Originally published April 12 2013
Citizen defense program launched in Tucson to provide free shotguns to residents living in high crime areas
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) At a time when some states are requiring citizens to turn in weapons and magazines recently made illegal by new gun control laws, one community in one state is doing exactly the opposite.
A former candidate for mayor of Tucson, Ariz. has launched a privately funded program to provide a free shotgun to residents in crime-prone areas of the city so they can better defend themselves against criminals, media outlets are reporting.
"Shaun McClusky says the program modeled after one recently launched in Houston would provide training and enough money to buy a basic shotgun to residents who pass background checks. McClusky's program has so far raised $12,000," the CBS Las Vegas said.
In announcing his program, McClusky said citizens need to be better able to protect themselves because the city government is failing to do so.
"We need to take back our city, and it needs to come back to the citizens and not the criminals," McClusky told the Arizona Daily Star. "Right now, the criminal element is winning."
Who's really 'out of touch'?
The paper said a number of city council members are critical of the effort (naturally); they say it is "out of touch with community needs and values," according to CBS.
"To suggest that giving away ... loaded shotguns in high-crime areas will make anybody safer is pure idiocy," Councilman Steve Kozachik told the Daily Star. "This is coming from a purported leader in the local Republican Party, the same group who last year auctioned off a Glock and a rifle as fundraisers. Now they're giving them away in our community? They're totally out of touch with the values of this city."
(Note to the Tucson city council: "Out of touch" is creating an environment where a lunatic is able to gun down a U.S. Representative and several civilians.)
McClusky scoffs at that criticism, noting that if the council were serious about fighting crime it would have fully funded its police department.
So, over the next few weeks, he says he and others will begin spreading leaflets around and posting fliers in Midvale Park, Pueblo Gardens and an as-yet-to-be-determined midtown neighborhood to encourage residents to sign up for the program.
The weapons will be single-break-action shotguns that hold only a single shell. He and others considered pump-action models but the purchase of those will depend largely on funding.
For now, each single-shot gun will cost about $205, each of which will come with a box of shells. Additional training and background checks will bring the cost to about $350-$400 per person, McClusky said.
He noted that his group won't be making the same mistake that Mark Kelly, former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' husband, did recently - buying weapons not for their own use (Giffords was shot in Tucson during a town-hall style meeting in January 2011; she survived but six others were killed). Rather, he said, his group plans to donate the money for individuals to fill out background checks and buy the weapons themselves.
With luck, this approach will spread
The former mayoral candidate also said he isn't afraid of lawsuits.
"Saying guns are responsible for killing people is like saying spoons are responsible for making people fat," McClusky said. "If someone wants to bring me the publicity for free and sue me, bring it on."
Known as the Armed Citizen Project, McClusky's group is partnering with Black Weapons Armory to giveaway shotguns. Warrior School provides training and classes to interested individuals, Yahoo! News said.
Tucson is only the second community to try this approach.
"The Armed Citizens Project was created recently by a master's student at the University of Houston as a way to measure whether more guns result in less crime," the Daily Star reported. "The plan is to have diverse cities across the nation implement the program in specific neighborhoods and then track those neighborhoods to see if crime is reduced."
More guns equals less crime.
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