Firearms Ownership Madatory in Nelson, Ga.
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Firearms Ownership Madatory in Nelson, Ga.

The city council of Nelson in north Georgia voted in favor of mandatory gun ownership. The council members of a 1,300 resident town, located 50 miles north of Atlanta, voted without exception to approve the Family Protection Ordinance. This law proposes every household to own a firearm and ammunition to “provide for the emergency management of the city“ and to “provide for and protect the safety, security and general welfare of the city and its inhabitants.“

However, not every household will be obliged to follow. The measure excludes convicted felons and people with mental or physical disabilities, and also everyone who objects to gun ownership. No penalty for those who object or don’t comply is imposed by the ordinance, whatsoever.

Those who advocate the new measure say they want to make a stand on the gun rights at the time when President Barack Obama together with some states is pleading for more restrictions, following the Connecticut elementary school killings in December.

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Councilman Duane Cronic, who supported the ordinance said that he doesn’t believe that it will be enforced, but eventually it will make the town safer. Furthermore, he explained his stand by comparing the law with an alarm sign.“I likened it to a security sign that people put up in their front yards. Some people have security systems, some people don’t, but they put those signs up. I really felt like this ordinance was a security sign for our city. Basically it was a deterrent ordinance to tell potential criminals they might want to go on down the road a little bit.“

However, the underlying purpose for the ordinance is “opposition of any future attempt by the federal government to confiscate personal firearms,“ says the city council spokesman.

There were also those who opposed. One of residents, Lamar Kellet was one of five people who spoke duging the public comment period and one of two who stood against the ordinance. His strongest objection was that passing measures which aren’t intended to be enforced blurs the city’s laws. “Does this mean now 55 miles an hour speed limit means 65, 80, whatever you choose? There’s not a whole lot of difference. A law’s a law,” he remarked. Kellet also objected that the law won’t do any good in convincing people like him who don’t want a gun to procure one.

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Another two residents, Lawrence Cooper and his wife Nanette, support the measure.“It’s supporting gun rights flat out, and there is so much – not antipathy – but antagonism against gun ownership these days,” said Mr. Cooper. They don’t keep a gun on their property, but Lawrence, who is turning 52 added that the ordinance might encourage him to buy one.

The Police Chief, who is the town’s only lawman, comments that the city is far from the two sheriff’s offices, so the deputies may respond too late in the case of emergency. Having a gun at hand would help residents to take their protection into their own hands.

This measure of Nelson city council provides an image how various part of the country respond differently to the Connecticut elementary school massacre. While the representatives in more liberal states which have large urban population like New York and California are severing the gun rights, the rural and more conservative American heartland is moving in opposite direction, in favor of loosening restrictions, lifting bans, firearms education and even obligatory gun ownership.

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April 17, 2013
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