Nine people on Long Island have been accused of illegally selling assault weapons that had been modified to appear as if they were no longer semi-automatic.
Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said Thursday that five Nassau gun shops sold assault weapons to undercover officers during the course of a 10-month investigation. Four store owners and five employees of the stores have been arrested and charged, Rice said.
One suspect, Martin Tretola of Bellmore, "went so far as to demonstrate to undercover officers how to remove a temporary fixed stock and replace it with a collapsible one," Rice said.
Under state law, only law enforcement and certain members of the military are legally permitted to possess assault weapons, defined in New York as guns that reload automatically, hold more than 10 rounds or accept detachable magazines.
Authorities said the weapons were rigged so that they would no longer automatically reload -- a fix that was easy to reverse.
There were two incidents in which people who had purchased the weapons were arrested, but the illegal guns have not so far been linked to any crimes, Rice said.