(Springfield, VA) -- Gun Owners of America today expressed its opposition to Project Exile -- a program that originated in Richmond, Virginia, in 1997.

"Instead of Project Exile, gun owners want Project Repeal," said Erich Pratt, GOA's Director of Communications. "We need to repeal the thousands of unconstitutional gun laws that are restricting the rights of law-abiding citizens and, in many cases, costing innocent lives."

Project Exile imposes a zero-tolerance policy for all gun violations -- including those which would fall into the category of being technical, non-violent offenses.

"Zero-tolerance makes zero sense," Pratt said. "Why should we send a brave assistant principal like Joel Myrick of Pearl, Mississippi, to jail for using his gun on school grounds to stop a killer's rampage in 1997?

"Why should we send an elderly grandfather to jail for personally giving his commemorative revolver collection to his middle-aged son who happens to live in another state? A zero-tolerance approach to enforcing gun laws would send the principal and the grandfather and the son to jail for many, many years.

"We need to keep all of this in perspective," Pratt said. "Zero-tolerance is what gave us the tragedy in Ruby Ridge, Idaho. Government agents pursued Randy Weaver into the mountains, shot his wife and child, and treated him like a vicious criminal -- all because Weaver committed the very technical, non-violent offense of sawing-off a shotgun less than 1/2 inch too short."

"Instead of going after decent gun owners, state officials need to crack down on all violent criminals. Someone who kills with a knife is just as much a murderer as the one who kills with a gun. Let's spend our resources to keep real criminals off the streets," Pratt said. "That's a policy everybody can support."

Gun Owners of America is one of more than 75 gun rights groups from around the country who are opposed to Project Exile. To see a detailed listing of these groups, please go to http://www.KeepAndBearArms.com/information/XcIBViewItem.asp?ID=720 on the internet.

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