06.11.1312:29 PM ET

Group Arms Single Women With Free Guns

To defend themselves in tough Houston neighborhoods.

A Texas nonprofit aims to fight violence against women by giving them guns. The Armed Citizen Project is providing single women in crime-ridden Houston neighborhoods with free pump-action shotguns as long as they complete a 4- to 5-hour firearms class and pass a background check, according to MSNBC’s Sarah Muller. On its website, the Armed Citizen Project claims to be “fighting the war on women, one free shotgun at a time.” The group’s 29-year-old founder, Kyle Coplen, said, “Generally, women who live alone have reached out to us for a reason. Having a firearm in the home is a force equalizer.” However, studies show that having a firearm in the home increases the likelihood of women being killed: according to a 2003 University of Pennsylvania study, women with guns at home are three times more likely to be murdered than those without. Nevertheless, while the Armed Citizens Project has only given away 35 guns so far, it has ambitious plans to expand nationwide.