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On the campaign trail: Katko responds to allegations: ‘I was the victim of a crime’

Republican Congressional candidate John Katko is fighting back against accusations of wrongdoing relating to a gun crime that took place in April of 2000.

According to the Syracuse Post-Standard, Katko purchased a personal firearm to protect the safety of his family in late 1999. On April 3, 2000, Katko and his wife attended an event at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church on the city’s west side. He left the gun, loaded, out of view in his car. While Katko was inside the church, someone broke into his car and stole a duffel bag, which contained the gun.

About a week later, the Post-Standard reported, the gun was used during the commission of a robbery-homicide.

Bryan C. Hunter, a 21-year-old parolee, was among several arrested after five men broke into an illegal gambling operation at 22 Burt St. During the crime, three men were shot; Vernon Griffin and Henderson Griffin were killed, while Robert Anderson survived his wounds. Hunter was captured April 8 in Auburn and was found to be in possession of a loaded handgun — Katko’s gun, according to police reports.

It was later determined that Katko’s gun was not used in either homicide. However, the Post-Standard reported that he likely violated federal policy in his storage of the weapon:

“When issued the gun after a threat against his life, Katko had to agree to follow the U.S. Marshals Service policy that requires ‘weapons be concealed from view when not in use and ‘stored in a secure manner to prevent theft, tampering, or misuse when not being carried,’” Mark Weiner wrote. “A presidential directive from 1997 required agencies to provide gun or trigger locks to federal law enforcement personnel. The idea was to help secure weapons when they weren't being carried, and to prevent them from being fired by someone else.”

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