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Man Impersonated Cop, Kidnapped Exotic Dancer: Police


State police have charged a Massachusetts man with impersonating an officer and kidnapping an exotic dancer.

Aerin Reardon, 21, a student at Westfield state University in Massachusetts, was arrested Sunday morning.  He is a Resident Assistant at the school, according to his LinkedIn page.

According to police, Reardon answered a Craigslist post by the victim and her boyfriend, offering her services as an exotic dancer at parties. Reardon arrived at a residence on Main Street in Somers and forcibly forced the 31-year-old woman into his car, police said. He drove her to a parking lot in Enfield and threatened to arrest her if she didn't cooperate, according to police.

The woman's boyfriend called 911 around 6 a.m. to report his girlfriend had been kidnapped.

While troopers were interviewing the boyfriend, Reardon returned to the residence in Somers with the woman. Police took Reardon into custody.

The victim was taken to Johnson Memorial Hospital to be examined.

Reardon is charged with first-degree kidnapping, impersonating a police officer and fourth-degree sexual assault. He is scheduled to be in court Monday morning.

Photo Credit: AP

Meriden Police Officer Sentenced to 14 Months


A former Meriden police officer was sentenced to two years in prison on charges of using unreasonable force against a handcuffed man and lying about it in a report.

Evan Cossette, the son of police Chief Jeffry Cossette, was sentenced Monday in federal court New Haven.  The judge also sentenced Cossette to one year of supervised release.

Prosecutors had urged the judge to sentence him within the guidelines range of 27 to 33 months. Cossette's attorney asked for home confinement and community service.

Surveillance video played during the trial showed Cossette pushing Pedro Temich into a jail cell in 2010. Temich fell and hit his head on a concrete bench, causing a 12-centimeter gash and knocking Temich unconscious, according to prosecutors.

"A prison term is appropriate for any police officer who inflicts injury on a restrained and compliant victim and then attempts to obstruct the ensuing investigation," said Deirdre Daly, Acting U.S. Attorney from Connecticut.

Cossette testified he didn't intend to injure Temich. He said he thought Temich was about to head-butt him when he pushed him and was surprised he fell.

Cossette's attorney said his client is not the person who was portrayed during court proceedings.

"He would never intentionally harm someone.  The video paints a different picture,' Ray Hassett said outside court.  "But it's a five-second sound bite or video of an individual's actions and reactions as a police officer, but that's not indicative of who Evan Cossette is."

Cossette is scheduled to begin serving his sentence on December 3.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Bill Clinton on Letterman: No Idea About Hillary's 2016 Run


Former President Bill Clinton admitted to David Letterman Monday night that he doesn't know whether his wife, Hillary Clinton, is planning a run for the White House in 2016.

"There's a lot of stuff out there," Clinton said, telling Letterman that the former secretary of state is still finishing her book and setting up a new project initiative.

But most of all, the former president said he and his wife are having a lot of fun, going to movies and for walks in the time since she stepped down as secretary of state in February.

"At our age, that counts for something – being able to have a little fun," Clinton said.

It's the first time in years that both of the Clintons do not hold elected office, have time to focus on pet project and not being in the limelight. Last spring, they joined forces along with their daughter, Chelsea, to forge a partnership in the Clinton Global Initiative.

The non-profit foundation is in New York City for its annual meeting this week, with President Barack Obama joining forces with Bill Clinton for a discussion about the benefits and future of health care reform in America and health care access across the world on Tuesday.

During his talk with Letterman, Clinton spoke of some of the CGI initiatives concerning global health including getting people access to clean drinking water.

"I get to deal with a lot of these things that are ignored," he said.   

As for his wife's rumored 2016 presidential run, Clinton said he doesn't know, nor does his daughter. But he asked that instead of focusing on who the next president might be – with nearly three years until the next election – the nation should consider focusing on fixing the nation's current problems.

"We should focus on these big challenges now and try to get this country back on track," he said.

Photo Credit: AP

For Medicare Recipients, Online Exchanges Don't Apply


Seniors and the disabled, who are signed up for Medicare and concerned about the start of online health exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act, will not have too much to worry about once the law goes into effect. However, the law does make some changes Medicare beneficiaries should know about. 

