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Armed citizen’ campaign in Arizona promises free shotguns for residents in crime-ridden neighbourhoods

— A campaign promising free shotguns for people to protect themselves in this Arizona city has divided some residents in a community still reeling from a shooting rampage in 2011 that killed six people, left a congresswoman and several others wounded, and made Tucson a symbol of gun violence in America.

The Armed Citizen Project is part of a national campaign to give shotguns to single women and homeowners in the nation’s crime-ridden neighbourhoods, an effort that comes amid a national debate on gun control after mass shootings in Arizona, Colorado and Connecticut.

While towns in Idaho, Utah, Virginia and Pennsylvania have debated ordinances recommending gun ownership, the gun giveaway effort appears to be the first of its kind.

“If you are not willing to protect the citizens of Tucson, someone is going to do it, why not me? Why not have armed citizens protecting themselves,” said Shaun McClusky, a real estate agent who plans to start handing out shotguns by May.

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