Well here's something you don't hear every day and very good news I might add. Residents who live in crime-ridden areas in Tucson, Arizona may soon receive free shotguns. This all began as a result of the Armed Citizens Project, an organization which was formed by a policy analyst in his final semester of the Masters of Public Administration program with the University of Houston.
The Arizona Daily Star reports,
Operating on the premise an armed neighborhood is a safer neighborhood, a group led by former mayoral candidate Shaun McClusky is raising money to purchase shotguns and provide training for anyone who lives in a mid- to high-crime neighborhood and can pass a background check.
The project is part of a developing nationwide movement to see if more guns really do translate into less crime.
McClusky said he's bringing the program to Tucson because the City Council has failed to properly fund the Police Department, leaving many residents easy targets for criminals.
"We need to take back our city, and it needs to come back to the citizens and not the criminals," McClusky said. "Right now, the criminal element is winning."
McClusky said that the shotguns will be single-break-action guns that hold only one shell. They are considering pump-action shotguns. That will depend upon pricing though. At the moment the cost of each gun and a box of ammunition is at $205. McClusky estimates that with training and background checks, the cost per person will be $350 to $400.
He also said his group won't make the mistake that Mark Kelly recently did by purchasing a weapon not for his own use. Instead the money will be given directly to individuals for the background checks and to purchase the weapons for themselves.
He's also pretty smart concerning litigation and marketing of what he's doing.
"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."
So far there has been contributions of about $12,000, though he has only just begun to solicit for donations. His goal is to be able to start issuing the money for the weapons within 60 days.
"When we have a problems we try to get the neighbors together and work on solutions. This is something far outside what we would normally do," said Midvale Neighborhood Association President Joe Miller. "This is pretty intense."
Councilwoman Regina Romero said that McClusky is not only "stereotyping" residents on the south-side, but she claims that they "don't need a gun to survive."
"McClusky is not only out of touch with Midvale, but he is reckless in promoting such a ridiculous idea," Romero said. "If he wants to hand out guns to people, why doesn't he hand them out around his neighborhood?"
Councilman Steve Kozachik said, "To suggest that giving away … loaded shotguns in high-crime areas will make anybody safer is pure idiocy. 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."
"Saying that they'll do background checks ignores the well-known fact that the NICS (National Instant Criminal Background Check System) records are so poorly maintained that they might as well join the gun sellers who don't do any background checks at gun shows," he said.
Well now wait a minute pot, this is kettle. Isn't the entire argument coming from the heads of your Party in Washington, D.C. that we need a national gun registry database and that we need universal background checks and that will help keep things safe? You can't have it both ways!
Of course these people don't understand the logic of actually giving things away from donations and not from government. They also don't understand the values of America in that the ability, yeah the protected right of the people to keep and bear arms is a great value to promote.
The Armed Citizens Project claims that it is "deterring crime by empowering neighborhoods." This is the organization that started the ball rolling. According to the group's website,
The Armed Citizen Project is a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to training and arming residents in mid-high crime areas with defensive shotguns, for free! In training and arming law-abiding residents, we are saturating neighborhoods with defensive weapons, and measuring the effect that a heavily armed society has on crime rates.
Our founder, Kyle Coplen, is a policy analyst in his final semester of the Masters of Public Administration program with the University of Houston. Tired of the blatant manipulation and politicization of statistics when it comes to the relationship between firearms and safety, Kyle decided to conduct a multi-year, multi-city study that may be able to establish the definitive link that the gun debate is sorely lacking.
We are an organization that is not simply content to hold the line on guns. If the fight does not come to us, we will go to it. We are also training and arming single women in high crime areas, competing against gun buybacks, calling out anti-gun politicians as being pro-crime, and fighting the anti-gun establishment in general. We are pissing off all of the right (left) people, having a blast doing it. We hope that you join our fight today.
I think it's a completely wonderful idea. An armed and educated citizenry is a powerful citizenry.
If you would like to contact those in opposition their contact info is listed below.
Councilwoman Regina Romero
Ward 1 Council Member Regina Romero contact
email: [email protected] or phone: (520) 791-4040
Councilman Steve Kozachik
Ward 6 Vice Mayor Steve Kozachik contact
email: [email protected] or phone: (520) 791-4601
Tucson City Council
Address: 255 W Alameda St, Tucson, AZ 85701