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Program To Provide Residents With Free Shotguns To Defend Against Criminals

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File photo of shotguns. (credit: George Frey/Getty Images)

File photo of shotguns. (credit: George Frey/Getty Images)

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TUCSON, Ariz. (CBS Las Vegas/AP) — A former mayoral candidate in Tucson, Ariz., is launching a privately funded program to provide residents of a crime-prone area with free shotguns so they can defend themselves against criminals.

Shaun McClusky says the program modeled after one recently launched in Houston would provide training and enough money to buy a basic shotgun to residents who pass background checks. McClusky’s program has so far raised $12,000.

McClusky says citizens need to do more to protect themselves because city government is failing to do the job.

“We need to take back our city, and it needs to come back to the citizens and not the criminals,” McClusky told the Arizona Daily Star. “Right now, the criminal element is winning.”

The Daily Star reported Wednesday that several City Council members say the effort is out of touch with community needs and values.

“To suggest that giving away … loaded shotguns in high-crime areas will make anybody safer is pure idiocy,” Councilman Steve Kozachik told the Daily Star. “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.”

McClusky withdrew from the 2011 Tucson mayoral race because of questions about his ballot eligibility.

The effort in Houston is called the Armed Citizens Project.

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(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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