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Group to give away shotguns in Fla.

ORLANDO, Fla. — A gun group is offering free shotguns to residents in Florida, billing it as a way for people to protect themselves against crime.

Members of the Florida chapter of the Armed Citizen Project, which is based in Texas, began advertising the program on fliers in the Sunshine Gardens neighborhood near Orlando. The neighborhood is about 25 miles south of Sanford, a city thrust into an international debate about self-defense and race after neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman killed Trayvon Martin, an unarmed 17-year-old.

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Zimmerman says he shot the teen in self-defense and was cleared of all charges in Martin’s death.

Ron Ritter, president of the Armed Citizen Project of Florida, said the donated guns will reach their new owners through participating dealers or gun shops. The new owners will have to pass a background check and complete gun safety training, Ritter said.

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