Virginia Attorney General Wants 'Project Exile' Expanded Nationwide

July 7, 2008 - 8:02 PM

( - Virginia Attorney General Mark Earley Tuesday told the National Association of Attorneys General meeting in Washington to institute "Project Exile" in major metropolitan areas of their states.

Noting a 33 percent drop in Richmond's homicide rate in 1998, Earley said, "These programs have successfully communicated a strong message in Virginia: an illegal gun will get you five years in prison, with no bond, no deal and no parole. Following the model established in Virginia, the successes we have accomplished in reducing serious crimes can and should be duplicated across the country."

"Project Exile" was named after the idea that if felon, drug dealer, drug user or domestic abuser has a gun, then they have forfeited their right to remain in the community. The criminal will face immediate federal prosecution and stiff mandatory federal prison sentences.

Earley also noted the keys to Project Exile's achievements have been full cooperation between everyone involved in law enforcement, from the police officer on the beat to the federal prosecutor; coordination of the Virginia Attorney General's office with the local Commonwealth attorney's office, with each office detailing a staff prosecutor to the US Attorney's office to assist in prosecutions; and active coordination of all police agencies, including local and state police, along with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF) and the FBI.

The National Rifle Association (NRA) has supported "Project Exile" as well. NRA spokesperson Trish Hylton tells, "We're actually lobbying Congress right now for 50 million dollars to take Project Exile nationwide."

"The NRA is putting our money where our mouth is," said Hylton. "We've spent a lot of money on advertising Project Exile in Virginia and also in Congress and nothing has happened thus far with the (Clinton) administration."