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Texas Group Gives Away Guns to Empower Women

A Texas non profit group, The Armed Citizen Project wants to stop violence against women–by giving away free guns.   While the national debate over gun control rages on, the ACP has begun training and arming single women and single moms with pump action shotguns.
 
On its website, the group describes itself as “dedicated to training and arming vulnerable women” and “fighting the war on women, one free shotgun at a time.” The group is also geared toward providing residents of high-crime neighborhoods with firearms at no cost as long as they complete a 4-to-5 hour firearms class and pass a background check.  A recent study conducted by the Harvard Injury Control Research Center suggested women are in fact less safe with guns in the home. It found that women living in states with more accessibility to guns are at a greater risk for violent death via “unintentional gun deaths, suicides and homicide, particularly firearm suicides and firearm homicides.”
 
The Armed Citizen Project started equipping Houston-area women with free firearms in March, then rolled out phase two, centered around the city’s Oak Forest neighborhood, in early May. It appears to be a relatively small operation at this stage–they have given away only 35 guns to date but the group aims to saturate neighborhoods with defensive weapons, and measuring the effect that a heavily armed society has on crime rates.  
 
Kyle Coplen, the group’s 29-year-old founder argues that guns help protect citizens from potentially dangerous home invaders–an aspect that appeals to women who tend to be physically smaller than the stereotypical burly male robber. “Generally, women who live alone have reached out to us for a reason,” he said.  “Having a firearm in the home is a forced equalizer.” 
 
The jury is still out on that one though - A 2003 study from the University of Pennsylvania indicated that a woman with a gun in her home was nearly three times more likely to be murdered compared to a woman without a gun in the home.
 
The Armed Citizen Project has ambitious plans to expand into other cities soon: Tucson, Dallas, San Antonio, Indianapolis Detroit, Chicago, New York, New Orleans, Baltimore and Atlanta.
 


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