Seniors on Medicare Do Not Need to Apply in Affordable Care Act's Online Exchanges (Kaiser Health News)

  • The nearly 50 million elderly and disabled Americans enrolled in Medicare will not have to enroll in the online health exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act. Medicare is not part of the health insurance exchanges.
  • Medicare beneficiaries will receive more preventive care services, which include a yearly "wellness" visit, mammograms, colorectal screening and more savings on prescription drug coverage.
  • The Affordable Care Act cuts the expected growth of Medicare spending by about $716 billion over the next decade.
  • Medicare beneficiaries who earn more than $85,000 ($170,000 for a couple) will have to pay more for their Medicare Part B premiums, which cover physician and outpatient services. That scale will also apply for to prescription drug coverage.

Analysis: Benefit firms create tremors for insurers in U.S. healthcare shakeup (Reuters)

  • American companies are moving a rapidly growing number of employees on privately run online exchanges for their medical coverage.
  • Health insurance companies and pharmacy benefit managers who once had a more direct relationship with employers could lose out to the new marketplaces.
  • The new exchanges received a big boost when Aon Plc insurance broker said Wednesday that it had signed up 18 companies to participate in its health exchange, which includes the largest drug store operator, Walgreen Co. That would result in the coverage for an estimated 600,000 people.
  • Corporations hope the move to the new private exchanges will keep healthcare spending in check and force their employees to manage more of their own healthcare costs.


Photo Credit: AP

State Will Not Get Involved in Groton Fire Dispute


The state will not get involved in a heated labor and financial dispute going on in the Groton Fire District. 

The state board of labor relations ordered the fire district to honor a 10-year contract with firefighters, which includes a 3 percent annual raise and other benefits, according to the Day of New London.

As the district comes near the end of an imposed 30-day waiting period, the board chairman has reached out to the state Office of Policy and Management as well at the attorney general, saying the district is having a fiscal crisis and needs assistance, according to the Day.

A spokesman for the office of policy and management said the state would not get involved in the labor dispute.

Fire district officials were told they'd need approval from Gov. Dannel Malloy to claim bankruptcy and no governor has given permission since 1993, when the current law was enacted.

Soldier Surprises Daughters in Southington


A soldier from Southington had the surprise of a lifetime for his daughter and step-daughter on Monday.

Staff Sgt. Mike Howe returned home from a tour of duty overseas and surpised the girls at their schools. He first stopped at Southington High School and walked into his step-daughter Jasmyne's class.

It was then on to Flanders Elementary School to spring the surprise on his daughter, Madison, in her third-grade class.

"Daddy," Madison yelled as Howe walked in.

"I didn't want him to leave because I love him so much," she said.

Howe has served four tours of duty overseas, including two in Iraq. He returned Monday from 11 months in the Horn of Africa.

"I'm just so happy I got the chance to do this surprise and made it home safely, and looking forward to resuming my role as Dad again," Howe said.

Howe's wife, Izabella, reached out to the principals at both schools to set up the surprises.

"They did a fantastic job with it. All we had to do was show up," she said.

Chilling Details Released in Deaths of Christina, Ethan Anderson


The mother of 16-year-old kidnapping victim Hannah Anderson was bludgeoned in the head at least a dozen times, bound and gagged before officials found her body and the charred remains of her 8-year-old son at a family friend's San Diego-area home last month, according to a medical examiner's report.

Christina and Ethan Anderson were found dead at the Boulevard home of James DiMaggio last August, setting off a six-state manhunt for DiMaggio, who was accused of abducting Hannah. FBI agents killed DiMaggio, 40, after locating the pair in the Idaho backcountry six days after the initial discovery and brought Hannah home safely.

The San Diego County Medical Examiner report indicated Christina Anderson, 44, was found bound with zip ties around her wrists and ankles and gagged.

In addition, she had a fractured skull and cuts and swelling on her face and scalp. She had been hit with a blunt object at least 12 times, according to the report.

Ethan's body was so badly burned it took days to identify him. According to the examiner's report, his identity could only be established through a DNA comparison.

Ethan's remains showed fractures to his skull, ribs, legs and arms. Investigators have not determined whether that was caused by the injuries or the heat of the fire.

The 8-year-old's body was found a day after his mother's in the charred remains of James DiMaggio's home.

