On Monday evening, the town council in Nelson, Georgia, located about 50 miles north of Atlanta, passed its Family Protection Ordinance requiring the head of every household to own a gun and the ammunition to feed it. It exempts felons and those with certain disabilities, and it comes without penalties for noncompliance. It was passed to make a statement to local criminals scoping out the place, as well as to government officials looking to push federal restrictions on gun ownership.
When the ordinance was first considered back in March, Nelson was a sleepy little bedroom community famed only for being the birthplace of Claude Akins and not much else. Since then it has become the center of attention in the great gun wars of 2013. Jackie Jarrett, a Nelson city councilman, told AP writer Kate Brumback, “It has really surprised me that we've gotten so much attention, especially since this isn't affecting the world. It’s just a small town thing.” Duane Cronic, the councilman who proposed the ordinance which was passed unanimously, said he likened the measure to putting up a security sign in the front yard:
Some people have security systems and some people don’t, but they put up those signs anyway. I really felt like this ordinance was a security sign for our city. Basically it was a deterrent ordinance to tell potential criminals they might want to go on down the road.
The mayor of Nelson, Mike Haviland, said that their new law “bumps up against the national issue on guns,” and expresses the feelings of many of the town’s 1,314 residents. One whose feelings weren't expressed in the law, Lamar Kellett, said passing such a law was pointless: “People who want a gun probably already have one. There’s been no violent crime in Nelson in the past 10 years, so how are you going to improve [on that]?”
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