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Oak Forest, a Houston neighborhood, is being touted as the first community in the United States to become equipped and trained by the Armed Citizen Project. The non-profit Houston-based group is giving away shotguns to residents of high-crime neighborhoods and to single women as well.
While some states are wasting their time with ill-guided gun buy-back programs, Texas is opting for a far more realistic version of crime control. Those who believe that Second Amendment-infringing laws such as semi-automatic weapons bans and ammo background checks will deter violent crime or prevent another mass shooting could not be more wrong. Such laws will only place more obstacles in front of law-abiding citizens who only want to defend themselves. Criminals rarely ever garner their guns legally, a habit which will not change regardless of new laws that adversely impact the right to bear arms.
The Armed Citizen Project hopes to expand its training classes and shotgun giveaways to 15 more American cities before the end of the year. Towns where the gun safety and usage courses may be offered include San Antonio, Dallas, Chicago, New York, and Tucson. Chicago has both some of the most stringent guns laws in the United States, and interestingly enough, the highest crime rate as well. The Illinois city should be proof enough for liberal lawmakers that new gun laws are not the way to go – but sadly, they have tunnel vision when it comes to weapons legislation.
Armed Citizen Project founder Kyle Coplan stated that his organization expects to train about 50 Oak Forest residents. The Houston neighborhood has reportedly experienced in increase in burglaries and driveway robberies recently.
The 29-year-old gun project founder had this to say about the gun training and shotgun giveaways:
“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.”
The local police department appears to support the self-defense training as well. Harris County Precinct Constable Alan Rosen, who works in the Oak Forest neighborhood, acknowledged that citizens have the right to protect themselves. Rosen also said that after residents have been properly trained in shotgun use, he is all for keeping the weapon inside the home for protection.
The Texas constable’s mindset is one that Chicago and New York politicians should adopt, if they truly want to thwart crime on city streets. When it is next to impossible for a law-abiding citizen to purchase and carry a firearm, they become easy targets for criminals. As an example, four Chicago neighborhoods were recently named on the list of 25 most dangerous areas in the United States.
A total of 10 shootings happened in Chicago over Mother’s Day weekend this year. Residents of the Auburn Gresham neighborhood in Chicago have a one-in-nine chance of becoming a violent crime victim. In contrast, there are probably only nine or ten violent crimes (if that many) in my entire county each year – we are well armed. A total of 51 percent of children in the Chicago neighborhood live below the poverty level, a statistic that is similar to the demographics of my rural county as well.
Harvard public health professor David Hemenway appears to be among the liberal elite who continue to ignore both crime statistics and a common sense approach to self-defense. Hemenway had this to say when asked about the Armed Citizen Project:
“Mostly what guns seem to go is make situations more lethal because most crime has nothing to do with guns. When there is a gun in the mix, there is much more likely to be somebody dying or somebody incredibly hurt.”
The Harvard professor was right about one thing: if an intruder enters our home, somebody will end up on the floor either incredibly hurt or dead – it just won’t be a member of my family.
A descriptive statement from the Armed Citizen Project reads:
“Gun-control advocates often argue that an increase in guns in an area will lead to an increase in crime, while gun-rights advocates often believe that fewer guns result in more crime. While both sides often argue that their opponents’ policies will result in more crime, gun-control proponents have largely been the victors when it comes to policy implementation. Pro-gun activists have largely been content to simply fend off new potential gun control laws. It is our belief that gun-rights activists must take the offensive, and actively encourage the increased presence of defensive weapons in society. Both sides believe that their policies will result in less crime, and it is about time that our side begins to act with the conviction and courage that it will take to win the debate.”
Both gun control and gun rights advocates can agree that determining crime is the ultimate goal, but both factions are likely too far apart on how to accomplish the task to ever put forth a substantial plan to work together to solve the problem. Second Amendment supporters, Republicans, and Libertarians cherish the Constitution and are unwilling to give away any of the rights our Founding Fathers had the foresight to include. All too many liberals are willing to deem the Constitution “outdated” and change laws to allow more government control of our daily lives.
The philosophical differences prevent the far left from looking past politically correct talking points and actually taking steps to address why violent crime is running rampant in some neighborhoods. Mass shootings are heart-wrenching to hear about, especially when children are involved. As horrific as such events are, they are thankfully far more rare than the violent crimes which plague our country on a daily basis.
The Armed Citizen Project should be heralded for the proactive efforts they are taking to help Americans learn how to protect themselves. If successful, the project will create “gun rich zones” which could very likely deter violent crime and burglaries. The stated primary goal of the Armed Citizen Project is to effectively determine if there is a causal link between an increase in guns and the level of crime.