NEW CASTLE Victims awareness week set by council

The county district attorney explains a new gun law.
NEW CASTLE, Pa. -- City council has proclaimed the week of April 10-16 as National Crime Victims' Rights Awareness Week in the city.
The move, initiated by Lawrence County District Attorney Matthew Mangino, was made at council's meeting Tuesday as part of an effort to increase public awareness of the new federal "drug and gun" law, Act 225 of 2004.
Mangino explained that the law, which went into effect Jan. 29, requires a mandatory five-year sentence, with no work release or pre-release from prison, for individuals convicted of drug dealing while possessing a firearm.
Further, Mangino said, the law calls for a mandatory sentence of 15 years the third time individuals are convicted of a drug- and gun-related crime.
Three strikes
"It's three strikes and you're out, basically," he said. "This legislation is important because it protects innocent people caught in the cross fire, especially law enforcement officers who are in the line of fire everyday and who specifically need this protection."
Mangino said that throughout crime victim's awareness week, in cooperation with the city and other municipalities, groups and organizations in the county, his office will distribute fliers and various materials to make the public aware of the new law and how it benefits every community.