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May 16, 2013 12:27 PM by Sam Salzwedel

Project closer to giving away shotguns

TUCSON - The Armed Citizens Project has found a way to buy inexpensive shotguns to give away in neighborhoods with high crime rates.

Shaun McClusky heard about a gun giveaway in Houston and decided to bring it to Tucson. He has been working with Tommy Rompel at Black Weapons Armory.

"Everyone has the right to keep and bear arms," Rompel said, "but the reality is, not everyone can afford to do so."

Gun violence has decreased over the past 20 years, according to Department of Justice statistics. Rompel attributes that to increased gun ownership.

"I do believe the more firearms out there, the more prevention there will be to crime," Rompel said.

Sal Baldenegro is giving away school supplies in response to the shotgun giveaway.

"This is just irresponsible," he said. "It's dangerous."

He has already given away sports equipment in Midvale Park.

"The more that we can support our children in their education," Baldenegro said, "the result is going to be lower crime throughout the community."

He needed help, so he called Tucson City Councilman Steve Koazachik.

"McClusky can run around talking about shotguns and ammunition," Kozachik said. "We're talking about helping teachers out, helping the districts out and helping these families out with school supplies."

Baldenegro said he has raised about $1,000 along with some supplies. He wants to hold a big giveaway in August before school starts.

Rompel does not have a problem with Baldenegro's response.

"I don't think it's a counterpoint," Rompel said. "I think just about everyone involved in Armed Citizens Project would also support a similar program to help children."

The Project will buy Maverick brand, 6-shot, pump-action shotguns for $165 each, and Warrior School will train the recipients, according to McClusky.

Black Weapons Armory will receive the guns and background check participants. The guns will also come with locks.

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