Kyle Coplen may not be a sidesaddle gunslinger — the 29-year-old got his master’s in public administration from the University of Houston this spring — but he can handle a weapon. And he is working to make sure you can, too.
Coplen is the founder and head of the Armed Citizen Project (ACP), a Houston-based nonprofit that trains single women and residents of crime-ridden neighborhoods in firearms use — and then arms them. It’s a small-scale effort so far, but Coplen has lofty targets. ACP aims to arm citizens in 15 cities nationwide by the end of 2013, hoping to collect in the process valuable data about the effects of gun ownership on crime rates.
He was one of the many Houston locals who lent a hand when 93-year-old World War II veteran Elbert Wood returned home from a doctor’s appointment in January to find his home vandalized. “I started to think about what we as a society could do to deter home-invasion crimes,” Coplen says. He found the answer in the Second Amendment. The result will be, he hopes, a wave of “new, responsible gun owners.”