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U.S. Senate hopeful Brian Ellison has a shocking plan for reducing violent crime: arming the homeless population with shotguns.
Ellison, a Libertarian candidate in Michigan, said that homeless people are common victims of violent crimes, and suggested that arming them with shotguns would help prevent violent incidents from occurring.
Ellison told the Guardian that while pistols for the homeless would be his first choice, due to gun laws, pump-action shotguns would be a fitting alternative.
"Frankly I think the ideal weapon would be a pistol, but due to the licensing requirements in the state we're going to have a hard enough time getting homeless people shotguns as it is," he said, adding, "Getting them pistols is probably next to impossible. The pistols need to be registered, people have to have addresses."
Whereas carrying a concealed pistol is illegal without a permit, open-carrying a long gun is completely legal, Ellison pointed out.
Ellison also stated that he and his team would "pre-qualify" homeless people who wanted shotguns in order to make sure they would be suitable gun owners. The program would also be entirely voluntary.
"The first thing that we're gonna do is ask them if they think this is something that would benefit them," he explained. "We're certainly not trying to force anything on anybody."
Homeless people who consented to owning guns would also be provided with ammunition, and would be provided with more in the future if they needed it, provided that they'd used what they'd already been given to defend themselves rather than "shooting cans in somebody's private property."
Ellison's proposal that arming homeless people with shotguns would be an effective crime deterrent is at odds with research on the subject; a 1998 study in the Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery revealed that a gun is 22 times more likely to be used in a criminal assault, an accidental death or injury, a suicide attempt, or a homicide, than it is for self-defense. After all, guns equal more homicide, not less.
Ellison doesn't think his plan is dangerous.
"Well, are you worried about the police being armed with military weapons?" he remarked. "I am. The world we live in is a scary world, where the police who used to dress in short-sleeved shirts and carry a revolver now have long rifles with scopes and bulletproof vests and armoured vehicles. And quite frankly that scares me much more than a homeless person trying to defend themselves with a shotgun."
Ellison, a former soldier who has served in Iraq, is expected to be the Libertarian party's candidate in the upcoming midterm elections; should he be selected, he'll be up against Democratic incumbent Debbie Stabenow for the U.S. Senate seat in November.
[Header Photo: Picture of Brian Ellison, sourced from Facebook]