Christina Anderson's body was found under a green tarp in the garage. Investigators believed that both were tortured before they were killed, according to search warrants.

The family dog was also found in the garage. The examiner's report said the dog was shot and killed.

Timeline: The Search for Hannah Anderson

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Alan McNabb

Motorcyclist Killed After Hitting Deer in Willington


A motorcyclist from Willington died this morning after hitting a deer on Potter School Road, according to police.

Fifty-eight-year-old Kemp B. Stewart of 79 Potter School Road in Willington died just down the street from his home when a deer ran out from the woods and into the road in front of his motorcycle, police said.

Police said Stewart's motorcycle swerved off the road and up an embankment, crashing into saplings and brush.

It happened just before 7 a.m. in the area of 40 Potter School Road, according to state police. 

Police said Stewart was wearing a helmet.

The road was closed this morning. Police are still investigating the crash.

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Photo Credit: Google Maps

Fire at Hartford Apartment Building Out


Firefighters have extinguished a fire at an apartment building on Main Street in Hartford this morning.

Fire broke out at 2431 Main Street this morning and Nelson Street was blocked off.

No information was available on whether anyone was injured.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Kerry, Albright Debut Social Media Accounts


It looks like the old guard is getting in on the new media action.

Madeleine Albright sent out her very first tweet on Monday from a brand new Twitter account. The pithy message was accompanied by a diptych: one photo shows Albright typing on her mobile device and the other photo shows off a colorful Twitter pin to mark the occasion.

"First of 3 female Sec State's - last to join Twitter. Better late than never!" the tweet reads.

The former Secretary of State is known for the shiny decorative pins she wore with her suits. Her famous collection even inspired the book "Read My Pins: Stories from a Diplomat's Jewel Box."


Under her @madeleine handle, Albright describes herself as a "Grateful American Czech immigrant, mother & grandmother, fmr SecState, passionate democrat, author, prof, bizwoman, pin collector, & occasional drummer."

On the same day, the State Department launched its own Instagram account with current Secretary of State John Kerry appearing in the first video post.

"Finally, the State Department is on Instagram and we hope you will follow us around the world," Kerry said. The Instagram launch coincides with Kerry's participation at the U.N. General Assembly meeting in New York City.

The agency currently has a Facebook, Flickr, Google+, Tumblr and Twitter presence, all of which "serve as a conduit for the U.S. Department of State to inform and engage publics around the world on foreign policy issues," according to the department's press release.


Check out John Kerry in the first video post below:


Photo Credit: AP

Teacher Charged With Sexual Assault Due in Court


A New Haven special education teacher accused of sexually assaulting three students at the MicroSociety Magnet School during the 2011-to-2012 school year will be in court today.

New Haven public schools special education teacher Robert Schmitt, 48, of Hamden, turned himself in following a months-long investigation into the alleged sexual assault of three magnet school students under the age of 13, authorities said.

According to police, the investigation into the first incident began in April, when a social worker contacted police after speaking with the 12-year-old victim.

The school principal and the state Department of Children and Families were also notified, and Schmitt was escorted from school grounds.

He was suspended and has not been back inside the building since. The school system is now taking action to terminate Schmitt’s employment, police said.

A second incident was reported in May when the father of a 14-year-old girl called school officials, authorities said.

The second victim told authorities that Schmitt touched her inappropriately while they were alone in his office with the door closed. She told investigators that she had also seen Schmitt touch the first victim, according to a warrant for Schmitt's arrest.

According to the warrant, the second victim has been diagnosed with an intellectual disability.

Days later after the second assault was reported, detectives met with a third victim, a 12-year-old boy, police said.

A MicroSociety school social worker described Schmitt as "quirky" and said he lacked social skills. School principal Rosalyn Bannon Bannon said she thought Schmitt might be mentally ill, according to the warrant.

Bannon said she moved Schmitt out of the private office after taking over as principal in 2012 because she "did not want the children to feel isolated." She said Schmitt "was very upset and pleaded several times" to keep his office, according to the warrant.

Schmitt was charged with two counts of fourth-degree sexual assault, two counts of risk of injury to a child and one count of third-degree assault.

