Since the Newtown tragedy, we as a nation have been struggling to not only come to grips with the situation, but also prevent similar tragedies from occurring in the future. Unsurprisingly, in Connecticut, ground zero for the Sandy Hook massacre,some of the toughest in-state laws anywhere are being proposed. In other localities however, an entirely different spate of laws are being proposed. I submit to you the Family Protection Ordinance from the geniuses of one Nelson, Georgia. From the Associated Press:
The measure requires every head of household to own a gun 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."The emphasis was all mine. Apparently their political consultant is Basil Marceaux. Who is Basil Marceaux (dot com)? I'd better let him explain himself.
A little bit about Nelson Georgia before we get into the meat of the argument. Nelson is small town of 1300 about an hour north of Atlanta. According to the 2010 census, there are just over 500 total households (including vacancies), fewer than 200 of which list children under 18. It's so small and so bereft of crime that there's not even a full police squad -- or even a full-time employee of a police department. There's one officer, Nelson's Chief of Police, and even he isn't employed full-time. But by all means, let's take this quaint little town and make it safer with even more guns. Cue City Council member Duane Cronic:
"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," he said. "I really felt like this ordinance was a security sign for our city."Here's the aforementioned Police Chief throwing his support behind the law from the Raw Story:
“[Criminals are] going to think twice before they come into Nelson and cause harm or break and entering, commit a theft, any type of criminal activity,” Mitchell said. “I know I would if I was a bad guy.”My problems with this sort of law are myriad. Besides the fact that it simultaneously based on a wildly inaccurate premise (more guns don't make you safer statistically speaking) and operationally unenforceable (there are no penalties for not owning a gun), the councilman's and the police chief's statements are beyond stupid. These are the kind of idiots that would be against universal background checks because criminals don't care about that sort of thing. But apparently lawn signs are the key to city safety. Sure guys. Makes perfect sense. It's not only elected officials with this weird view on guns. The AP interviewed numerous people in the community and they're mostly on board.
"It's supporting gun rights flat out, and there is so much -- not antipathy -- but antagonism against gun ownership these days," Lawrence Cooper said. "And this is a very conservative small town, and they are fully in support of this."I'll say this for Councilman Cronic, he's definitely representing his constituents. But I don't get these people at all. The original proposed legislation included a ban on military style assault weapons, a ban on extended clips, increased penalties for straw purchases, and universal background checks. Or as I like to call it, the most reasonable shit in the world. There's a difference between having a firearm at home to protect yourself and your family and thinking you're Neo from the Matrix. Then again, these are the kinds of folks that think pregnant women really need assault rifles to protect themselves. In any case, the bill is being pared down so much you don't even know if it's even worth passing. It looks like the background checks are the only thing left with a small chance of passing through both houses of Congress. But en route between DC and Georgia, this information gets sifted through a fine mesh of crazy and reads in the South as "antagonism against gun ownership?" Give me a freaking break.
This is a stupid law. It probably won't have much of an effect in gun-happy Georgia. But going out of your way to make a stupid and unenforceable law in a town that hasn't seen a violent crime in over five years, just to make a political point about gun ownership, is sad. Especially when you consider that gun massacres are happening with increased frequency in the last ten years or so. But hey, no wonder they film The Walking Dead in rural Georgia. At least we all know where to get to when the zombie apocalypse starts.