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Common-sense gun control

Earle K. Downes Gales Ferry

Publication: The Day

Published 01/31/2013 12:00 AM
Updated 01/30/2013 05:38 PM

Before 1997 Richmond, Va. had the third-highest murder rate in the nation, according to FBI statistics.

That year then-Deputy Assistant U.S. Atty. James Comey and Assistant Federal Prosecutor David Schiller promised 100 percent prosecution of gun crimes.

They ran television and radio ads. A 40 -oot city bus was emplazoned with the message: " An Illegal Gun Gets You 5 Years in Federal Prison." Bail was unlikely, parole was nonexistent.

After a decade the program named Project Exile is credited with reducing the number of guns on the streets by 31 percent in its first year 1997. By 2007, the city registered 56 murders, down from 112 in 1996, the last full year before the program was implemented. Armed robberies dropped nearly a third.

The state of Virginia is one of the easiest places to legally buy a handgun. This is the result of focusing on the city's most violent areas and handing out harsh sentences for a crime involving a firearm.

This is going after convicted felons carrying guns. I'd say you would call this common-sense gun control.

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