You Must Buy A Gun! Except, Not Really.

Gun targetI learned by watching Bill Maher, that not one, but two towns in Georgia have laws requiring – requiring – heads of households to own a gun.  Kennesaw, GA has had its law on the books since 1982.  In a city of almost 30,000 people, the following law states:

(a) In order to provide for the emergency management of the city, and further in order to provide for and protect the safety, security and general welfare of the city and its inhabitants, every head of household residing in the city limits is required to maintain a firearm, together with ammunition therefore.

(b) Exempt from the effect of this section are those heads of households who suffer a physical or mental disability which would prohibit them from using such a firearm. Further exempt from the effect of this section are those heads of households who are paupers or who conscientiously oppose maintaining firearms as a result of beliefs or religious doctrine, or persons convicted of a felony.

After learning of this, several pressing issues weighed on my mind.

1.  Section (a) is rendered completely useless and unenforceable by section (b.)  You are exempt from having to own a firearm if you “conscientiously oppose maintaining firearms as a result of beliefs or religious doctrine.”  So, in other words, if you don’t wanna, you don’t hafta.

2.  We still write laws with the word “pauper” in it?

3.  What a relief it must be to felons in Kennesaw to learn that they won’t be required to own a gun!

4.  Silly girl.  This is 32+-year-old news.  Lots of places have lots of dumb laws to which zero attention is paid.  You’d think that, right?  Except…

…this very year, the town of Nelson, Georgia (population 1,300)  passed its own version of this mandatory gun ownership law. Don’t worry, though, the police department in the town doesn’t plan to enforce it.  It was intended to be symbolic.  Symbolic of what?  Why, symbolic of support for Second Amendment rights, of course!  According to Nelson’s Police Chief Heath Mitchell:

I think y’all are showing the people that you’re in full support of the Constitution,” Mitchell said. “And as far as the Second Amendment goes, that you stand behind it, you stand behind people’s rights.

One council member, Dominic Cronic, stated it is merely a “deterrent ordinance.”  Something to make a criminal think twice before breaking into your home.  Like a fake ADT sign.

The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence to the rescue!  Someone there had the good sense to challenge the law no one intended to enforce.  Nelson’s Council said, “Okay, okay, we’ll nullify the ordinance. Sheesh, can’t you gun control freaks take a joke?”  (I’m just kidding – that’s not a real quote – but it may as well be.)

From the Brady Center’s press release announcing the decision to repeal the mandatory gun law:

The City accepted the Brady Center’s position that the United States Constitution protects the rights of Americans who choose to keep their homes free of firearms… . “Today’s agreement sends a message to residents of communities across the country that their Constitutional liberties will be protected: they do not need to worry that their local government will invade their privacy or their pocketbooks by forcing them to buy guns … .”

Thank goodness.  These good people in Nelson, Georgia won’t actually be forced to buy guns.   As you were, citizens.

Gun control advocates are often accused (sometimes rightly) of attempting to pass laws that in many situations, can’t be enforced and won’t deter crime.  Well, it’s nice to know we’re not the only ones.  I’m not sure which is worse, though:  that some towns in this country think it’s a good idea to arm all its citizens or that they pass laws they openly state they have no intention of enforcing.

Aliza Worthington grew up in Brooklyn, NY, and now lives in Baltimore. She began writing in 2009 at the age of 40. Sometimes her writing follows The Seinfeld Model of “no learning, no hugging.” Other times it involves lots of both. She blogs about Life, Liberty and Happiness at “The Worthington Post.” Her work also appears in Catonsville PatchKveller, and has been featured in the Community Spotlight section of Daily Kos under the username “Horque.” Her writing has also landed in the “Winner’s Circle” on Midlife Collage twice.  Aliza’s piece, Leaving Gender At The Door, earned her a BlogHer 2013 Voices of the Year award.  Follow her on Twitter at @AlizaWrites.

Image via iStockphoto

  • Jessica

    Remind me to stay the hell out of Georgia.

  • So how specific are these ridiculous laws? Does a paint gun count? what about a nerf gun, or a water gun? If the cops came to my door, and wanted to see if I was complying (if I lived in such a town) would I be penalized if I showed them my photograph of a gun, with the snap shot I keep handy of bullets?

    Probably a good thing I live the next state north.

    • Those are all GREAT questions! I’m sure that has not been hammered out, as there are no plans to enforce the ordinance, which is now (at least in Nelson) considered null.

  • Don’t worry, Jessica. Just those two towns. And remember – they’re not gonna actually ENFORCE the law…

  • Anne Born

    It’s bizarro world alright. I wonder if having a really big scary knife could substitute?

    • Knives aren’t protected by the Second Amendment…

  • Anne Born

    Not even if you use them with bare arms?

    • Aliza Worthington

      har… 🙂

  • Max Olivewood

    If the good folks of Kennesaw passed a law to show that they are “in full support of the constitution” by requiring the gun ownership which is permitted by the second amendment, I wonder if they would pass a law to show that they are “in full support of the constitution” by requiring the separation of church and state which is mentioned in the first.

    • Aliza Worthington

      Ooooooo. Very good question, Max.

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