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Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Charges against a Town of Lockport man accused of violating New York's SAFE Act were thrown out Wednesday by Lockport City Court Judge William Watson.

Paul A. Wojdan was charged under the provision of the law which prohibits a gun magazine from having more than seven bullets loaded into it.

Judge Watson ruled that on Oct. 12, when Officer Daniel Barrancotta counted the bullets in the magazine, he did so in violation of Wojdan's Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable search and seizure.

During a traffic stop, Wojdan had told Lt. Adam Piedmont that he had a gun in its holster in the glove compartment of his vehicle. Wojdan also had a permit for the 9 mm Ruger.

Piedmont asked Barancotta to "make the gun safe," by which he meant for Barancotta to remove the magazine. When Barancotta did so, he says he noticed through "observation holes" in the magazine that there were 10 rounds loaded, more than the seven-round limit under the SAFE Act.

Watson, however, ruled that Barancotta should not have checked for the number of bullets in the magazine.

The case is not yet over, though. Wojdan says he wants his confiscated guns returned to him. After Wojdan's arrest, Niagara County Sheriff’s Office confiscated all of the guns listed on his pistol permit. His attorney said he will file a motion with Niagara County Judge Matthew J. Murphy III for their return.

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