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Group Hopes To Give Away Guns In New York, Make Criminals Scared

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A group wants to arm New York City residents with shotguns for free, in order to put some fear into criminals.

As 1010 WINS' John Montone reported Tuesday night, the Armed Citizen Project wants to arm law-abiding citizens. The group's founder, Kyle Coplen, told 1010 WINS the group will give free pump-action shotguns to New Yorkers who pass background checks and take a safety course.

"It's our hypothesis that criminals do not want to die in your hallway. We think that society should use that fear to deter crime," Coplen said in a report by Mike Puccinelli of WBBM-TV, CBS 2 Chicago. "We're giving folks the tools with which to defend their life, liberty and property, we're training them how to use the weapons and empowering citizens."

Group Hopes To Give Away Guns In New York, Make Criminals Scared

"Sheila," of Brownsville, Brooklyn, said there are already too many guns in her neighborhood. She also did not agree with Copeland's claim that if law-abiding people are armed, criminals will be afraid and crime will drop.

"There's got to be a better way. There's got to be a better way," she said. "That is not the solution. Definitely not."

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly agreed. He said it has "never been proven that increasing the number of armed citizens reduces crime."

The theory was popularized by economist John Lott, who wrote in his 1998 book, More Guns, Less Crime that violent crime rates drop in states with concealed carry laws because criminals fear potentially armed would-be victims.

The Armed Citizen Project plans also to give out free shotguns in 14 other cities. The group announced its plans at a convention in Texas this past weekend.

In Houston, Coplen said he hopes to arm one-fourth of the neighborhood where his group is now giving away guns. Then signs would be put up warning criminals that the neighborhood is armed.

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