A nonprofit group in Houston, TX known for helping single mothers has begun an ambitious new effort to help an entire neighborhood, and ultimately, the entire nation. This nonprofit stands apart from most others because of how it is trying to help. Namely, they arm single mothers and other vulnerable groups in society. They are the Armed Citizen Project.
The group formed earlier this year and raised funds to purchase and provide firearms, specifically shotguns, along with legal, safety, and tactical training, to single mothers and single women across the city of Houston. The group’s founder and executive director, Kyle Coplen, says they have already helped about 15 women to better protect themselves and their children. Coplen is a faculty member at Rice University and directs their aquatics program.
The Armed Citizen Project is now expanding, according to Coplen. “We are now stepping up our efforts to train and arm an entire neighborhood. We’ve sent mailers out to the targeted area and people began contacting us.”
“Starting May 5, 2013, we will begin weekly trainings for the residents and begin helping them to obtain a shotgun,” Copeln stated. “We do all of this for free.”
Coplen said he picked the specific neighborhood based on available crime data and the personal experiences of a World War II veteran who had been the victim of crime in the area. “The hero is 93-years old with two Purple Hearts. He had just lost his wife and his home was attacked while he was at a doctors appointment. Vandals broke in and destroyed his home and memories.” Coplen added, “For such a national hero to be made to live in such fear in his last days, to be so violated, I decided we had to do something.”
The group is also close to beginning training citizens in Tucson, Arizona. Coplen says his group is close to finishing a plan to be in 15 US cities by the end of 2013. “Cities like Detroit, Indianapolis, and Chicago have a high crime-rate and many residents live in fear, especially vulnerable communities such as single mothers and the elderly. We are looking forward to helping them exercise their rights and to realize self-empowerment.”
Though Coplen is faculty at Rice University, he is near completing his Masters of Public Administration at the University of Houston. He said he intends to do a multi-city, multi-year study on how his group’s efforts influence crime rates in the specific areas they serve.