Tough neighborhood? Here's a free gun

The nonprofit Armed Citizen Project is looking to equip residents of high-crime areas with 20-gauge shotguns.

By Jonathan Berr Apr 1, 2013 7:02AM

Neighborhood Watch (© Chris Saulit, Flickr Open, Getty Images)A Texas organization is raising money to buy guns for residents in high-crime areas and single women who may be vulnerable to attack.

The Armed Citizen Project, based in Houston, also has operations in Tucson, Ariz., near the site of a 2011 shooting that killed six and injured 13, including former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

According to its website, the group is also organizing efforts in Dallas, Indianapolis, Chicago and Detroit, and is seeking volunteers in other cities to help equip qualified citizens with 20-gauge shotguns. 

People who accept a gun must pass a background check and complete a safety training course. In addition, they must have lived at their current address for at least a year. Armed Citizen Project rejects the view that many experts espouse that increasing gun ownership doesn't reduce crime -- and may encourage more of it. The organization plans to collect data from its efforts to help inform policy on guns.

"It is our belief that gun-rights activists must take the offensive, and actively encourage the increased presence of defensive weapons in society," the Armed Citizen Project says. "This effort will only be successful if we as gun supporters are willing to invest in destroying the anti-gun narrative that currently pervades our media. The more donations that we receive, the more neighborhoods we can arm."

As the Associated Press noted, local officials in Idaho, Utah, Virginia and Pennsylvania have debated ordinances recommending that people own guns. This grass-roots effort, however, appears to be the first of its kind.

Armed Citizen Project is run by Kyle Coplen, who is in his final semester of the Masters of Public Administration program at the University of Houston, according to the organization's website. Coplen didn't immediately respond to a phone message left by MSN.

Garen J. Wintemute, director of the UC Davis Violence Prevention Research Program, told the wire service that "solid evidence" shows that burglary rates rise in areas with high rates of gun ownership because the weapons are desirable loot for thieves. To counter this concern, Armed Citizen Project is providing only single-shot shotguns, which would be of little interest to most criminals. 

December's elementary school massacre of 20 children and seven adults in Newtown, Conn., has prompted renewed calls for tighter controls on gun sales -- particularly on semi-automatic weapons like the one used in the shooting -- by President Obama and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, among others. These efforts have been opposed, as they have for decades, by the National Rifle Association.

Gun sales have skyrocketed in the past few months as enthusiasts worried that the federal government would restrict their ability to buy certain firearms. Shares of Sturm Ruger (RGR) and Smith & Wesson (SWHC) are up 11.7% and 5.6% this year, respectively. The stocks have given back some gains as investors realized that current efforts to control gun sales may not be any more successful than previous ones.
Jonathan Berr does not own shares of the listed stocks. Follow him on Twitter at @jdberr.


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Apr 1, 2013 10:29AM
It's been proven for thousands of years, weapons in the hands of good people reduce crime.  Gun control is a failure and the facts are there for honest people to see.  If gun control worked, Chicago would be a utopia.  When Arizona passed it's unlimited carry laws, there was a reduction in violent crime rates, NOT blood running in the streets as opponents claimed.  Everywhere gun freedom is tried, it works. "An armed society is a polite society".  Go to a range, get some free training, and see for yourself.  Gun are not evil, only certain people are.
Apr 1, 2013 10:31AM
They need this in Chicago, "hundreds of teens in flash mob attack pedestrians", what the Chicago Community Organizers call a "flash mop" we used to call a riot.
Apr 1, 2013 8:49AM
Now there's a college student who is putting his education to good use. One round from a 20 gauge at close range should prove to be very effective.
Apr 1, 2013 10:18AM
Good idea, but I'm afraid the gun grabbing bastards will twist this around and it will backfire on them. This is one of those issues that both sides feel strongly about and it is near impossible to make either side change their minds. I can't imagine not owning a gun, I think every true American should have at least one.
Apr 1, 2013 10:27AM
Great idea I would feel better if more of my neighbors had weapons to fight off the UN when they show up.
Apr 1, 2013 10:31AM
Great idea to arm citizens. If you thought you might get shot when you broke into someones house you might think twice. Have had a gun for years, know how to shoot it very well and wouldn't hesitate if someone broke into my house. Love it the the UC Davis Violence Prevention Program states that there's "solid evidence" that burglary rates have risen in areas of high gun ownership as burglars want to steal their guns. Hello, how do the burglars know I have a gun? The gun buy back programs are a joke as I'm sure the gangs aren't getting rid of theirs or only if they have a back up. It's true that if you outlaw guns only outlaws with have them.
Apr 1, 2013 10:12AM
Good Idea.  But make it a 12 Gauge.
Apr 1, 2013 10:36AM
And after all,  Joe Biden told us to get a shotgun for protection.
Apr 1, 2013 10:30AM
I really like this program. I know a lot of people that cannot afford a gun, but need one because of the area they live in. Good people that just need a way to defend their homes from people that intend to do harm. The knowledge that someone has one is enough of a deterrent for many,
Apr 1, 2013 10:36AM
Wow TEXAS is no joke.. They dont mess around!!
Apr 1, 2013 10:45AM
Good Job. Shoot all of those criminal hoodlums!!
Apr 1, 2013 10:34AM
A 12 gauge would be better...If anything this would make a thug to think twice before invading a home..there's nothing like the sound of  pump action racking in a shell ..the criminal thugs will crap their pants every time.
Apr 1, 2013 10:24AM
Remember..... our "beloved" vice-president even recommended a shotgun.  But I don't think he's ever seen what an "up close and personal" shotgun blast does to someone.
Apr 1, 2013 10:33AM
Having more guns gives thieves the opportunity to steal them? Is that like having more banks gives bank robbers more opportunities to rob them?More good looking women gives rapist more opportunities to rape? Looks like the common denominator might be crooks who will just rape,rob,and steal because they are just crooks and rapists, and thieves. Look at the job opportunities we have in building more prisons! You gun haters would love it if bad people could do anything because they have guns and the rest of us don't! Why don't you move to a Muslim Country,and then be happy. They have laws that would make you happy,including stoning women because they got raped.Cutting off the hands od thieves,and beheading robbers. Crime rates are lower,also.
Apr 1, 2013 10:56AM


