Watertown city council candidate faced weapons charges, court records say

Watertown City Hall
Watertown City Hall(WWNY)
Published: Apr. 12, 2023 at 12:52 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - One of the candidates for Watertown city council was charged last year with several gun-related crimes.

Brian Watson of Flower Avenue East dropped out of the race after questions were raised about the signatures on his nominating petitions, but he says he still plans to run as a write-in candidate.

According to court records, Watertown city police charged Watson last year with criminal possession of a weapon, third degree, in connection with possession of an assault rifle; criminal possession of a weapon, third degree, in connection with a high-capacity ammunition clip; criminal possession of a weapon, third degree, for as ‘defaced weapon’; and criminal possession of a weapon, fourth degree.

In January, Watson pleaded guilty to third-degree attempted criminal possession of a weapon in connection with the defaced pistol, and was placed on interim probation for a year. If he successfully completes the probation, Watson will ‘earn a misdemeanor,’ according to Jefferson County District Attorney Kristyna Mills.

According to court documents, the weapons involved were an Anderson Arms semi-automatic rifle, a Jennings model J-22 pistol with the serial number filed off, an American Bulldog revolver, and 14 large-capacity ammunition feeding devices.

The documents said Watson did not have a valid New York state pistol permit.

Reached Wednesday morning, Watson said city police got involved when he was moving from one home to another, and had his guns out, when a water heater exploded. (Court papers say it was a furnace.) The city fire department responded, and firefighters notified the police.

Watson acknowledged Wednesday he is on probation, but insisted that he is not facing any charges.

He also said some of the weapons involved were antiques, though from the initial description from police, at least two of the weapons, the semi-automatic rifle, and the Jennings pistol, appeared to be modern guns. We reached out to Watson’s lawyer for additional comment.

There appears to be nothing in state election law that precludes Watson from running.