In Febuary Outdoor Hub reported on the “Armed Citizen Project” (ACP), a Houston-based movement started by 29-year-old grad student Kyle Coplen. Initially offering free shotguns to eligible homeowners in high-crime Houston neighborhoods, the project has since then announced expanding to other major cities. High on Coplen’s list is New York and Chicago.

The stated goal of the project is to provide homeowners with self-defense weapons they would otherwise not be able to afford, and to study the effect an increase in firearms would have on crime.

“I started to think about what we as society could do to deter home invasion crimes in the future,” Coplen told DNAinfo Chicago. “It’s our hypothesis that criminals do not want to die in your hallway. We think that society should use that fear to deter crime.”

Coplen and his supporters believe that armed and law-abiding citizens are the best solution to preventing crime. He came up with the idea after helping a World War II veteran whose home had been vandalized. Coplen later founded the ACP, which is run almost entirely on donations that go towards purchasing weapons and providing training.

Before receiving a firearm, applicants are submitted to a background check and will have to take a mandatory weapon safety course. Eligibility is judged on necessity and each case is determined on its own merits.

The project recently expanded into Tuscon, and New York City is their next likely move.

“We’re coming–and we’re going to get shotguns into the hands of responsible citizens,” Coplen said in a post on the project’s website.

You can read more about the project here.

Image courtesy Department of Defense

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