University of Houston grad student Kyle Coplen has begun an eyebrow-raising initiative dubbed the “Armed Citizen Project” (ACP). According to the project’s website, ACP will seek out willing participants in high-crime neighborhoods of Houston and give them a 20 gauge shotgun along with proper training in safety and self defense.
“We’re looking at deterring crime by empowering citizens,” said Coplen in an interview with ABC News. “[Shotguns are] easy to use, easy to learn how to use. They’re, not very expensive and they’re just all around great home defense weapons.”
The goal of the project, other than to provide self-defense weapons to some individuals who may not be able to afford them otherwise, is to study the correlation between an increase of firearms and crime. The project operates on donations and funds go directly into purchasing firearms.
The reason ACP chose a 20 gauge shotgun is based on a number of factors, including price, practicality, and low likelihood of the weapon being re-purposed for crime. Currently, ACP seeks to arm those that are most likely to be the victim of crime, like single mothers in bad neighborhoods. Applicants will be submitted to a background check as well as a mandatory weapon safety course.
“Many people have asked me if I am concerned about the potential liability that I may incur from this project,” said Coplen. “The short answer is no. We will follow every applicable law, and weapons will only go to those that qualify.”
Coplen believes that the existence of weapons in the hands of citizens will greatly deter crime and that his project could provide statistical proof to the gun control debate. He is a staunch Second Amendment supporter.
“The future belongs to the bold, we must fight,” Coplen concludes.