US Senate candidate calls for homeless to be armed with shotguns  

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A US Senate candidate is campaigning to arm “victimised” homeless people with pump-action shotguns so they can defend themselves against violent crime.

Brian Ellison, a Libertarian Party candidate in Michigan hoping to run in November’s midterm election, believes the proposed initiative would help reduce violent offences against the homeless.  

The former US Army veteran, who served in Iraq from 2003-04, believes America’s homeless population is “one of the most marginalised and victimised groups” in society and are “significantly more likely” to be victims of a crime compared to the general public.

“Not only are they constantly under threat from would-be criminals, but they are also under threat from governments at various levels that criminalise activities that homeless people rely on for survival,” says Mr Ellison.

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“I believe it is time we take a stand against the injustice and victimisation of the homeless.”

Brian Ellison, a Michigan candidate for the US Senate, has proposed arming homeless people with pump-action shotgunsCredit:
Brian Ellison / Facebook 

The father-of-two has started a crowdfunding campaign to raise $10,000 (£7,000) to purchase 20 pump-style shotguns for Michigan’s homeless population.

All recipients would be required to pass a background check, be of legal age to own a firearm, and receive training on safety and operation of the firearm.

Mr Ellison added he has been “extremely disheartened” by criticism of the campaign and the “complete lack of respect and dignity” shown towards the state’s rough sleepers.

“Aside from the name calling, many people seem to think that if given a means to protect themselves, these people would instantly become violent criminals,” he wrote on Facebook.

“If your immediate reaction to this initiative was shock and horror, please take a moment to think about why. Is it because you see the homeless as unworthy of protection? Is it because you see the homeless as less than human?

“Vulnerable people need to be afforded the same opportunity to protect themselves as people who live in gated communities or have private (or public) security forces.”

About | US gun laws

Mr Ellison told The Guardian that the ideal weapon would be a pistol, however a registered address is needed under US gun laws, while no permit is required to openly carry a rifle or shotgun.

Critics say that safely storing the guns would be one major issue with the scheme, while performing background checks on those with ID could also be a stumbling block.

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