A gun advocacy group announced this weekend their hope to distribute free shotguns to unarmed people living in some of the most high-crime areas of 15 U.S. cities, including Chicago.
The Houston-based Armed Citizen Project announced at the National Rifle Association convention that they want to expand their gun giveaway program to hundreds of people living in major cities by the end of the year.
Kyle Coplen, the group's founder, said he believes the program -- which has already been launched in Houston and Tucson -- will help deter crime. New York and Detroit are also on the group's list of cities they are hoping to reach with their project. According to WGN, 100 people in Houston have already signed up.
"It is our hypothesis that criminals have no desire to die in your hallway. We want to use that fear," Coplen, 29, previously explained of his project.
The shotgun giveaways are funded by private donations, according to ABC Houston.
According to CBS Chicago, the group is checking with their legal team to ensure that their gun giveaway program would be legal in Chicago given the city's typically more restrictive gun laws.
The Armed Citizen Project's website describes that the group is "choosing mid-high crime neighborhoods in cities across America, and offering defensive weapons to citizens that can pass a background check, and that will take our safety, legal, and tactical training."
Chicago has been plagued by gun violence in recent years, resulting in a homicide rate surpassing 500 last year for the first time in four years. Though homicides this year are off to a historically low start, 20 people were wounded citywide over the course of 10 hours the first day temperatures in the area surpassed 80 degrees last week.