New Haven school superintendent Garth Harries released the following statement after Schmitt’s arrest:

“The safety and wellbeing of our students must be the absolute top priority for the school district and our staff. Children should feel safe in school and parents should feel safe sending their children to school. We work hard every day to maintain safety and wellbeing and we act immediately to investigate any concerns brought to our attention. In this case the principal acted immediately to remove the teacher once allegations were made. We reported the incident, cooperated fully with DCF and police and are moving forward with termination proceedings.”

MicroSociety is a public magnet school for students in grades Pre-K through eight. It’s located at 311 Valley Street in New Haven.

Photo Credit: New Haven Police Department

Paralyzed Skateboarder Wants to Ride in LA Marathon


Jesse Swalley has been training hard for the LA Marathon, going at least 5 miles a day.

He propels himself using his arms and hands with converted “shoves” -- half gloves, half shoes -- to protect his hands from the blistering streets of the northeast San Fernando Valley.

His mode of transportation? A skateboard.

Swalley is paralyzed in his left leg, but he’s not going to let that stop him from trying to ride his board in the LA Marathon in March.

“I expect to be in the Marathon,” he said. “I expect it’s gonna happen.”

Swalley, 51, of Sylmar, has an uphill battle.

“This is an unusual situation,” said Richard Traum, the president and founder of Achilles International, which helps athletes with disabilities and is working with Swalley. “Ultimately it’s the decision of the Los Angeles Marathon. It’s not our decision. The issue is ultimately safety.”

Marathon officials said they are open to working with Achilles and Swalley to try to accommodate his participation, “as we do with other athletes, with equipment that meets our safety standards.”

Guidelines set by USA Track and Field say such events are limited to foot races, approved racing wheelchairs and "does not include other methods of wheeled transportation such as roller blades, bicycles, etc.,” Jason Greenwald, an LA Marathon spokesman, said in a statement.

But Swalley is undeterred.

He’ll continue to ride his board along the relatively flat Foothill Boulevard and practice working his cardio at a skatepark.

“I used to run a lot,” said Swalley, who was paralyzed in 1991 when he was stabbed trying to prevent two men from robbing another man at a restaurant in Carpinteria, Calif.

The knife cut his spinal cord, leaving him partially paralyzed.

He spent months in a wheelchair and eventually started using arm braces.

Now he gets around on a board.

His main sponsor is Green Earth Collective, but his biggest supporters are his 22-year-old daughter, his longtime girlfriend and local skaters.

He took up skateboarding on June 26, 2011 -- 20 years to the day he was stabbed.

He recently took part in the Guinness Book of World Record “World's Largest Skate Parade” in which nearly 500 people skated 2 miles around LA’s Venice High School. He did 22 miles on his skateboard in an all-skate marathon in San Diego last year.

He hopes that his push to get into his hometown Marathon will inspire others like him to be active.

“Maybe it’ll get other people to move around a little more,” he said. 

More Southern California Stories:

Photo Credit: Andy Holzman/Los Angeles Daily News

Moose Spotted at New Milford Hospital


A moose was on the loose in New Milford this morning.

Photo Credit: Lt. Ash, New Milford Police

Car Strikes Greenwich Whole Foods


There is a small amount of damage to Whole Foods in Greenwich after a car struck the supermarket.

A car struck the supermarket at 90 East Putnam Avenue before 8 a.m. on Tuesday.

No additional information was available.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Tourist Who Lost Leg in Midtown Crash Recalls Taxi Barreling Toward Her: "I Couldn't Move"


The British tourist who lost her leg after she was hit by a taxi that jumped a curb near Rockefeller Center last month says she vividly remembers her day leading up to the accident -- visiting Times Square, stopping for a drink and exploring the city for the first time with her best friend -- and the moment before she was hit.

"I couldn't move. If I had gone left, it would've hit me. If I'd gone right, it would've hit me," Sian Green, 23, tells the "Today" show in her first interview since she lost her leg in the accident five weeks ago.

Green had just arrived in New York for vacation and was walking with her friend on Sixth Avenue at 49th Street Aug. 20 when a yellow cab hit her.

The cab driver accepted a 30-day license suspension after the wreck, but says the crash was not his fault. An angry bike messenger banged on his car, he told authorities, which startled him into hitting his gas pedal and running up on the curb.

