I had a chance to sit down and discuss the Armed Citizens Project with Kyle Coplen while at the NRA Annual Meeting. My initial concerns were about their choice of shotgun and training of recipients. Earlier reports had them planning to give out single shot break action shotguns. Kyle said that they had switched to pump action shotguns in 12 and 20 gauge and that everyone who received a shotgun would have to go through a training class.
If I remember correctly, he said their first purchases were the IAC Hawk 12 gauge due to cost. However, their intention is to standardize on one model of shotgun that is made in the United States such as the Maverick 88 from Mossberg. The Armed Citizens Project was hoping that manufacturers would work with them to obtain shotguns at a discount.
Thus, it is with great interest that I read in the release below that they have just finished their first class and first gifts of shotguns to 10 families in Houston, Texas.
I like what they are doing for the residents of poor neighborhoods beset by crime. I know they have plans to expand to New York and Chicago among other places.
Houston – May 6, 2013 - The Armed Citizen Project officially began to arm the citizens of the Oak Forest neighborhood in Houston last night. Ten residents from the neighborhood, which is the third largest subdivision in Harris County, were just the first to complete the safety and tactical course and will later be armed with either a 20- or 12-gauge shotgun. The organization hopes to place as many as 100 shotguns in the neighborhood.
The four-hour training session took place at the Arms Room in League City, TX. There, these citizens were given safety, tactical, and legal training as well as range time in order to practice using their weapon.
The nonprofit group, launched by University of Houston student Kyle Coplen, is funded by private donations made through its website. It's dedicated to empowering citizens and deterring crime by providing free training and shotguns to residents in moderate- to high-crime areas.
"I want the criminals to be looking at it like they're playing Russian roulette with their lives," says the 29-year-old public administration graduate student. "If they decide to break into a home, they have no idea whether it's one that's armed or one that's not."
The group will continue to arm the neighborhood for the next few weeks. Classes are limited to ten persons at a time in order to ensure that each individual is thoroughly trained in the responsible use of the firearm.