All for guns and guns for all in Georgia town

It seems everywhere we turn, a tragedy arises that saddens our spirits and turns our rage to guns and the people who wield them. Horrific massacres such as the theater shooting in Aurora, Colo., the Sikh temple shooting in Oak Creek, Wis., and the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn., have led us down the path to the gun laws battle going on in Washington, D.C. and in other states. The idea that a gunman or a robber can be anyone is terrifying. Changes in gun control laws and a new assault weapon ban have been proposed as a way to help stop gun-related deaths.

David Delgado/The Daily Cougar

David Delgado/The Daily Cougar

The town of Nelson, Ga., however, has adopted a different way of dealing with gun control.

Instead of banning the use of firearms within the city, Nelson recently passed a law requiring the head of every household to own a gun. The idea behind the Family Protection Ordinance is that the citizens would be able to protect their homes without fear of prosecution.

“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,” the ordinance said.

There are exceptions to the ordinance: Convicts and the physically or mentally disabled are not allowed to own guns. Also, there are religious exemptions that allow people to opt out, which seems confusing. There is no point of making people own guns if they can just hold up the “it’s against my religion” card.

Nelson adopted a law that is requiring every citizen to own a gun — unless they choose not to. Creating a law that has such a large exception rate seems redundant. If Nelson did not have this law, the citizens that wanted to own guns would, and the citizens who did not wish to own guns would not — much like the new law is requiring. This fact makes one wonder what the point of the law is if it allows citizens to do almost exactly what they were already doing.

The ordinance is nothing more than a public statement that Nelson is pro-gun, and is about as asinine as limiting gun magazines. The government should not be allowed to force someone to own a gun just as they should not be allowed to take away the people’s rights to own a gun. While I agree with owning a gun for protection, no one should have to own a gun. The Second Amendment states we have the right to bear arms; the amendment does not state it is a necessity.

Nelson is not the first town to adopt an ordinance like this. In 1982, Kennesaw, Ga., adopted something similar. Kennesaw created this law in retaliation to a 1981 law by the town of Morton Grove, Ill., forbidding guns within the city limits with the exception of law officials.

While surrounding areas chastised Kennesaw, its crime rate dropped for gun-related deaths. Even with the significant population rise since 1982, the crime rate in Kennesaw is reported to have remained lower than the national average.

Between Nelson and Morton Grove, there does not seem to be a middle ground in sight, and communication sophomore Susan Rodriguez said that is because of a lack of understanding and compromise.

“We have people on one side that don’t know much about guns, and they’re making legislations they don’t even fully understand; then we have people on the other side who are against any form of legislation,” Rodriguez said. “We have no one who seems to make smart but respectful decisions on the gun owner’s right to own a gun in self-defense.”

The real problem is the gun debate itself. Instead of gun control, what they are really talking about is people control, trying to pass tougher gun restrictions in the hopes of making it tougher for the mentally ill to get guns. Though it is a proactive thought, no amount of forced self-security or complete withdrawal is going to work. It should not be Kennesaw and Nelson versus Morton Grove. There is no right way to go about handling gun control. Unless the world suddenly stopped being capable of so much hate, people will continue to find a ways to hurt each other, and as the recent Lone Star College–CyFair incident shows, they do not always need a gun to do it.

Kelly Schafler is a print journalism sophomore and may be reached at [email protected].

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