A group dubbed the Armed Citizen Project (ACP) is handing out free shotguns in high-crime neighborhoods across the nation.
The group's website states:
"The Armed Citizen Project is dedicated to facilitating the arming of law abiding citizens, and analyzing the relationship between increased firearm availability and rates.
"We are choosing mid-high crime neighborhoods in cities across America, and offering defensive weapons to citizens that can pass a background check, and that will take our safety, legal, and tactical training."
The website encourages others to join or to donate money for the cause.
"We are arming communities with donations that we receive through this site. We have the goal of arming at least 100 households in any neighborhood we arm, and we greatly appreciate contributions of any kind.
"The more donations we receive, the more homes will be able to arm."
The group launched earlier this year and has already initiated efforts in Houston, Tucson, Dallas, Indianapolis, Chicago, Detroit, and New York.
In Tucson, ACP organizer Shaun McClusky plans to hand out free shotguns in three different high-crime neighborhoods: Pueblo Gardens, Midvale Park and the Grant-Campbell area.
McClusky tells The Tucson Weekly that he has raised $12,000 for the project. With each package costing $350, he already has the funds to hand out three dozen shotguns.
He says, recipients "will receive a cleaning kit, they'll receive the shotgun, they'll receive slugs, they'll go through a background check and they'll also go through the training class."
In the next 30-45 days, McClusky will drop fliers in the neighborhoods he wants to target, inviting anyone who is interested to a meeting. At the meeting, individuals will undergo a background check before receiving a shotgun.
The Armed Citizens Project will use the data they collect from this experiment to complete a policy study that "will measure the deterrent effects of firearms on crime."
The stated goal of the project is "to find if there exists a causal link between an increase in the presence of firearms and the level of crime."
McClusky says of the Tucson project:
"Think about the impact this is going to have on a neighborhood. If you're a criminal and you go into a neighborhood and we have a yard sign that says, 'This neighborhood is protected by armed citizens,' you're going to go to the next neighborhood, if you're the criminal."