While many cities are attempting to become gun free with gun buy backs and other offers, one Texas neighborhood is ready to provide its residents with free guns. Oak Forest, which is located in the northwest Houston area, has joined up with the Armed Citizen Project (ACP).
The ACP is a Houston non-profit organization that provides free shotguns and training for single women and residents of high crime neighborhoods. They believe that giving guns to responsible citizens is a much better way of deterring crime than gun control legislation and buy backs. ACP plans to expand into 15 additional cities by the end of 2013, including Chicago and New York. Those two cities are attempting to become gun free and will no doubt put up heavy resistance to a free gun giveaway.
Residents of Oak Forest are complaining that their neighborhood is experiencing an increase in crime. They say they have experienced a recent surge in driveway robberies and home burglaries. Kyle Coplen who is the project’s founder said the group expects to train at least 50 Oak Forest residents and plans to place signs in their yards saying the neighborhood is armed.
Coplen who graduated from the University of Houston with a master’s degree in Public Administration said,
“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.”
According to the organization, it costs ACP about $300 to arm and train one person and about $20,000 to equip and entire neighborhood. As a non-profit, all of the costs are covered through donations.
Sandra Keller who is an Oak Forest resident is participating in the program because of the helplessness she felt after her furniture store was robbed a couple of years ago. She said,
“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.”
Houston City Councilwoman Ellen Cohen, who represents Oak Forest said, “I have serious concerns about more guns in homes.” However she also said she supports Second Amendment rights and believes that such a responsibility should include proper training and background checks which are two things the ACP organization requires.
The statistics show that cities with stricter gun controls actually have much higher murder rates. Case in point is Chicago. Illinois remains the only state in the country where it is illegal for anyone to carry a concealed weapon. Lawmakers recently introduced measures to restrict legal gun ownership even more. Yet Chicago recorded 500 plus murders in 2012.
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 saying,
“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.”