GOP Senate candidate proposes arming homeless people with shotguns

Michigan candidate Brian Ellison says giving homeless people pump-action shotguns may help deter the violent crime they face

By: AP

A Michigan candidate for US Senate has proposed arming homeless people with pump-action shotguns in an effort to reduce crime.

Brian Ellison, who is running against Democratic incumbent Debbie Stabenow, says homeless people are “constantly victims of violent crime” and providing them with firearms would provide a deterrent.

Ellison, a Libertarian who is expected to be the party’s candidate in the November midterm election, said he had settled on pump-action shotguns for practicality purposes.

“Frankly I think the ideal weapon would be a pistol,” he told the AP, “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.“Getting them pistols is probably next to impossible. The pistols need to be registered, people have to have addresses.”

Carrying a concealed pistol is illegal without a permit, Ellison said, “whereas open-carrying a long gun is completely legal”.

“So we thought that pump-action shotguns were a suitable alternative to a pistol.”

Ellison, a former soldier who has served in Iraq, said he decided to run for office “just to try and make a difference”. As well as the shotgun plan, he would focus on minority rights and said he would oppose foreign military intervention.

Regarding the pump-action shotguns, Ellison said he and his team would aim to “pre-qualify” homeless people who wanted shotguns and were deemed suitable candidates to own them.

The homeless people would not be forced to carry pump-action shotguns, Ellison said.

“The first thing that we’re gonna do is ask them if they think this is something that would benefit them. We’re certainly not trying to force anything on anybody.”

Ammunition would be provided with the shotguns, probably in five- or six-shell magazines, Ellison said.

More shells would be provided if the owners legitimately used their guns to defend themselves, however, if people spent their ammunition “shooting cans in somebody’s private property” then they would not be given more shells.

Ellison said he did not think the plan was dangerous.

“Well, are you worried about the police being armed with military weapons?” he asked.

“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.”

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