What Was Really Behind Nassau County’s Gun Store Raids?

12/8/11 EDIT: Here’s a recent update on the case.

Nassau County raided four Gun Shops in a $80,000 tax-payer funded sting operation on Wednesday. The owners and employees were arrested and charged with selling illegal “assault weapons” to undercover Nassau County investigators.

All of the owners insist that they were following the law. Martin Tretola, the owner of T&T Gunnery, was captured on undercover video demonstrating how to hypothetically alter a rifle by removing the pin to make a fixed stock collapsible, but he clearly explains that the weapon is “law enforcement only”, and added “you take that pin out, I’m telling you, you’re in trouble with this gun.” Tretola was charged with criminal sale of a firearm in the second degree, a class B Felony, and a misdemeanor charge of firearms licensing provisions. He faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

But there’s more to this story than most are reporting. In 2008, Martin Tretola filed a multimillion dollar lawsuit in federal court against Nassau County for violations of his constitutional rights. The County was unable to dismiss the lawsuit, and it is scheduled for trial soon. Right before the jury is selected is an awfully convenient time for another raid and arrest.

The History:

According to Tretola, in March 2006, Tretola received a telephone call from a Police Officer Faltings from the NCPD. Officer Faltings ordered Tretola to turn over possession of a particular firearm to a friend of Officer Faltings without the purchase documents for that particular weapon. Tretola denied Officer Falting’s request, at which point Officer Faltings allegedly responded “Do you know who I am? I am the head of the Pistol Licensing Bureau of Nassau County.”. Tretola responded in words or substance that “I do not care who you are or what you are. What you are asking of me is against the law and I will not do it.”

Shortly after the telephone conversation, the two men met in person at police headquarters. During the meeting, Officer Faltings stated “when I ask for something you need to do it”, and further stated that if Tretola didn’t do as he asked, he would strip Tretola of his license to sell firearms. Tretola refused.

On May 9, 2007, Officer Faltings and five police officers orchestrated a massive raid involving the Nassau County Fire Marshal, the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms and Tobacco (ATF), the Town of Hempstead Building Department, and the Nassau County Bomb Squad. The raid was conducted without a warrant, and was completely beyond the purview of the Nassau County Pistol Licensing Bureau. Despite the failure to discover illegal activity, the Nassau County Police seized many weapons, and Martin Tretola was arrested for Reckless Endangerment. All charges were later dismissed. Tretola’s seized inventory has not been returned.

Shortly after the charges were dismissed, Officer Faltings arbitrarily suspended Martin Tretola’s licenses, including his pistol license, dealer’s license,  and gunsmith license. His store was temporarily shut down, causing massive financial harm. Eventually, Tretola was able to restore his licenses, and he filed a multimillion dollar lawsuit against Nassau County.

Nassau County made several attempts to have the lawsuit dismissed, but were unsuccessful. In December 2010, the matter was marked ready for trial, and is currently awaiting a trial date. Jury selection will be scheduled soon.

More to come….


  1. Peter says

    Wow, talk about an abuse of power. If no one will go up against these thugs, they will continue to roll over people.

  2. Trev says

    This sounds like a witch hunt conducted by a corrupt Police Officer, and a DA eager to make a name for herself. Kathy Rice said that these weapons are not for hunting, and that they are for combat. She’s right, these weapons are to combat home invasion, combat someone who is trying to hurt you, and to combat a government that is trying to disarm its citizens through legislature, instead of force.

    Almost every fascist government started by disarming their citizens. Slowly but surely every firearm will become illegal, until we’re all running around with .22s, which will prevent us from defending ourselves, and our consitutional rights.

    Criminals do not care what is legal, and what is illegal. They will get/use whatever firearms they want. Gun control laws only hurt the law biding tax payer.

    Our governments are, slowly but surely, neutering the very essence from which this country was born.

