Nelson, Georgia, Passes Meaningless Law Requiring All Households to Own Guns

| Tue Apr. 2, 2013 8:16 AM PDT

Reuters published this story on April Fools' Day, but it does not appear to be a joke:

A small Georgia town on Monday passed a law requiring the head of each household to own a gun as a way to keep crime down.

The ordinance, approved unanimously by the City Council in Nelson, is symbolic, however, because there is no penalty for violating it, according to Councilman Duane Cronic, who introduced the measure last month.

It serves as an expression of support for gun rights and sends a message to would-be criminals, Cronic said.

The measure was passed amid the debate over gun laws in the United States following the December shooting rampage in which a gunman killed 26 people at a Connecticut elementary school.

The Nelson ordinance exempts convicted felons, residents with physical and mental disabilities and those who do not believe in owning firearms, Cronic said.

Crime in Nelson, which has only one police officer, consists mainly of petty theft, Cronic said.

The measure, dubbed the Family Protection Ordinance, was modeled on a law passed in nearby Kennesaw, Georgia in 1982; towns in Idaho and Utah have considered similar laws. For instance, the 140 residents of Byron, Maine rejected a mandatory gun law last month (the proposal was nixed even by the guy who proposed it, after he concluded he should have simply made it a recommendation).

Because Nelson's new law is symbolic and unenforceable, there is zero chance of a resident being punished for not buying a gun. It's like the law in Kentucky that makes it illegal to have ice cream cones in your back pocket. "I likened [Nelson's new law] to a security sign that people put up in their front yards," Cronic told the AP. "I really felt like this ordinance was a security sign for our city." 

The city council's agenda notes that the ordinance will also serve as "opposition of any future attempt by the federal government to confiscate personal firearms."

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