If a group at the National Rifle Association convention gets it way, free shotguns will be handed out in Chicago.
CBS Chicago reports the group made the bold announcement at a convention in Texas, and as you might imagine it is causing quite a controversy.
The group is called the Armed Citizen Project, and as, their name says they want to arm citizens by giving them shotguns.
They aim to give out shotguns to people in fifteen cities including Chicago.
They’ve already started giving out the guns in Houston where at least four mothers have received free guns.
The group’s founder says they give the free guns to people living in medium to high crime areas so they can defend themselves from criminals.
Kyle Coplen founded the group based on his belief that guns are the ultimate deterrent to would-be criminals.
“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,” said Coplen. “We’re giving folks the tools with which to defend their life, liberty and property, we’re training them how to use the weapons and empowering citizens.”
In Houston, Coplen says he hopes to arm one fourth of the neighborhood where his group is now giving away guns. Then signs would be put up warning criminals that the neighborhood is armed.
Coplen says they want to come to Chicago but are checking with their lawyers to make sure any legal concerns are addressed ahead of time.
Chicago has traditionally had more restrictive gun laws, and that’s why the Armed Citizen Project says they want in so they can put their theory to the test here.
In February, CBS Houston reported that Coplen gave away 20-gauge single-shot shotguns to residents in mid- and high-crime neighborhoods to test whether or not the weapon will help reduce crime in the area. Coplen said the weapons are not of much value to criminals, but are especially useful for citizens looking to protect themselves from criminals.