Armed Citizens Project Is Now Offering Free Shotguns to People in Florida

The Armed Citizens Project does exactly what its name implies: It hands out guns for free. Now the Texas-based nonprofit is turning its bullet-blasting beneficence on the Sunshine State.

Promising to "deter crime by empowering neighborhoods," the ACP has already begun distributing shotguns in Orlando's Sunshine Gardens neighborhood.

Two fun facts about Sunshine Gardens:

1. It's 92 percent white (in a state that is 78 percent white).

2. It's only 25 miles south of Sanford -- you know, the town where George Zimmerman killed unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin.

Now, you might ask yourself: What the f--- is the sense in giving away shotguns in a place so close to a tragic and now-infamous shooting?

Could it be a thinly veiled ploy to garner national headlines so the nonprofit rakes in donations (used to buy guns, which are then handed out amid fanfare and even more donations)?

Not so, says the ACP.

"Pro-gun activists have largely been content to simply fend off new potential gun control laws," says the group's website. "It is our belief that gun-rights activists must take the offensive, and actively encourage the increased presence of defensive weapons in society."

Never mind evidence that guns make countries and communities less safe, not more. Or that violent crime is at a 20-year low in Florida. The ACP wants to give you a shotgun and then see what happens to crime in your community.

"It's not one of those things when we hand a gun to someone and don't hear from them again," president Ron Ritter told CBS. "We're going to keep in touch if someone is receiving a donation."

Here's how it works.

"All participants that wish to receive a weapon, and take our training, will receive a shotgun," the website explains, adding that recipients must pass a federal background check. "There are many reasons for us to use this type of weapon, and it will be our standard weapon of use. They are easy to use, less expensive than other weapons, and effective against intruders."

What happens if one of ACP's shotguns isn't used to defend America's freedom but rather to do harm? For instance, what if the gun is stolen (as more than 600,000 are per year) and used in a crime?

"Many people have asked me if I am concerned about the potential liability that I may incur from this project. The short answer is no," the website says. "Even if, heaven-forbid, one of our weapons is misused in a manner causing injury or death, one would have to accept the premise that guns, not people, cause crime, in order to find us liable. I will not play into the hands of the anti-gun establishment. The future belongs to the bold, we must fight."

The ACP also promises to seek high-crime areas for its shotguns, so you too could soon be gripping your own deadly weapon, Miami.

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Michael E. Miller was a staff writer at Miami New Times for five years. His work for New Times won many national awards, including back-to-back-to-back Sigma Delta Chi medallions. He now covers local enterprise for the Washington Post.