Moved by Giffords' advocacy, the Tucson City Council recently approved a measure requiring background checks at gun shows held on city property. City officials said the shotgun giveaway program appears to be legal, so they can't shut it down.
One of the neighborhoods targeted by the program is Pueblo Gardens, an ethnically diverse, blue-collar neighborhood in southern Tucson where residents say occasional shootings, drug busts and car thefts are not uncommon.
The no-frills landscape is dotted with pickup trucks, palm trees, barred windows, cacti, chain-link fences and toy-littered lawns. Many residents own guns, if only because of the handful of sex offenders who call the area home. More than 90 percent of the humble, single-story homes are occupied by renters.
Pueblo Gardens could benefit from a public-safety campaign, but some residents say they are appalled that anyone would think the answer is more guns.
"We could take that $400 per shotgun and give it to these people so they could go buy groceries, pay rent, pay their utility bills, something useful," said neighborhood association president Cindy Ayala. "Vigilantism is not the answer."
McClusky argues that, like signs posted in yards advertising alarm systems, signs that warn the homeowners have guns would get the message across.
"I'd like to prevent them from becoming a victim," he said.
At least 13 single women in Houston have already benefited from the program.
Tiffany Braggs, 44, said she had never owned or fired a gun before she signed up for The Armed Citizen Project in Houston after her condominium management board warned residents of growing crime.
"I feel a little bit more secure knowing that I can defend my home and my children," said Braggs, who now plans to buy a handgun to keep in her purse.
Alan M. Gottlieb, founder of the Second Amendment Foundation in Bellevue, Wash., said he expects to see more gun giveaways as President Obama and other Democrats call for gun restrictions.
"All this is happening because it's a pushback," Gottlieb said. "If others weren't screaming for more control, you wouldn't see all the sales for guns and ammunition."
For more information about the national gun giveaway program, visit http://www.armedcitizenproject.org.