  3. tionico says

    so what if those weapons seized were “illegal” to find in the hands of ordinary citizens? The guy’s a FFL Dealer, licensed to market them to authorised persons. I gather that LEO in the local area purchase such weapons for their departments? So, if they’re “illegal” for that licensed dealer to possess, they must also be illegal for those departments to possess….. interesing.

    Seems we have a gangsta type copper flexing his “imacop” muscles, threatening the poor sap behind the counter to “do the right thing” (what HE dirty copper wants) “or else we’ll send Guido around wid ‘is cement overchoes. Get the pictcha?”

  4. someothername says

    I’m trying to figure out the “hunting” relationship with “consent” in the third amendment.

    The relationship of “defense” and “consent” considering armed “soldiers/militia” in the third amendment isn’t too hard to figure out since we drafted the Third because we had just been forced to house and feed armed British soldiers without our “consent” so we drafted the third, and to insure real “consent” rather than “duress” we drafted the Second.

    So, what’s hunting got to do with anything?
    Even clay pigeons have a right to live.
    I don’t kill cute defenseless animals.
    I hate “Sports”

  5. someothername says

    If “assault weapons” means “military type weapons”
    Then each time there is an “assault” by one side and the “other side” uses the same “military weapon” for “defense”
    then aren’t half of the “assault weapons” really “defensive weapons?”

  6. someothername says

    Isn’t a “shorter weapon” better for “home defense” when going trough halls and doorways and turning corners?

    Limiting one’s means of self defense in a home by limiting the tool used makes as much sense as saying “you can defend yourself with a 4″ knife, but not a 7″ knife in your home … how do they know how fat the home invader will be?

    Ridiculous laws need repealing.

  7. Al says

    Kathleen Rice is making it sound like an AR. 15 with an adjustable stock is a “dangerous weapon” that only police should have. What most people don’t know and what won’t be reported, is that all these cosmetic limitations on military style rifles is just that…cosmetic. Remains of a failed assault rifle ban that most states have abandoned when expired. NY politicians chose to keep see stupid rules in place simply tom have more technicalities with which to harass us.

    Kathleen Rice should use taxpayer money to go after drug dealers and gangs on LI.

  8. Bill RAab says

    The rifles sold (the ones I saw listed in one of the charges) are clearly listed by the manufacturer as POST 94 AWB Compliant. I hope they ram this one down her throat, and she is fired and possibly charged. This also happened right in the middle of LabGate. What better way to deflect unwanted attention of your massive screwups, and possibly impair a litigants ability to bring a case against the County. This thing stinks like a week old carp!

  9. Paddy says

    It is disgusting what this nitwit of a DA is doing. It’s nothing more than “legalized” harassment. I can’t remember the last time I was this mad!!!

    Our murder rate is skyrocketing. MS13, the Latin Kings, Bloods and Crips have taken over running several neighborhoods and towns, heroin is flooding into our grade schools and junior highs, we have an active serial killer… but Nassau has to spend 80 large arresting people for pinning collapsible stocks while NIFA is trying to get the mismanagement, waste and fraud in the county’s spending under control.
    What Rice is saying that the rifles they were selling had pinned stocks and since you could remove the pin with some time and effort they were illegal. Even a standard A2 stock can be replaced with an M4 type in 15 min with a screwdriver and a combo tool. Better go bury my AWB compliant AR15A2 pretty ricky-tick before the DA spends another 100 large investigating me.

    • BigMike says

      Excellent point, why aren’t the intrepid crime fighters, the Nassau County PD, taking down the MS 13, Latin Kings, Bloods and Crips???

      Also of interest is how this seems to hinge on the refusal of the businessman to comply and follow an illegal “verbal” order given by an Officer of the law…hmmm, wonder what might have happened if he had complied with the illegal direction???

  10. BlackPowderBill says

    Thank you for the look back in history. We are bombarded with so much anti firearms bias that we forget with in hours what the last injustice was.
    Bill Brookover
    President NYS Muzzle Loaders assn.
    SCOPE State Director

  11. george baldwin says

    This article reads like a hollywood script…suspect it’s about as real. Wonder what the other side of the story is?

