Shaun McClusky, a former Tucson mayoral candidate, is spearheading a plan to hand out free shotguns to the citizens of Tucson. He hopes to empower law-abiding citizens by making criminals think twice about breaking the law.
Donors have already given $12,000 to the cause. That may seem like a hefty sum, but McClusky estimates that $12,000 will only be enough to equip 32 citizens. He believes that the program will need to spend $375 per citizen, which includes the cost of the shotgun, ammunition, training, and background checks.
Unsurprisingly, some local officials aren’t particularly thrilled by the news. Councilman Steve Kozachik argued, "To suggest that giving away loaded shotguns in high-crime areas will make anybody safer is pure idiocy.” He added, “This is coming from a purported leader in the local Republican Party, the same group who last year auctioned off a Glock and a rifle as fundraisers. Now they’re giving them away in our community? They’re totally out of touch with the values of this city.”
Councilwoman Regina Romero agrees with her colleague; she feels that the Midvale neighborhood, an area that McClusky hopes to arm, is a safe neighborhood that doesn’t need any guns.
Travis Pratt, a professor of criminology and criminal justice from Arizona State University, has expressed mixed feelings about the plan. He pointed to studies that suggest that an increase in the number of guns leads to an increase in local crime. He also called the move a “dangerous political stunt.”
On the other hand, though, Pratt acknowledged that in this case shotguns might not lead to increased crime rates. Shotguns are heavy, bulky, don’t hold many shells, and they’re relatively difficult to hide. These factors give shotguns a limited appeal for criminals, so McClusky’s shotguns may very well stay out of the hands of criminals and in the locked houses of law-abiding citizens where they belong.
McClusky isn’t alone in his social experiment. He was inspired by a similar program in Houston, Texas. Depending on how successful these two programs are, Americans may see similar gun donation drives popping up across the country.
Source: USA Today