Green says she and her friend heard the argument between the cab driver and the bicyclist. Then she saw the yellow cab barreling toward her. She was pinned to the sidewalk in the collision, and her left leg was severed. A plumber used his belt as a tourniquet, but doctors were not able to save the limb.

Green, who has spent more than a month at Bellevue Hospital, started rehabilitation for her injuries about three weeks ago. Her live "Today" appearance marked her first time out of the hospital since the crash.

Seated in the studio, just a block from the accident that changed her life, Green told Matt Lauer it's unnerving to be around the busy streets of midtown. Seeing a yellow car makes her anxious, she said.

"We came here thinking we were coming on holiday, and it's been a whirlwind. It's turned upside down," Green said. "I've got to adjust to everything. I'm having to learn how to walk again."

The accident plays on her mind often, Green added. But she churns all the frustration -- about the crash, about being so far from home -- into momentum toward rehabilitation and adapting to her new body.

Though the young woman faces a long road to recovery, she remains optimistic -- and she thanks the plumber who used his belt to stem her bleeding and the other bystanders who came to her aid.

"They saved my life," Green said. "If it weren't for them, I wouldn't be here right now."

The city said Tuesday that the driver who hit Green may have been flagged for violations prior to the crash if not for a computer glitch. She says it's crucial the city -- and any cities with dense vehicle traffic and pedestrian-packed sidewalks -- review safety procedures and develop improvements.

"Look what can happen if you don't take your time on the roads. If you're feeling a little bit flustered, take a minute, because it's people's lives that you're messing with," Green said.

As for having to learn to use a prosthesis, she says, "It's just one of the things that I'm going to have to live with -- because a taxi driver lost his temper."

The Manhattan district attorney's office has been investigating the crash. Green’s attorney has said they would wait until after that investigation is complete before any other legal decisions would be made. 

Meanwhile, the cab driver who hit Green and the Federation of Taxi Drivers have raised thousands of dollars for a fund to help with her recovery.

Green says that she plans to return home to England as soon as she is able and return to school to finish earning her fashion degree. Once she gets her prosthesis, she plans to get back to work.

As for whether she'll ever visit New York City again, Green says she believes she will.

"I'll probably have the courage to come back one day. It's a beautiful city. I'm not blaming the city; it's just a mistake that somebody made," she said. "I'd love to come back one day and finish my holiday."

Photo Credit: "Today" Show/NBC 4 New York

Transgender Student Loses Battle to Be Put on Pa. School Homecoming King Ballot


A transgender Pennsylvania teen will not be allowed to run for homecoming king following a school board's decision not to weigh in on his dispute with the school.

"Honestly, I was again disappointed by the board. By not making a decision, they're sweeping this problem under the rug," Kasey Caron told NBC10.com.

Caron, a senior at Richland High School in Johnstown, Pa., was told he could not be put on the ballot for homecoming king because his gender was listed as female on his driver's license. The 17-year-old identifies as male and plans to undergo gender reassignment surgery in the future.

When the high school administration denied Caron's request, he appealed to the school board. Caron argued that his driver's license had since been changed to reflect his identifying gender.

During a meeting Monday evening, the Richland School Board decided not to take up the appeal and deferred to the earlier decision by school administration.

The teen said he was told by the board that while the sex on his driver's license had been changed, his birth certificate, which is legally binding, still listed him as a female.

"Another transgender kid is going to come through this school again one day and there will be no precedent set for their case, and they will have to fight the same battle," Caron said.

The board said they would meet again to discuss the issue, but gave no time frame, according to Caron. He says the next scheduled school board meeting is set for October 7 -- two days after the high school's homecoming game on October 5.

Requests for comment from school officials were not immediately returned.

Caron was voted onto the homecoming court by his peers, but due to the decision, will appear on the ballot for homecoming queen.

"I still plan on attending, and if I happen to win queen, then I will just have to make the best of it," Caron said adding that he feels the homecoming vote is simply a popularity contest.

"The reason I fought this so hard, is for the simple fact that it's my right to run for king as much as it is anyone else's," he said. "It shouldn't even really be a fight."

This dispute is similar to another earlier this year in the Red Lion Area School District in York County.
In that case, a transgender student wanted his male name announced at graduation.

That student was allowed to wear a boy's-style black graduation gown, but school officials issued a diploma in his female birth name and announced his birth name because the diploma is a legal document.

