12/00 Exile Project Exile

Exile Project Exile
Larry Pratt

Project Exile is a crime fighting tool that is proving to be a cure worse than the disease.

The disease, as it were, is soft-on-crime judges in the various states. Project Exile assumes that the cure is to prosecute criminals in federal courts and incarcerate them in federal jails because there are fewer protections of the rights of defendants in federal courts, and the sentences are tougher.

The cure should be to get rid of criminal coddling judges at the state level. It is unconstitutional to try criminal cases at the Federal level because the constitution gives no such authority to the Federal government.

It is doubly unconstitutional to be calling for enforcement of federal gun laws which are all unconstitutional. For gun owners to call for such prosecutions is self destructive.

The unintended consequences of Project Exile are becoming apparent, and they are horrible. One example from Arizona should by itself convince every gun owner — indeed every freedom loving American — to call for the exiling of Project Exile.

Jerry Michel’s Specialty Firearms in Mesa, Arizona was raided on October 25 by a multi-jurisdictional task force of local police and the BATF. He was accused of not having complied with local zoning requirements and not having taken out a $100 license for being a second hand dealer. The affidavit for the search warrant also alleged straw purchases had been made by Michel, something he adamantly denies.

The agents threw his guns into trash barrels, damaging many by this negligent practice. Several of the guns were collectors’ items, and one was taken unfired from the box it came in and hurled into a barrel.

The BATF was unconstitutionally given jurisdiction for whacking gun dealers for “violations” of local zoning requirements by the Clinton-Gore gun ban of 1994. In effect, the BATF was made the national zoning and business licensing agency for firearms dealers.

Thousands of dollars of damages were incurred by a pack of criminals posing as police agents. No charges have been filed, but Michel is out of business — his inventory is gone, and that means his life investment is too.

The next time you hear a gun owner call for the zero tolerance enforcement of federal gun laws, ask him or her if they are glad Project Exile was used to wipe out Jerry Michel’s livelihood.