Antelope Hunting photo

Despite the growing popularity of gun buyback programs throughout the country as a way to cut down on violent crime and get illegal guns off the street, a new grassroots program in Texas is trying a different approach–giving single women in small, high-crime areas a shotgun and showing them how to use it.

The Armed Citizen Project, a Houston-based nonprofit, was founded on the principle that providing guns to responsible owners is a better way to deter crime.

USA Today recently interviewed Kyle Coplen, the project founder, at a shooting range where he and other volunteers were helping train north Houston residents on how to use a shotgun. Coplen says he plans to expand the program in at least 15 other cities, including Chicago and New York, by the end of the year.

“When we have a crime wave, we don’t just say let’s just increase police and that’s all we do. We do multiple things. I see this as one aspect of what we can do,” said Coplen.

The article goes on to say it takes approximately $300 to arm a citizen, or $20,000 to arm a neighborhood.

Of course, the initiative has its share of opponents who say it would increase the risk of accidents and injury. What do you think, is this a good idea that should be expanded?