Do areas with an increased number of guns really enjoy less crime? That is what a Tucson group led by former mayoral candidate Shaun McClusky is planning to find out with a new campaign that will arm residents living in high-crime areas with free shotguns and training.
According to the Arizona Daily Star, McClusky’s group is raising money to purchase shotguns and provide training for Arizona residents living in mid-to-high-crime areas, provided they pass a background check. Leaflets and fliers are to be distributed to spread awareness and encourage residents to sign up.
McClusky said he chose Tucson because the City Council has failed to properly fund the Police Department, leaving residents vulnerable to criminals.
“We need to take back our city, and it needs to come back to the citizens and not the criminals,” McClusky said. “Right now, the criminal element is winning.”
McClusky said the group will purchase one-shell, single-break action shotguns with a box of ammunition for $205. With the addition of background checks and and training, McClusky said the costs should range between $340 to $400 per person. Depending on costs, the Arizona activist said the group has also considered pump-action shotguns, according to the Star.
McClusky said the group will donate money so that residents can undergo the background checks and purchase the weapons themselves.
In terms of litigation, the former mayoral candidate simply said: “bring it on.”
“Saying guns are responsible for killing people is like saying spoons are responsible for making people fat,” McClusky said. “If someone wants to bring me the publicity for free and sue me, bring it on.”
Thus far, and even in its very first days, the group has raised $12,000.
“We’ve hit the ground running,” McClusky said.
According to the Star, McClusky expects to start distributing the shotguns within 60 days.
Of course the pro-gun advocate’s plans are not sitting well with some residents who believe the initiative is a “pretty intense.”
“When we have a problems we try to get the neighbours together and work on solutions. This is something far outside what we would normally do,” said Midvale neighbourhood Association President Joe Miller. “This is pretty intense.”
Councilwoman Regina Romero, meanwhile, believe McClusky is “stereotyping” south-side residents and that he is promoting something “reckless.”
She said Midvale is a “safe, beautiful neighbourhood” and residents “don’t need a gun to survive.”
“If he wants to hand out guns to people, why doesn’t he hand them out around his neighbourhood?”
Councilman Steve Kozachik added that giving away loaded shotguns in high-crime areas to ensure people’s safety is “pure idiocy.
Kozachik also blasted the background checks as being a real measure for safety as it is a “well-known fact that the NICS (National Instant Criminal Background Check System) records are so poorly maintained that they might as well join the gun sellers who don’t do any background checks at gun shows.”
The Star noted that McClusky’s plans are part of a larger initiative based in Houston dubbed, “The Armed Citizens Project.”
When McClusky learned of the project, he thought it was an “absolutely wonderful” idea and would be perfect for Tucson.
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.