WASHINGTON — President Clinton on Saturday directed federal law enforcement officials to work more closely with local authorities to thwart illegal gun sales and expand the prosecution of criminals who use guns.
Seated by Atty. Gen. Janet Reno, two police chiefs and other officials, Clinton said in his weekly radio address that the Justice and Treasury departments would report to him with "a plan to reduce gun violence by applying proven local strategies to fight gun crime nationwide."
As an example, he cited a program run by the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms and federal prosecutors in Richmond, Va. "Project Exile" uses federal laws to deny bail to gun offenders.
Homicides involving guns dropped in Richmond by 41% between mid-1997 and mid-1998, Clinton said. Richmond's police chief, Jerry Oliver, attended Clinton's address, as did Chief Robert Olsen of Minneapolis.