An exposé by USAToday on the Clinton-era Community Oriented Policing Services (‘COPS’) project shows the program wasted millions of dollars, never put the promised 100,000 new police on the streets, and has not been a panacea to crime.

The COPS program was also touted as a reason for Americans to think twice about buying guns for personal protection, recalled CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb. He said the USAToday revelations that suggest widespread misspending of hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars prove something else: It was not non-existent police on the streets, but passage of right-to-carry statutes in dozens of states that had a greater effect on reducing violent crime rates over the past decade.

Add to that passage of “Three Strikes” laws – the roots of which can be found in the offices of CCRKBA’s sister organization, the Second Amendment Foundation – and there is but one conclusion to be reached, Gottlieb said.

“The gun rights community was right all along,” Gottlieb observed. “We knew from the start that Bill Clinton’s ‘COPS’ program was a cop-out. While Clinton and Janet Reno were discouraging citizens from arming themselves against crime, and making it as hard as possible for citizens to exercise their Second Amendment rights, they created what has amounted to one more government boondoggle.”

“All of the promised cops were never there,” added CCRKBA Executive Director Joe Waldron, “but gun rights organizations were. Passage of concealed carry laws in more than 30 states put criminals on notice that would-be victims were going to fight back. While liberal do-gooders campaigned against gun rights, we pushed laws that armed citizens and locked up criminals. Significant drops in the crime rates show those real programs worked.

“Clinton’s fantasy plan was designed to fool people into believing crime could be curbed by throwing money around,” Waldron said. “Now USAToday is reporting that at least $277 million was misspent, and that there is little credible evidence the program was a big factor in reducing crime.”

“Pie in the sky never prevented a single criminal act,” Gottlieb concluded, “but the fear of armed citizens and the reality of long prison sentences have proven more effective than waiting periods or hysteria-driven gun bans. Maybe we should remember that next time Congress wants to put our tax dollars to work against crime.”