Small towns turn to mandatory gun ownership for safety

Politics,Beltway Confidential,Michal Conger

Many cities are putting gun control laws on the books these days, but some towns are turning instead to mandatory gun ownership for protection.

Nelson, Ga., a town of about 1,300, is weighing a law requiring gun the head of each household own a firearm, according to local WSBTV Channel 2.

The town has just one police officer, who patrols for eight hours during the day, according to the news outlet.

“When he’s not here we rely on county sheriffs — however, it takes a while for them to get here,” said Nelson City Councilman Duane Cronic, who proposed the bill.

Nearby Kennesaw, Ga., has had a mandatory gun law on the books for 20 years.  The town now has a population of about 30,000.

“When the law was passed in 1982 there was a substantial drop in crime … and we have maintained a really low crime rate since then,” police Lt. Craig Graydon told Reuters in a 2007 profile of the town. “We are sure it is one of the lowest (crime) towns in the metro area.”

A 140-person town in Maine is also considering mandatory gun ownership. The town of Byron’s board of selectmen favor a law requiring gun ownership, head selectman Anne Simmons-Edmunds told the River Valley Sun Journal on Thursday.

Simmons-Edmunds told the paper every household in Byron probably has at least one gun already.

“We’re trying to prevent someone from coming into our town and trying to restrict our rights,” Simmons-Edmunds said. “It’s time to tell the government, ‘Enough’s enough. Quit micromanaging us.’”

Sabattus, Maine rejected a similar law on Tuesday after the city’s board of selectmen and the police chief opposed it.

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