    • Bill Raab says

      The other side of the story is…..nothing! This whole thing was concocted to prevent Marty from being able to continue his suit against the County. This just in! Award of 5 Million to Marty as Nassau LOST the latest suit. Nassau residents- Demand the firing or resignation of this showboating DA who wnated to do all of this as she aspires to higher office. Rumor has it she threw an absolute fit when not picked to run for NYS AG, the job she really wants.

  12. says

    Wow. Is this Russia?
    “Officer Faltings ordered Tretola to turn over possession of a particular firearm to a friend of Officer Faltings without the purchase documents for that particular weapon. Tretola denied Officer Falting’s request”
    He did what is required under Federal Firearms Dealer Laws, no local or State cop can legally tell you to ignore Federal Law!

    “Tretola’s seized inventory has not been returned”
    Mr. Tretola’s should call the ATF about this, they are illegally holding firearms that in essence were stolen from his federally licensed gun shop (which is a Federal Crime) and the ATF should look into it.

    I used to own a Gun Shop, and if weapons were found missing or stolen you were supposed to contact the ATF and Local Authorities, since the local authorities are the ones who have taken his weapons the ATF should be called.

  13. KennyK says

    Yeah? What’s so amazing about this?

    We’ve grown up with this type of behavior from anyone and everyone that’s ever been in charge of us, from kindergarten to trying to be a soldier!

    The only place in America you don’t see this type of behavior is among the Amish.

    How is this story so fascinating considering the fact that this is and has always been the way ALL government; the local, state and federal government carries out the enforcing of laws that we vote from bill to supreme?

  14. Keith says

    HOLY CRAP!!!

    I had been planning on visiting a friend and his family in the State of New York, though I’ve never been to that part of the country I understand it is beautiful. I can say without any equivocation, now, that I will regretfully decline his invitation and my wife and I will be traveling in areas much less hostile to the civil liberities of citizens. If this is how your own citizens are maltreated I can only imagine that, as a Texan, we would probably not get very far into the state before being arrested and charged with being conservative or something.

    Too bad … I wanted to see the Northeast.

  15. Darrion says

    Hey Keith, come up to Pennsylvania, not only are we allowed to own Auto-loading rifles, we recip with your carry permit ! NY, NJ, CA, MA, are all fine examples of liberal states, I won’t go anywhere that I am not allowed to defend myself, my property, or my family. Always remember “ASSAULT” is an action, not a gun style, don’t let the liberal media influence your perspective on auto-loading, or semi-auto firearms ! We don’t call it an assault punch, or an assault baseball bat, do we

  16. Joe L says

    I must start off by saying the fact NYS still honors the AWB is crazy, it should have taken out of local law after the expiration of the federal AWB of 1994. Why was the AWB of 1994 never reinstated, it’s bc the law did not prevent gun crime rather it had the potential to make a criminal of a law abiding citizen. Aside from that this whole situation makes me and the rest of the shooting community feel so violated and after hearing the background of the story it just goes to show how corrupt Nassau county is. I am a regular at south shore sportsman, hunter and have dealt with hank at T&T for years. These guys are straight shooters.. pun intended. What makes me more concerned is the media’s bias in this situation making an AR-15 sound like a machine gun when we a clearly talking about semi-auto firearms. Though they never said full auto they are spoon feeding an ignorant community with terms like “Full blown assault weapon” and “these guns are combat purpose weapons which are to be only possessed by military and law enforcement” making knowledgeable citizens believe these guns are something more then what they are- tactical defense weapons. As said in other posts the modifications in question are “cosmetic” and in no way effect the overall performance of the weapons. Rice said in her press conference “These guns are dangerous and have no place in the hands of children or in our communities”…. WOW. Ms.Rice…. All guns are dangerous in the wrong hands whether they be for hunting or sport…. and in the hands of our children! NO Gun should be in the hands of our children, and that is a whole other issue! Furthermore i contacted news 12 li and channel 7 several time to inform them of some of the misinformation provided in their coverage and to give the community a chance to know the real difference between Complaint and non-compliant arms in question.. no response. I’m gonna stop typing before my blood pressure shoots threw the roof and i have a heart attack and die! Good day!

