Nelson, GA, population 1314, and soon to be home to more guns. Maybe.
The city council has recently enacted an anti-crime ordinance, requiring every household to own a firearm. [Reuters] The town has only one police officer, and has been plagued by petty thefts, so the city counsel decided to essentially deputize every household, but of course without any of the training and oversight that would come from actually deputizing them.
Anyone who understands anything about rights of course will recognize the problem. Almost all of our rights come with a corresponding right to not exercise that right. Freedom of speech comes with the right to no speak at all. The right to counsel includes the right to represent yourself. And the right to keep and bear arms comes with the right to not own a weapon if you don't want to. That's why it's called the right to keep and bear arms, and not the universal mandate to keep and bear arms.
The town thinks it has a workaround to the pesky little 2nd Amendment issue though. Included in the ordinance are several exemptions. Felons are not required to own a weapon, nor are people with physical or mental handicaps. There's also an exemption for people who object to owning a firearm. Bingo-bango, solves the problem. And on top of the conscientious objector exemption, there's also no penalty for disobeying the ordinance, so the entire thing is symbolic.
And as far as symbolic gestures go, this one stinks. The town, in its toothless symbolic ordinance is saying: We don't think you should have 2nd Amendment rights.
If they wanted to promote gun ownership for crime reduction, they should have their one police officer spend some time helping people with gun safety, marksmanship, and getting their license. Or just have a symbolic 2nd Amendment Appreciation Day. The last thing you do is pass an ordinance saying you oppose the choice to not own a gun.
Just to pile on though, the idea is going to be completely counterproductive. The town's problem is a lack of law enforcement, and too many thefts. So they're going to put guns in all the homes. Of course most thefts occur during daytime hours when no one is at home. So no one is there to use the gun to stop the thief. So the thief still breaks in and steals your stuff, and now he steals your gun too.
Not only are guns great merchandize for selling on the black market, so there's an increased incentive to break into a home in Nelson, GA, but all the thieves are going to be armed as well.
Let this be a lesson to small town councils: The next time you have an idea, don't.