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Letter: To slow gun violence, bring back Project Exile

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This is a letter to the editor from The Times-Dispatch opinion page. Submit your letter here.

To slow gun violence, bring back Project Exile

In the Richmond Times-Dispatch editorial on Nov. 15, “Is it too late to stop American's gun epidemic?" it had me thinking. After reading the Nov. 21 letter to the editor, "Blaming guns for UVa shootings is a cheap way out," I recalled that there is something that has been proven to work: Project Exile, a partnership between local and federal law enforcement that launched in Richmond in 1997. It shifted the prosecution of illegal gun possession offenses to federal court, and those offenses came with a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in faraway federal prisons.

A year after the program was implemented in 1997, homicides in Richmond had declined 36% and homicides committed with firearms dropped 41%. The changes made life better for the people of Richmond. No new laws had to be passed, and it didn't affect a single lawful gun owner. Why not bring back something that has been proven to work and make it nationwide?

Robert Patrick.



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