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Project Exile

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Mr. POE of Texas. Mr. Speaker, the talk around town is the paranoid gun control crowd that want more gun restrictions and more government control over guns.

If they had their way, some of them would actually outlaw the Second Amendment, and the result would be that the people would have no guns. The only ones that would have guns would be the government and, of course, criminals who ignore gun laws. I call it the ``Mexico model.''

Guns are outlawed in Mexico. The citizens cannot possess guns. There is no Second Amendment and so the government has guns and criminals have guns. Some of those criminals have guns thanks in part to the United States Government sending 2,000 assault weapons to them in Fast and Furious. But that's another story.

U.S. cities are moving toward the Mexico model. Chicago and Washington, D.C., have laws that make it very difficult for a citizen to exercise the Second Amendment. These cities make it difficult to even own a firearm. But all three places--Mexico, Chicago, Washington, D.C.--all have a reputation of being violent, unsafe places. Why? Because they are.

If D.C. was so safe, why are government guards everywhere in the city? Even here in this Capitol building, there are armed guards on the roof, at the doors, at the back doors, at the doors over to the east and to the west. It's hypocritical of the gun control crowd in this Chamber to say ``more guns for me, but not for thee.''

If these cities were safe, gun control laws would work, but they don't work. But there is a Federal law that the city of Richmond, Virginia, took advantage of, and it goes back to 1997. Richmond, Virginia, was one of the top five U.S. cities with the highest per capita murder rate in the United States. So the city used a Federal law to help them control the crime problem. Project Exile is the name. The local and State government voluntarily cooperated with the United States Attorney's Office in gun prosecutions.

Here's how it works: if a local or State law enforcement official arrested some criminal for a felony offense but the person also had a gun, the State official could voluntarily transfer the case to Federal court because in Federal court the person could be prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office and get an additional 5 years in the Federal penitentiary because the criminal, the drug dealer, had a firearm in their possession.

It's a simple plan that worked quite well. In fact, it worked so well that in the first year Richmond, Virginia's homicide rate was down 33 percent. By 1999, homicides in Richmond, Virginia, were down 97 percent--all because the criminal was prosecuted for unlawfully possessing a firearm and the government put their resources where they should: prosecuting criminals that use guns in the commission of their offense.

The law held the criminal accountable and exiled him out of the community. That's where the phrase ``Project Exile'' comes from. He was exiled from the community to the Federal penitentiary where other criminals were.

Lock the gun-toting crooks up and send them away. What a novel idea: a law that's already on the books. Maybe violent cities like Chicago and Washington, D.C., should look at Project Exile and hold criminals accountable for the violence that they commit and not be misguided by some who continue to assault the Second Amendment and not punish criminals.

Maybe our system should focus on the person who commits the crime with the weapon as opposed to trying to punish really good folks that own firearms and exercise their right under the Second Amendment to bear arms.

And that's just the way it is.


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