GREENE – Earlier this month, a jury convicted a Village of Greene gun shop owner of threatening to kill his brother while aiming an AK-47 assault rifle at him. Local officials say he’ll most likely be allowed to keep his firearms and continue selling guns from his mobile home business.
On Aug. 6, 2009, 49-year-old Wayne Cook Jr. was arrested on menacing charges in Greene over an incident that allegedly took place three weeks earlier.
Greene Police Chief Steven Dutcher said his department arrested Cook at his 12 Water St.. address after they received a complaint he had pointed an AK-47 assault rifle at another person during a verbal dispute on the defendant’s back porch.
Dutcher said Cook has been a federally-registered gun dealer since July 2008 and a gun collector for about three decades.
Following the arrest, Cook filed a notice of claim against the Village of Greene and the Police Department claiming his rights were violated and cited police bias. However, the lawsuit never moved forward and was dismissed after Cook failed to show up for a civil hearing on the matter in county court, according to Dutcher.
The criminal case went before a jury May 8 in a Saturday trial that lasted over 13 hours. A six person jury returned a verdict of guilty on the charge of second degree menacing at around 10:45 p.m. after more than two and a half hours of deliberation.
Cook owns and operates Cook & Son Fine Guns from his residence and law enforcement officials said Wednesday he would be allowed to maintain his business despite the misdemeanor conviction.
“New York State requires a felony conviction to remove someone’s right to firearms. That was never even an issue or a concern for us; it’s not in our control and it was never our goal at anytime to remove the defendant’s weapons over a misdemeanor unless the law dictates otherwise,” said the prosecutor in the case, Assistant District Attorney Michael Ferrarese. “It’s been our position though that since the initial arrest by the Greene PD this was a lawful arrest and this case was not treated any differently than any other menacing case that would come into our office.”