While the homecoming fight may be over, Caron is still waiting to hear how they'll decide on three other LGBT related issues.

He's asked to be sat on the male side of the stage during graduation in the spring and be allowed to wear blue graduation garb, which is provided to male graduates.

Caron is also seeking the creation of a Gay-Straight Alliance at the high school and has asked that gender identity be added to the school's anti-discrimination policy.

"Just because I can't win this doesn't mean that it's over. We lost this battle, but there are plenty left for me to fight and I'm not backing down anytime soon," he said.

Contact Vince Lattanzio at 610.668.5532, vince.lattanzio@nbcuni.com or follow @VinceLattanzio on Twitter.

Photo Credit: Kasey Caron

St. Mary’s Hospital Phone Problems Resolved


St. Mary’s Hospital in Waterbury was experiencing a problem with its phone system today, but it has been resolved.

People were not able to dial in or out of the hospital, but AT&T has resolved the problme.

The phones are now working properly.

Emergency services and emergency phones within the hospital were not affected.


Three Students Robbed on Trinity Campus


Hartford police are keeping a close eye on Trinity College after crooks assaulted three students while they walked through campus Saturday night and stole their cell phones.

“All the sudden the girls were like, 'They stole our phones. They stole our phones,” said Chris Ragone, a student who was walking on Vernon Street when the two girls were targeted.

He said he watched the culprits take off and several students run after them.

“You can see them, chasing them through Vernon Street,” Ragone said.

Just hours earlier, another victim was robbed and hurt on Summit Street by Mather Hall.

So far, police have made one arrest and said they believe another culprit is still on the run.

Students said that Trinity College sent a warning to let them know they needed to be alert both on and off campus, especially at night.

Many made sure to use caution on Monday.

“I don't walk anywhere at night. We just came from basketball and I refuse to walk anywhere by myself now,” said Christina Raiti.

Police also said, if you are walking around or waiting for a campus shuttle, don’t keep your cell phone out because that’s what the thieves are after.

“I don't text anymore when I walk,” Raiti said.

There was no telling if the crooks would come back and strike again.

On Tuesday, Trinity College administrators plan to meet with campus security to discuss the possibility of implementing new safety measures at the school. 

Car Hits Restaurant in Bethany


Teddy B’s Restaurant in Bethany is cleaning up after a car crashed into the building this morning.

It appears the car the side of the restaurant at 136 Amity Road.

No additional information was available.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Chicago Mass Shooting Was Retaliation For Graze Wound: Cops


The Chicago park shooting that left 13 people wounded last week was retaliation for a graze wound one of the alleged gunmen suffered in a separate shooting, the city's police superintendent said.

Bryon Champ, 21, charged this week with allegedly firing a gun into a crowd last Thursday night at Cornell Square Park, suffered the wound to his leg, Supt. Garry McCarthy said. Prosecutors said Champ was shot by rival gang members.

"The motivation for this incident was an unreported shooting where this individual, Mr. Champ, suffered a graze wound earlier last Thursday," McCarthy said Tuesday. "And as a result the retaliation took place."

Champ was one of four people charged with three counts of attempted murder and aggravated battery with a firearm. Tabari Young, 22, is accused of firing a military-grade weapon into the crowd; Kewane Gatewood, 20, is accused of supplying the weapon Young used; and Brad Jett, 22, is accused of participating as a lookout during the shooting.

Prosecutors said Champ told the other three about his injury and they went to the park with the intent to seek revenge for Champ being shot.

Witnesses said gunmen fired at least 20 shots at a group shortly before 10:15 p.m., and the spray of bullets sent a mass of people to the ground on the basketball courts. Among the injured was a 3-year-old boy, who was struck in the jaw.

All men were held without bond, and McCarthy said more charges are likely against the four men accused in the incident.

McCarthy said Champ was previously convicted of unlawful use of a weapon by a felon, which is "a crime that's designed to put dangerous criminals in jail, and he received boot camp as his punishment."

"A little more than a year later, he's the main player in a shooting of 13 people," he said.

McCarthy again called for a mandatory minimum sentence for illegal gun possession.

"To truly address violence for the long-term we need state and federal laws that keep illegal guns out of our communities and provide real punishment for the criminals who use them,” he said.

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