By Jeff Nichols
Kyle Coplen, Executive Director, Armed Citizen Project (ACP), is the quintessential Eagle Scout, is the kind of man that saw a problem and figured out a way to overcome the problem and help others protect themselves, their families and property.
“I visited the home of a WWII vet whose home was vandalized. The hero, who earned two purple hearts in WWII, was at a doctor appointment, and his home was broken into and severely vandalized,” he said. “Seeing the damage made me start to think of things that society could do to deter these kinds of crimes. That night, I came up with the idea to train and arm mid-high crime neighborhoods, and to measure the deterrent effects of increased firearm ownership.”
The ACP was created because of the idea that if more people are properly armed and trained, it would be a deterrent to criminals who are likely to target vulnerable people who have no way of protecting themselves. “We are committed to doing two things; arming entire neighborhoods, and arming single women/mothers from the broader community.”
Examining existing crime data, working directly with local law enforcement and with the community to find the areas that are in most need of assistance is how the ACP chooses an area to arm. Once a neighborhood is chosen a free shotgun is offered to households and of those who request assistance through their website with single women/mothers being first priorities, providing the owner passes a background check and takes our legal, safety, and tactical training.
12 and 20 gauge pump-action shotguns is what the program provides to those in need. “Shotguns are cheaper and we can arm more and the sound of racking a shell is scarier to an intruder,” Coplen said. “We are arming folks with a gateway gun. Once they feel safe at home, they may want to take that next step and feel safe in the car, or in public.” Also with the lower value to criminals, a shotgun is more likely to stay in the home.
“We have given guns and training to 30 people so far. Our efforts are going to ramp up in the coming weeks, and we hope to give away up to 1,000 shotguns by the end of the year,” Coplen stated.
The growing program began in Houston, and it is anticipated being in 15 cities by the end of the year. “We have already announced, in addition to Houston, Tucson, Dallas, San Antonio, and Indianapolis. In five years, we hope to be in every major city in the United States,” he said. “The community has been very supportive. The only pushback comes from those who are already have proven that they possess a hatred for firearms.”
If you would like to become part of the ACP in your area, you can do so by simply by contacting the program through their website. That is how the program expanded into Tucson. “A big factor in expanding into a new city, is finding a competent and motivated director, Coplen stated. “If someone wants us to expand into their city, they should contact us. Also, we expand into cities that have shown an inclination to support us. For example, we chose to expand into San Antonio after noticing a large amount of donations from the San Antonio area. We want to support the communities that support us.”
It is our hypotheses that criminals do not want to die in your hallway, and that society should use that fear to deter crime.
For more information or if you would like to Donate visit www.armedcitizenproject.org