  17. Cliff says

    Dear Joe L,

    Re: “NO Gun should be in the hands of our children, and that is a whole other issue.”

    I wholeheartedly disagree.

    The problem is that our society shields children from everything “gun” and has created a mysterious aura, taboo, and irresistible curiosity and temptation for our children. Our kids have no clue except what they see in cartoons, video games and movies.

    What we really need is to re-institute marksmanship training and competition in the public schools like we had post WWII through the 1960′s. Believe it or not, we had indoor ranges in the basements of Long Island public schools with extramural competitions.

    Familiarity breeds competence and respect for the awesome power of the firearm. We now have a couple of generations of Americans that have not only been shortchanged educationally and in the American Experience, but also are ignorant and easily manipulated by the insidious propaganda wielding destroyers of Liberty.

    So, NO to your suggestion that children should NOT have experience with guns. On the contrary, they should be required to understand and train with them. Thank you.

    With Liberty and Free $peech?,

  18. Joe L says

    agreed. what i said was in refrence to the context in which kathy rice used it during her press conference. My to son to be who will be born June of this year already is the proud owner of a .22 lr. … the context in which i was using it is that a child is to posses an ar-15 with out supervision…. and when my son get shooting, obviously it will be supervised until he has reached a proper responsible age, how ever old that may be. PEOPLE, GUN EDUCATION PREVENTS GUN CRIME AND GUN ACCIDENTS!

  19. Joe L says

    And to add just one more thing.. my father worked for island tree school district for years and i remember they use to have a rifle range in their basement. as far as i know all such programs locally have been removed from curriculum. Reinstating such a marksmanship program in jr. hs and hs locally would def be a positive thing. For my own tastes however i am sick and tired of Long island and my wife and i are going to be relocating to PA for many reasons, gun laws being one of them, lack of corruption being another. o yea and taxes.. rape us on taxes and strip us of our guns.

  20. Frank DeTomasso says

    Five gun dealers were arrested by the Gun Unit of the NYS Police, with no help from any unit of the Nassau County Police Dept. This arrest could have caused the Pistol License Section of the Nassau County Police Dept. to suspend the five gun dealer licenses and shut down the five gun dealer stores…but they didn’t. If the Pistol License Section was so biased against any one of these gun dealers, then this would have been the perfect opportunity to suspend their gun dealer license and legally shut them down. The five gun dealers licenses remain valid and the five gun dealer stores remain open, and I am sure that they are thankful.

  21. Cliff says

    Dear Joe L,

    Good luck in Pennsylania!

    The excuse for closing the public school ranges was lead abatement. Sure… (If you believe that, I’ve got a bridge to sell you. Thank you.

    With Liberty and Free $peech?,

  22. Joe L says

    I have herd the lead abatement claim from my dad as to why they shut down the in school ranges. According to him the district mearly ended the program and did not tend to the lead removal and most of the .22 lr lead balls where still there as of 2005.. As you said that may be their “reason” for ending such programs but I’m sure it was just more liberal non-sense effecting our youth’s right to firearm education in public schools. So lead concerns being the actual cause of the programs ending is not likely… If they where so concerned they would have had the lead removed right?

