Long Island Man Indicted in Illegal Guns Bust

Gun dealer sold weapons that ended up in criminal's hands, said prosecutors.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A Long Island gun shop owner is now facing criminal charges after police say he was illegally selling guns that were ending up on the streets. News4's Greg Cergol reports. (Published Thursday, Feb 2, 2012)

    The owner of a Long Island gun shop has been indicted on weapons charges after prosecutors said they found a stash of illegal guns at his shop and home.

    Brian Andersen, 67, owned Guns & Ammo in Bohemia for about 10 years, but his business went beyond the legal sale of guns, according to Suffolk's district attorney.

    "Brian Andersen was, in reality, also engaging in the trade of illegal guns in Suffolk county," said DA Thomas Spota. Some of those guns, the DA added, ended up in criminals' hands.

    At a Hauppauge news conference Thursday, Spota showed reporters surveillance video of a violent gun battle between undercover cops and an alleged drug dealer last August.  The alleged dealer fired five shots at police, Spota explained, with a .38 caliber revolver that came from Andersen's store.

    No officers were shot in the Holtsville incident, but the alleged drug dealer was wounded by four shots. 

    According to the DA, Andersen sold guns without background checks and did not report missing or stolen weapons.

    Guns & Ammo was closed after Andersen's arrest.

    Prosecutors Thursday also displayed a table full of illegal guns found in Andersen's possession.  Among the weapons was an illegal machine gun prosecutors said was sold to Andersen by an undercover officer, and several guns that had been reported stolen by a retired police officer.

    "Andersen was accumulating guns without care or concern for their lethal nature," Spota added.

    More than 300 rifles, shotguns, handguns as well as ammunition were also found in the garage of Andersen's East Patchogue home, Spota said. That garage, he charged, was unlocked and accessible to anyone who wandered by, including children.

    Neighbors expressed surprise, despite the fact that boxes marked "ammunition" were clearly visible inside the garage from the street when reporters stopped at the home.

    "He always seemed like an upstanding member of the community to me," said neighbor Ted Woest.  "A nice guy, a family man."

    Andersen's attorney Richard Young declined comment and a woman ran from Andersen's home to her car without comment.

    Andersen is facing up to 25 years in prison, prosecutors said, but the DA could not elaborate on the scope of his illegal gun sales.

    "It doesn't take much, in my view, to deduce that something else was going on in that gun store," said Spota.

    Andersen was arrested late last year but the charges against him were not made public until now, prosecutors said, because it took weeks for experts to examine all the seized weapons.