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The original item was published from 10/22/2015 12:37:58 PM to 11/30/2015 5:30:06 PM.

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District Attorney

Posted on: October 22, 2015

[ARCHIVED] Lancaster Mayor Gray, DA Stedman Call for Action Against Gun Violence

Lancaster Mayor Rick Gray and District Attorney Craig Stedman pushed publicly Thursday for harsher treatment of those who carry guns illegally.

Gray and Stedman, with Lancaster city Police Chief Keith Sadler, made public request that judges issue harsher punishment, increase bail amounts, and hold bondsmen accountable when a gun-toting defendant skips bail.

At least 15 people have been killed in gun violence in Lancaster County since May 2014. More than half of the solved cases involved a shooter who was carrying a gun illegally.

“There are too many of the wrong people with firearms right now,” Mayor Gray said at a press event. “This poses a direct threat to the public.”

Gray and Stedman proposed a number of changes in current procedure, which they say will improve public safety, including:

- District judges setting higher bail amounts in illegal-possession cases. Stedman asked for $1 million bail in cases where a felon is charged with illegal possession.
- Holding bail bondsmen accountable when someone they post bail for skips court, and the bondsmen makes no attempt to find them. Typically, bondsmen in those instances are returned the money they post.
- Longer prison sentences for felons charged with illegal possession. Typically, a felon charged here with illegal possession will serve about two years. DA Stedman called for sentences closer to five years, as in federal gun cases.
- Explore the option of adding a felony murder charge for those who are involved in drug deals that result in death. If you are party to a drug deal and someone dies, you should be charged with felony murder, DA Stedman said. Currently, drug deals aren’t included in felony murder, as are robbery, burglary, etc.

Stedman and Gray were adamant that no good comes from a felon who carries a gun.

“What is going to happen?” Stedman asked. When “a three-time convicted felon is walking down the street with a handgun?”

Gray said prison overcrowding shouldn’t be considered when dealing with sentencing of felons who carry guns.

“Who better to hold… than the person who has been found to be in illegal possession of a firearm?” Gray said. “Make room.”

MEDIA CONTACT: Brett A. Hambright, 717-295-2041;

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