  23. ozona4me says

    i don’t know what y’all are complaining about. we must all pitch in and sacrifice in order to cooperate with our brave security forces, who after all are only there for our own protection! we can NEVER give these highly-paid, lavishly-pensioned heroes enough respect or servility as they put their lives on the line *every day* for us, although not so much as to make copping anywhere near as dangerous a job as being a cabbie or a convenience-store clerk or an alaskan fisherman.

    but still. tretola’s arrogant attitude in refusing “officer” faltings grossly illegal request is enough to make him an enemy of the state, can’t you see? so really, he DESERVED these illegal and obviously retaliatory raids! if a mere civilian is allowed to refuse a cop’s request merely because it’s illegal, what’ll be next? murder? anarchy in the streets? citizens viciously videotaping cops shake down hookers or picking up their envelopes from fat tony and greasy thumb???

  24. J.Spagnola says

    Why was the ATF involved on a raid enforcing NYAWB statutes? Were those “Possible” folding stock rifles extra dangerous?

  25. terry rohan says

    people in NY and Long Island are scared to step out of line.you can’t even have a plastic frame around your license plate on your car. What happened NY? It all started with Rockefeller’s drug laws of the early 70′s. It put the fear into the average joe, more that the son of sam.
    WTF, in nassau county, you gotta be crazy to stay there, with all those proprty taxes, and corrupt politicians like Charles Schumer and that whack job carolyn mccarthy, with her brain dead son and real dead husband.
    I got out of there back in ’74, and let me tell you, if somebody did this back then, I would put this pigs name in an envelope and send it to sinn fein, and let them know what a piece of pooh is strong arming the average joe, trying to make a living, helping honest people defend themselves. They tried to scandalize Leslie Edlemanns out on rt 110 for that stuffback in the 70′s, and it ended real quick

  26. nevergiveup says

    It is my opinion that Kathleen Rice and the county officials whe orchastrated the naziesque coup are corrupt governmental officials who are violating the constitutional right of Nassau county gun owners. She should be removed from office!!!! As always, the best way to take down a dirty cop or corrupt govenment official is through a civil law suit and exposing their dirty laundry. I’d bet a milllion bucks that someone somewhere has dirt on her and it’s just a matter of time before the “dirt” surfaces. The defendants in this case need to hire a private detective to find that dirt and expose her for what she is! Find an old boy friend, lover, or college friend and you’ll find the dirt!!!! Go after her full force through a civil law suit!!!! Protest in town and in front of the DA’s office!!! You will get results!!!!

  27. Tionico says

    Terry Rohan, not quite.. it started back in the days of Sullivan, early 1900′s, with the first gun control laws in the nation… his “boys” didn’t like the fact that “their boys” had guns, so their boss outlawed them. 1911 or ao, if memory serves. Actually, these Nassau COunty goons seem more like the British Customs Officers of Colonial times… the ones with unlimited search, seizure, and arrest powers. The REAL reason behind the first, oh, say, five, Ammendments, now called the Bill of Rights. Same thing should happen to these Nassau goons happened to His Majesty’s agents….

  28. Rachel says

    I was in the jury pool this week for this case in federal court in Central Islip. I am happy I was not picked for the panel voire dire because I would have had to either excuse myself for bias or not say anything controversial and sit on jury and adamantly vote for the plaintiff. I had made up my mind – this was a definite abuse of power on the part of the NCPD. Mr Tretola was being punished for following the law. It’s really disgraceful. I hope he wins.

    • Bill Raab says

      Yup, Federal jury rendered a verdict for Marty (T&T Gunnery owner) on ALL causes of action. Nassau County lost big time. I’m guessing it won’t be in Newsday though.

      Of course the county moved right away to set aside the jury verdict, and there’s a briefing schedule set out to the end of November. So we’ll see how it wraps up. But it didn’t take the jury long at all to bring back the verdict. This will cost the taxpayers of Nassau County a lot of money.

      Time for letters to Mangano, Newsday and everywhere else we can think of about why this woman was allowed to break the law under color of authority and ultimately cost Nassau County 5 Mil it does not have

  29. Peter says

    Im so glad that a gun shop finally got justice from these county scumbags. No one will ever take our rights to own guns. LIBERALISM IS A MENTAL DISORDER. All these county assholes belong behind bars.

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