Lifestyle & Belief

Tucson program launched to distribute free guns to people in high-crime areas


A Smith & Wesson .357 magnum revolver is displayed for customers to rent at the Los Angeles Gun Club on December 7, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. Gun enthusiasts rent the the weapon to try out before making a purchase at a gun store . Leading firearms maker Smith & Wesson reports almost 50 percent increase in sales revenue.


Kevork Djansezian

A former mayoral candidate in Tucson, Ariz., has launched a program to distribute free shotguns to people who live in high-crime neighborhoods in the city, Fox News reported.

Real estate agent Shaun McClusky has raised $12,000 to give away guns to people who pass background checks, according to Fox News. The new gun owners will be trained how to use and store their guns. Arming and training people will cost about $400 per person.

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McClusky’s program is part of the Armed Citizen Project, a nonprofit experiment run by University of Houston graduate student Kyle Coplen that aims to hand out “defensive shotguns” in cities around the country and watch to see if crime goes down, Fox News reported.

"If you are not willing to protect the citizens of Tucson, someone is going to do it, why not me? Why not have armed citizens protecting themselves?" McClusky remarked to the Associated Press.

Not all Tucson residents agree that they should take the law into their own hands.

"We could take that $400 per shotgun and give it to these people so they could go buy groceries, pay rent, pay their utility bills, something useful," Pueblo Gardens neighborhood association president Cindy Ayala told the AP. "Vigilantism is not the answer."

Councilwoman Regina Romero told the Arizona Star that residents "don't need a gun to survive” in Midvale, one of the neighborhoods in which McClusky plans to distribute guns. "If he wants to hand out guns to people, why doesn't he hand them out around his neighborhood?" she said.