By: Kate Brumback The Associated Press, Published on Tue Apr 02 2013
NELSON, GEORGIA—Backers of a newly adopted ordinance requiring gun ownership in a small U.S. town acknowledge they were largely seeking to make a point about gun rights.
The ordinance in the city of Nelson, Georgia — population 1,300 — was approved Monday night and goes into effect in 10 days. However, it contains no penalties and exempts anyone who objects, convicted felons and those with certain mental and physical disabilities.
City Councilman Duane Cronic, who sponsored the measure, said he knows the ordinance won't be enforced but he still believes it will make the town safer.
“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.”
Fears of a government crackdown on gun sales have prompted a few communities around the United States to “require” or recommend their residents arm themselves ever since a gunman killed 26 youngsters and educators Dec. 14 in a school in Newtown, Connecticut.
Such mandatory gun ownership measures reflect a growing divide in the wake of the Newtown massacre as President Barack Obama champions more gun control and the powerful National Rifle Association gun lobby maintains that more guns keep people safer.
While lawmakers in generally more liberal states with large urban centres like New York and California have moved to tighten gun control laws, more conservative, rural areas in the American heartland have been going in the opposite direction.
Council members in Nelson, a small city located 80 kilometres north of Atlanta, voted unanimously to approve the Family Protection Ordinance. 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.”
MSNBC "crawl" today: Nelson City GA set to vote on ordinance requiring every home to have a gun
Sometimes it is the tiny towns and villages that serve as predictive barometers of a nation's evolving political culture. There are few headlines that will drive me from the tv to the keypad faster than an item announcing the intention of a town council's impending vote to "require every home to have a gun".
Nelson is a city partly (0.631 sq mi) in Pickens and mostly (0.792 sq mi) in Cherokee counties in the U.S. state of Georgia. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 1314. It appears in the Atlanta metropolitan area.
Pickens County was created in 1853 from parts of Cherokee and Gilmer counties. Georgia's 100th county was named for General Andrew Pickens, a Revolutionary War soldier.
According to the USGS GNIS, it is named for John Nelson, early landowner, farmer, and rifle maker. It is served through its downtown by the Georgia Northeastern Railroad, and by the former route of state route 5 along its main street. South on old 5 is Ball Ground, north is Tate. The north end of Interstate 575 and south end of state route 515 is at the county line just to the southwest of Nelson.
Who cares if the man for whom the town is named, Nelson, was a rifle maker?
How soon will it be for another town to adopt the name of one of its founders who just happened to be a bomb builder, or an owner-operator of a still, or some other equally nefarious notoriety?
While the whole country is not necessarily following Nelson City, the fact that one city is moving in this direction will be considered by some "gun-nuts" as paving the way for others to follow suit.
What do 1314 people need with a gun in every home?
Why has the argument of "protection" superceded the more reasonable, more peaceful, more humane argument that available guns will eventually become deployed guns? This is one small voice from a neighbouring country urging the people of Nelson City GA to rise up against their town council, who from the outside could easily be portrayed as a puppet of the NRA, and force the council to withdraw the resolution.
As a signal of the contemporary political culture of the United States, Nelson City GA is demonstrating more stridently than most, the steadfast clinging to the misinterpretation of the Second Amendment that so infests the political argument across the country. And the NRA will be most grateful, even if the parents and families of the victims of Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown Connecticut will be among the most horrified to learn of the proposal. As will Gabby Giffords and her husband Captain Kelly, who have constructed a not-for-profit dedicated to the promotion and achievement of healthy gun control legislation.
While there are many towns and cities already having established reputations for keeping "outsiders" away permanently, Nelson City GA will become one at the top of a list for millions of people, for no other reason than a silly, ill-conceived and ill-begotten ordnance of its city council.
"Pull the bill" posters need to be posted on every post and every corner through the village of Nelson City today, in the vain hope that some sense will eventually penetrate the minds and hearts of those elected councillors who are about to cast their votes for this inhuman and evil proposition.