DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Calvin Carter lives in South Dallas' Sunny Acres neighborhood, an area that has worked hard to keep crime out -- but it has been a struggle.
Last July Dallas Police suited up in riot gear and tried to control an angry mob right behind Carter's home.
Officers were called to the area for what turned out to be a setup between rivalry gangs over drug turf.
It ended with one man being fatally shot by a Dallas officer.
But a new program is getting Carter's attention.
The Armed Citizen Project is raising money to give free guns to residents living in high-crime areas and to single women -- so they can defend themselves against criminals.
Based in Houston-- the group now wants to expand to Dallas.
"It sounds good but you have to be careful," said Carter.
"It's good to be able to have weapons in case something happens to you or your family when you're not there, that weapon could save them."
In order to get a free gun you have to pass a background check and complete a safety training course.
You also have to have lived at your current address for at least a year.
The group's gun of choice is a single-shot shotgun.
Gun expert Tom Mannewitz with Target Masters in Garland told CBS11's Sharrie Williams that the group may have chosen the single-shot shotgun because it's one of the least expensive weapons to purchase.
But Mannewitz says it's also the most effective weapon for protecting you and your home.
"With a handgun, the projectile is very slender, so it's easier to miss your target," explained Mannewitz. " With a shotgun, even at distances of 12 feet -- which is average distance across the room -- you have a pattern of 6 inches in diameter so even if you're off, you're still likely to have something in the target."
The free gun program is controversial -- and drawing criticism.
"That appalls me completely," said Lynne Weber. "I'm against having guns in our society. I want gun control. I think doing that would not empower women but endanger them and everyone around them."
Gun sales have spiked nationwide in the past months as the debate over gun control has been front and center after the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut killed 20 children and seven adults.
But only time will tell if this free gun program will resonate with residents living in North Texas.
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