Gun Bans don’t work… but what about giving away guns, for free to capable citizens?
Check out the article below that shows how one Houston area town ( and many others in the works) plan to stave off crime rates by training and arming its citizens for free.
Houston resident Cheryl Strain’s inexperience with guns was apparent as she struggled to load shells into a 20-gauge shotgun.
Over the piercing blasts of gunfire in the shooting range, Strain’s instructor, Dan Blackford, patiently directed her on how to use her thumb to shove a shell all the way inside the barrel and feel it click.
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“Now we got a round in the chamber ready to go,” Blackford said as he positioned her body on the right way to hold the shotgun. “Look down your sight, put that BB right in the middle of your target and press the trigger.”
Strain’s northwest Houston community of Oak Forest is the first neighborhood in the country being trained and equipped by the Armed Citizen Project, a Houston nonprofit that is giving away free shotguns to single women and residents of neighborhoods with high crime rates.
While many cities have tried gun buy-backs and other tactics in the ongoing national debate on gun control, the nonprofit and its supporters say gun giveaways to responsible owners are actually a better way to deter crime. The organization, which plans to offer training classes in Dallas, San Antonio, and Tucson, Ariz., in the next few weeks, is working to expand its giveaways to 15 cities by the end of the year, including Chicago and New York.
But others in Houston, while expressing support for Second Amendment rights, question whether more guns will result in more gun-related deaths rather than less crime.
Residents of Oak Forest say their neighborhood, made up of older one-story houses and a growing number of new townhomes, has experienced a recent rash of driveway robberies and home burglaries. On a recent Sunday afternoon, a group of 10 residents, including Strain, went through training at Shiloh Shooting, a northwest Houston gun range.
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Kyle Coplen, the project’s 29-year-old founder said his group expects to train at least 50 Oak Forest residents and put up signs saying the neighborhood is armed.
“When we have a crime wave, we don’t just say let’s just increase police and that’s all we do. We do multiple things. I see this as one aspect of what we can do,” said Coplen, who graduated from the University of Houston with a master’s degree in public administration.
It costs the organization about $300 to arm and train an individual and about $20,000 for an entire neighborhood. All costs are paid through donations, said Coplen, though he declined to say how much his organization has raised so far.
While some residents in the neighborhood are supportive, several officials have mixed feelings about it.
Sandra Keller, Strain’s neighbor, said she is participating in part because of the helplessness she felt after her furniture store was robbed a couple of years ago.
“If you don’t have a gun, you’re just a walking victim. You’re just waiting for somebody to take advantage of you and your property,” said Keller, 64, after practicing at the shooting range.
But Houston City Councilwoman Ellen Cohen, who represents Oak Forest, said, “I have serious concerns about more guns in homes.”
Cohen said she supports Second Amendment rights and believes that such a responsibility should include proper training and background checks.
David Hemenway, a professor of health policy and management at the Harvard School of Public Health who has written about firearms and health, said studies suggesting gun ownership deters crime have been refuted by many others that say the opposite.
“Mostly what guns seem to do is make situations more lethal because most crime has nothing to do with guns,” he said. “When there is a gun in the mix, there is much more likely to be somebody dying or somebody incredibly hurt.”
Proponents of increased gun ownership point to a variety of statistics to support their argument, including ones showing that some cities with strict gun control laws, like Chicago, still have high murder rates.
Blackford, the firearm instructor in the Oak Forest training, said the group is teaching residents not only how to handle and store a weapon but also when to use deadly force.
“The sad part is most people think if you’re pro-gun, that you’ve got this gunslinger attitude, that you are walking around looking for a gun fight to get into and that is so far from the truth,” said Blackford, a former Secret Service agent.
Harris County Precinct One Constable Alan Rosen, whose deputies patrol Oak Forest, said that while he believes the best deterrent to crime is effective neighborhood watch programs, he believes people should have the right to protect themselves.
“In terms of having a shotgun, after you’ve been properly trained on it, to have that in your home to protect your home, I’m for it,” he said.
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Strain, 46, a single mother who has never owned a gun, said she was nervous firing the shotgun but that more training will help. She also had her 12-year-old son Rory practice firing the shotgun so “if God forbid something happens, he could be prepared as well.”
via Free gun initiative begins in Houston neighborhood – Yahoo! News.
What do you think? Is this something that will work?
Am happy to see such activity in HarrisCo.,lived there several years.N.
Was trained from an early age (12) about gun safety by Dad.
Wife and I are now CCLs. and I know that doesn’t ensure safety, but does level the playing field. Untrained innocents do need this input from a quality source such as this! WHO knows when she will defend herself against L.A.type rioters coming for her food, and valuables? No longer IF, but When; maybe before year’s end in today’s societal uncertainties!
every one should be armed ecepi convicted felons
i’ve always been a gun-control advocate, but lately i’ve read and heard just as many statistics showing that more guns reduce crime as statistics showing the opposite. i’m a sane, law-abiding citizen with no children in the house who might have an accident with a firearm; i’m also a middle-aged single woman with disabilities that prevent me from defending myself physically; i live in a mostly low-income area with a thriving drug trade, and i can’t afford to pay for the gun, ammo and training myself. i’m the perfect candidate for a program like this one! in fact, if more gun ownership really does reduce crime (or at least the survival rate of criminals), then our government should underwrite such programs (hey, it beats spending our tax money on $400 toilet seats!). but i think the nra should run them; they would get many new members, and the gun manufacturers’ profits would go way up, so i’m sure they’ll be eager to get on board. i suggest we email the armed citizen project and the nra suggesting that they set up programs like this all over the country. we should also contact our representatives in washington asking them to help pay the expenses for those of us who can’t pay them ourselves. democrats might object, but plenty of republicans should go for it, so that’s not a problem. lock and load!
Your comments would be excellent if the present government was pro-gun. Unfortunately, it isn’t. The liberal agenda is dead set on stripping our rights under the Constitution, and that definitely includes the right to own or possess a firearm. I would suggest a membership in the Gun Owners of America rather than the NRA, as the GOA has a no-compromise attitude towards the anti-gun factions in the Senate and the House. Their monthly newsletter informs you about how your Senators and Representative votes on critical gun issues, and they have on the spot emails that will warn you on bills that come to the floor in the local, State, and Federal legislatures that are anti-gun.
Your local gun club will be happy to help you select a shotgun or handgun that will provide excellent protection at home, and for protection while you are in your car or workplace. Most Sherriff departments have a “shall issue” concealed weapon permit policy (which means that if you ask, they have to issue a permit). Various states may have waiting periods, and may have a requirement for mandatory training in the storage, use, use of lethal force, and safety in the handling of firearms. Alabama is fortunately very easy to obtain a firearm, no “waiting periods”, no training required (although they do suggest a firearms safety course for first time buyers), but the National NICS check is required at retail sales.
When cost is an issue, used firearms from pawn shops or gunshops are another choice. They usually cost half or 2/3 the price of new firearms. Either outlet is required to be certain that the firearm they sell is safe to use, or rendered unusable. Your teacher at the gun club will help you find the firearm that is most useful to you and your needs. Good Luck, and remember to join the GOA.