WSJ Shines Light on Richmond's Success at Battling Gun-Related Crime

The Wall Street Journal focused on the gun issue on August 5 and took aim at … criminals.

In “Going After Crimes – and Guns,” Gary Fields reports that Richmond, Virginia, has cut its murder rate by half over the past 10 years by getting tough with gun-using perpetrators – not law-abiding citizens.

Supported by not only the National Rifle Association but even by gun control advocates The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, Project Exile severely punishes people who use guns to commit crimes. As Fields notes,

“The decade-old program is credited with reducing the number of guns on the streets by 31% in its first year, 1997. By 2007, the city registered 56 murders, down from 112 in 1996, the last full year before the program was implemented. Armed robberies dropped nearly a third.”

The Journal article's subhead is: “Richmond, Va. Cleans Up Its Streets by Severely Punishing Any Firearms Offense.” The treatment is in stark contrast to typical media calls for more gun control, especially hysterical pro-gun-control media personalities such as MSNBC's Keith Olbermann. As reported last week by, Olbermann accused the National Rifle Association of “trying to increase deaths by gun” because the NRA had sent someone undercover to expose the strategies of anti-gun groups.

Olbermann also on June 26 gave the Worst Person in the World award to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia for his opinion upholding the Second Amendment right to bear arms in the D.C. gun ban case. Olbermann opined:

“This clown and his four colleagues decided that the 32-year-old ban on handguns in Washington, D.C., and the demand that firearms kept in the home be locked or disassembled was unconstitutional based on the Second Amendment.” Olbermann then insisted that only militiamen be permitted to own firearms such as muskets.

Meanwhile, in Richmond, rather than confiscating guns D.C.-style, city, state and federal law enforcement agencies have been working closely to take violent criminals off the streets.  

In April 2007, the Associated Press reported that Richmond was steadily reducing crime, attributing the success to more visible police presence, an aggressive campaign against open-air drug dealing, and community cooperation. The report did not include any reference to a crackdown on gun-related crime, but the emphasis was on curbing criminals.

The major TV news programs have a long track record of favoring gun control over gun ownership. In 2000, Media Research Center produced a Special Report: Outgunned, How the Network News Media Are Spinning the Gun Control Debate, documenting bias in the evening and morning news programs.  In 2007, CMI published an Eye on Culture, The Media Assault on the Second Amendment, chronicling anti-gun reporting during the first half of that year. 

On February 8, 2008, MRC's Cyberalert reported that ABC's World News Tonight with Charles Gibson lamented the lack of gun control talk following some high-profile shootings. Other MRC articles on anti-gun media bias can be found at:



Robert Knight is director of the Culture and Media Institute, a division of the Media Research Center.