic "assault weapons" to an undercover investigator. Wassell, who suffered a brain injury from the explosion of an improvised bomb in Iraq, claimed he was confused by differing information that people gave him about the SAFE Act.

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U.S. Army Photo by Staff Sgt. Peter J. Berardi

Iraq War veteran Jason McDonald knows what a 400-pound improvised explosive device sounds like when it's hit. He also knows what abject fear feels like and what death smells like.

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