DETROIT (WJBK) - Last month, a Michigan U.S. Senate hopeful said he planned to put shotguns in the hands of the homeless. Two weeks later, Ellison made good on that plan and has armed a homeless man.
Libertarian candidate Brian Ellison posted video on his Senate campaign site of him giving a homeless man a shotgun.
Ellison claims it's not just a stunt. He says the man really is homeless and he's protecting his identity. It's part of Ellison's plan to arm the homeless because he says they can't protect themselves and unfair laws prevent them from buying guns because they don't have a permanent address.
In the video, Ellison shows the man trying to purchase a shotgun at a gun store and being turned down by the clerk, in compliance with the law.
"I gave him my personal shotgun that I had in my trunk that I've owned for about six years. We tried to buy it through the legal route and unfortunately the government doesn't allow someone without a legal address to buy a firearm so, we just gifted it to him," Ellison said.
Ellison, an Army vet, says he gave the man his personal Mossberg 500 and says the transaction was completely legal. Bill Kucyk, the owner of Action Impact who spent 31 years in law enforcement, says not so fast.
"I could as a private citizen, transfer this gun to you and I don't need government approval as a private citizen. However, if I know or should have known that you're not lawfully entitled to possess it, I've committed a crime by transferring that gun to you," Kucyk said.
Ellison also says in the video the gun recipient is not addicted to drugs or mentally ill. Kucyk says there are other criteria to consider - like a past criminal conviction among others.
"You can't be dishonorably discharged, you can't be addicted to a controlled substance, you have to be a U.S. citizen, you have to have a residence," Kucyk said.
Kuckyk says it's just irresponsible to give a gun to someone who has no way to secure it.
"What's he going to do - fall asleep under the overpass with a shotgun laying next to him? That is totally irresponsible. Independent of being illegal it's certainly irresponsible, that I can tell you," Kucyk said. "I'm concerned for this guy's safety and any police officer is going to tell you that."
But Ellison claims he's been in touch with the homeless man since giving him the gun last week and he's fine. He says he plans to arm more homeless people in the future.
"We're still raising money. We've got people that have offered to donate weapons. It's actually more helpful at this point if they are donated weapons because we'll be able to gift them and we won't have to worry about going through the background check for the people that don't have ID's. It's one way that we can help out more people," Ellison claims.