Every home should have a semi-auto, a shotgun, and a handgun.  Responsible firearms training should be a part of school curriculum as well as adults educated on the proper handling and respect of firearms.  The Swiss have a form of total gun ownership, and no nation dares invade them, and nearly zero crime.  Criminals and tyrants are always going to have guns, and are the only ones who definitely for gun control, because with the people disarmed, they are then defenseless.  The purpose of the Second Amendment was not for hunting or sports, but for defense of the home from foreign invaders and domestic usurpers hell bent on tyranny.  American culture and government has been undermined for some time now; and more Americans are awakening to that fact.  God forbid that America should go the way every where that Communism and Fascism have raised the horns on their ugly head.  These types of regimes have been financed by wealthy greedy Capitalists who made their nests in the Western world; now the chickens are coming home to roost in America.

The only person who want to disarm you is your enemy.  The DHS has purchased over 2 billion rounds of ammo to MURDER American citizens.  The UN's own documents state that "privately owned firearms undermine the 'power monopoly" of the state."  "Power Monopoly" means DICTATORSHIP!!!  The DHS has had Concentration Camps called "FEMA Relocation Centers" set up for the reason of as the  "REX 84"(Readiness Exercise 1984) program "American citizens who resist government programs."  What "programs" might those be???  Read Revelation 13, and you will see the tip of the ice-berg.   

Apr 1, 2013 10:31AM
Good idea...only there is no ammo to be had...
Apr 1, 2013 10:49AM
Mighty neighborly of them and I salute their effort but getting a gun in Chicago or anywhere else is easy! Finding bullits is the hard part, I believe the Obama administration has done an end run around gun control by eliminating the ammunition. Most shelves are empty all across the country!
Apr 1, 2013 11:07AM
I do not know if any of you had a gun pointed to the back of your head. I did when I was 17 the dude pulled the trigger and it misfired. Back then I was against people carrying guns not against people owning them for hunting or protection of your home. 

Now, after many years in the intelligence community, I have a conceal permit. I have trained my children and many other how to properly handle a weapon and how to use your hands and head in the event you do not have a weapon on you.

I am all for mandatory gun ownership. I am all for severe criminal punishment for those that traffic or use a weapon in the commission of a crime. If the law makers would stop watering down the criminal code and stop giving judges so much leeway in sentencing then maybe you would see a dramatic drop in violence. 

I am all for the states, hospitals, colleges and other institutions reporting mental health issues to the state police and then federal agency (NICS) that monitors and approves gun purchases. I also for laws in states that allow private sellers at gun shows to be banned. But I am not for mandatory gun registration or banning private gun sales to family. 

There are those on the other side of the issue that do not understand the issue. They just want to stop gun ownership and feel that will solve violent crime. 

I have a friend that was being attacked. She fought hard to defend herself. She was severely beaten because the guy had attacked her without warning. She had a moment of clarity and pulled her 22 pistol from her boot and shot the guy in the throat. He died after bleeding out. The guys parents then sued her for wrongly death. I guess she should have just taken the beating and probable rape and death according to his parents. 
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