University of Houston grad student gives neighbors guns to fight crime

Student has created non-profit called "The Armed Citizens Project"

By Andy Cerota - Anchor/Reporter

HOUSTON - A University of Houston grad student who says he is fed up with crime in his neighborhood is giving his neighbors guns in an effort to fight crime.

The student, Kyle Coplen, says he lives in Sharpstown, one of two Houston neighborhoods that he's currently focused on.

Some have called Coplen's goal farfetched, while others say it sounds like he's onto something.

"Criminals don't have any interest in dying in your hallway and we should exploit that fear in order to deter crime," said Coplen.

Coplen said fighting crime should no longer be left to the professionals. He said he sees well-trained gun owners as an untapped resource like a secret weapon of sorts.

In fact, his beliefs are so strong, Coplen said he intends to raise enough money to arm 100 law abiding citizens in high crime areas with shotguns, like Sharpstown.

"Over the course of the year, we are going to do a policy analysis and see what the crime rates actually do as result," said Coplen. "Of course, it largely depends on us getting the word out that these areas do exist that way the criminals will know."

Coplen has even created a non-profit, calling it "The Armed Citizens Project." The project is being launched as the national debate over gun control takes center stage in our nation's capitol.

Some Sharpstown residents have serious doubts about the plan.

"I don't think that's the way to go," said Betsey Campos.

"Oh, I don't know how much good, you know, that will do," said Margaret Sillah.

Others believe Coplen is on the right tracks.

"Probably the best weapon for home defense," said Guy Compton.

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