A Libertarian contender for Michigan’s US Senate seat is calling to arm homeless people with shotguns.
Brian Ellison says arming the homeless population with pump-action shotguns could reduce the crime rate, but he’d rather arm them with pistols.
“Frankly, I think the ideal weapon would be a pistol,” Ellison told The Guardian, “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.”
While concealed carry of pistols is illegal in Michigan without a permit, “Open-carrying a long gun is completely legal,” Ellison said.
“Getting them pistols is probably next to impossible. The pistols need to be registered, people have to have addresses.”
Ellison, a war veteran who served Iraq, points out homeless people are more likely to be victims of violent crime.
A statistic on homeless violence victimization highlighted at his website, Ellison4Senate.com, says 14% to 21% of the homeless population experiences violence, compared to only 2% of the general population.
“How long can we as a society sit back and allow peaceful citizens of this great country to be targets for those that view them as weak targets?” the former soldier asks.
“Why do so many people consider the #Homeless as sub-human. Is this really what we want in our society?” he wrote on Twitter Wednesday.
— Ellison for Senator (@Ellison4Senate) March 14, 2018
He also says arming the homeless goes to the very core of the Second Amendment.
“If you claim to be ‘pro-second amendment’ yet are opposed to the idea of these rights extending to people who do not have a permanent address, ask yourself why? Is there some exception within your sacred 2nd amendment that excludes those that do not have a home?” Ellison wrote on Facebook Wednesday.
A member of the anti-gun group Moms Demand Action says it sounds like a recipe for disaster.
“It’s true the homeless are more likely to be victims then the population at large,” anti-gun activist Carmi Finn told Fox2Detroit. “But I think giving them shotguns is not going to help them one little bit.”
“Also the issue of safe storage,” Finn stated. “If you do not have a home, you do not have a gun safe and you don’t have any place to safely store that gun to protect yourself or the people around you, or to keep it from being stolen by other criminals on the street.”
Ellison’s plan includes raising money for 20 pump style shotguns which will be handed out to select recipients who’ve passed background checks and received proper training.
“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,” Ellison told The Guardian.
A GoFundMe page set up by Ellison to “Help the Homeless” has raised over $260 out of $10,000.
The libertarian candidate will face-off with three-term Democrat incumbent Debbie Stabenow and other contenders in Michigan’s midterm elections to be held on November 6, 2018.