The set of links on this page illustrates that violent crime can be significantly reduced without passing more gun control laws. Instead of indiscriminately keeping guns away from both law-abiding citizens and criminals, the programs mentioned on this page focus on criminal activity and aggressive intervention programs to reduce crime.
However, before mentioning these links, it should be noted that the bulk of the problem behind gun violence, whether gun homicides or gun violence in general, lies with repeat offender criminals: In state correctional facilities, fully 90% of felons convicted for weapons offenses had prior convictions. 44% of felons convicted for weapons offenses had prior convictions for violent crimes. In federal correctional facilities 75% of felons convicted for weapons offenses had prior convictions. 26% of felons convicted for weapons offenses had prior convictions for violent crimes. (Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics: Selected Findings, Firearms, crime, and criminal justice: Weapons Offenses and Offenders, [Adobe Acrobat Reader required], 1995, page 6, citing survey data published in 1991.)
Reducing Crime: Effective Methods
In Boston, by enforcing the existing laws, (such as a 10 year penalty for felons found to be in possession of a firearm), and employing aggressive intervention strategies, youth gun-homicide was reduced to zero in 1996 and 1997. (Due to the date of the following link, 1997 isn't mentioned.) Total youth homicides dropped some 80% citywide from 1990 to 1995. A couple of other cities are discussed here as well, using different methods from Boston's (but still no new gun controls) to reduce youth violence: Success Stories (for additional details, extensive links, and resources regarding Boston's crime fighting efforts, see the Boston Gun Project).
In analyzing New York City's police reforms, this study from the Manhattan Institute, concludes that, " 'Broken windows' policing is significantly and consistently linked to declines in violent crime." (New York City did not employ Project Exile.)
A site with extensive Project Exile information, sponsored by an anti-gun rights group, Virginians Against Handgun Violence, explains the program and its effectiveness. (This story from the New York Times, summarizes Richmond, Virginia's experience with Project Exile.)
The NRA also supports Project Exile, calling for congressional funding in this press conference (May 1999).
Opposition and Concerns About Project Exile
Some gun rights groups have strong objections to Project Exile, and they are not alone...
- Project Exile Needs to Be Deported - Gun Owners of America objects to Project Exile on constitutional grounds and says the states should either "select good judges and adequate laws to punish criminal behavior, or 'We the People' should select new legislators.' "
- Perverting 'Project Exile' - Gun rights activist Neal Knox fears Project Exile could be perverted to switch "the focus from 'zero tolerance' for gun law violations by criminals, to severe prosecution of minor gun law violations by ordinary citizens.' "
- This U.S. District Court decision upholds the constitutionality of Project Exile (on the narrow grounds it was challenged on), but raises strong concerns about the program concluding in part: "Project Exile represents a substantial federal incursion into a sovereign state's area of authority and responsibility."
- Project Gestapo in Action - An editorial from a gun rights site opposing Project Exile, including this link to "We Condemn 'Project Exile:' A Coalition of American Leaders in the Firearms Movement"
Promising Strategies to Reduce Gun Violence presents information about a range of demonstrated and promising strategies to reduce gun violence. For example the Kansas City Gun Experiment's goal was to reduce crime by seizures of illegal guns. "[I]ntensive police patrols directed to an 80-block hotspot area where the homicide rate was 20 times the national average. Patrol officers seized guns by frisking individuals who were arrested and by making plain view sightings of firearms during routine traffic violation or safety stops. Traffic stops were most effective in locating illegal guns, with 1 gun found per 28 stops. Gun crimes, including drive-by shootings and homicides, declined significantly during the 29-week experimental period between July 1992 and January 1993. Drive-by shootings dropped from 7 to 1 in the target area, while increasing from 6 to 12 in a comparison area. Overall gun crimes dropped 49 percent (169 to 86) and criminal homicide declined 67 percent (30 to 10) from the 29 weeks before the patrols to the 29-week experiment period."
Another program is Baltimore, Maryland's The Living Classroom Foundation that has the goal of providing "adjudicated youth with GED classes and employment training to improve future employment opportunities; to provide students with a safe haven during afterschool hours."
- Project Exile:Beyond Richmond - David M. Olscamp, Emory University (Thesis)
- Police Foundation Reports - The Richmond, VA Experience
- DID CEASEFIRE, COMPSTAT, AND EXILE REDUCE HOMICIDE? Richard Rosenfeld U-MO, StL:
- “PROJECT EXILE” AND THE ALLOCATION OF FEDERAL LAW ENFORCEMENT AUTHORITY, Daniel C. Richman, Arizona Law Review:
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