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Felon who said he had handgun for protection is imprisoned

A Niagara Falls man was sentenced Thursday to 3 1/2 years in state prison for having an illegal handgun.

Samuel C. Hopkins, 29, of Ferry Avenue, Niagara Falls, wasn't allowed to have a gun because he was convicted of a felony in a 2011 stolen property case, said Niagara County Assistant District Attorney Doreen M. Hoffmann.

"Maybe you thought you needed a gun for your protection, but there's too many illegal guns," said State Supreme Court Justice Richard C. Kloch Sr., who imposed the minimum sentence for a second-time felon who pleaded guilty to attempted second-degree criminal possession of a weapon.

Hoffmann said Hopkins had a loaded .22-caliber handgun June 14 when Lockport police checked a parked vehicle in which Hopkins was smoking marijuana.

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