Board hopeful may be charged for gun sale ad
BROOKLINE - A candidate for selectman in Brookline who advertised a pistol for sale by posting a flier in his store window is facing possible indictment because he didn’t have a state license to advertise the sale of weapons, according to Assistant County Attorney Kent Smith. The case is against William A. Batte Jr., who owns and operates the Brookline Village Store and his wife, Janice. Batte was arrested Aug. 22 on charges he violated the state’s handgun laws by posting an advertisement for a Walther PPK/S pistol in the window of the store, according to court documents. Court documents do not specify whether Batte actually sold the pistol, but state law says a license is required even to advertise a sale. Batte declined to comment on the case Tuesday. Smith said in an interview Tuesday that he will seek an indictment from the next session of the Hillsborough County grand jury. The original complaint against Batte was dismissed Feb. 3 by a Hillsborough County Superior Court judge because no indictment had been brought within 90 days of the case moving up from district court, as is required by law. “We had hoped to work it out without an indictment,” Smith said, explaining why the case had been administratively dismissed. Smith said Batte wouldn’t agree to any plea bargain because he maintained his innocence. According to state law, advertising or selling a gun without a license is a Class B felony, punishable by 3½ to seven years in jail. That is the worst-case scenario and an unlikely punishment in Batte’s case, according to Smith. RSA 159:10, Sale Without License, says “Any person who, without being licensed as herein provided, sells, advertises or exposes for sale, or has in his possession with intent to sell, pistols or revolvers shall be guilty of a class B felony if a natural person, or guilty of a felony if other person.” The Telegraph checked the district court for records of all three candidates running for the open three-year seat on the Board of Selectmen. Batte was the only candidate with charges.