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First Day of Springfield’s New ‘Gun Court’.


a href="http://www.wggb.com/2013/03/29/first-day-of-springfields-new-gun-court/gun-court-pkg-2/" rel="attachment wp-att-211002">Gun Court pkgSPRINGFIELD (WGGB) — As of today there’s a new way to handle gun crimes here in Western Mass.

The Springfield District Court just started a special session designed to only deal with cases involving firearms. It’s call the ‘Gun Court’.

There were just 6 cases on the docket but this short court session – lasting perhaps 20 minutes – marked a new beginning for the Springfield District Court.

“There are quite a few cases that involve firearms,” said Hampden County District Attorney Mark Mastroianni. “Sometimes they are just straight firearms cases, but often times they are drug cases or kinds of violence when firearms were used. And so, we want to show that those cases are of high priority for us.”

Friday morning ushered in the first session of what DA Mastroianni calls the Gun Court.

As the nickname suggests – the purpose is to only hear cases involving guns.

Ideally, the focus on firearms will streamline the process and keep many cases – and potential criminals – from getting bogged down in the system.

“We don’t want to lose track of those cases in a very busy court docket system, which is what we have here in Springfield. So what prioritizing the gun cases does by keeping them together, it allows us to track those cases more efficiently,” said Mastroianni.

Right now there are only one to two sessions scheduled a month, but Mastroianni says there will be more if necessary.

It’s all part of a concerted effort by law enforcement to come down – hard – on gun crimes. Less than a month ago, Springfield Police held a gun by-back program that netted more than 300 guns in just one day.

An impressive effort Mastroianni wants to capitalize on, by swiftly prosecuting criminals. “We’re showing the community that we’re taking gun cases seriously.”

A message the DA hopes everyone gets loud and clear.

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