Moral Low Ground

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Nelson, Georgia Passes Mandatory Gun Ownership Law

A Georgia town has passed an ordinance requiring its citizens to own guns and ammunition, a law that one town councilman likens to putting up a ‘protected by security system’ sign for the whole municipality.

NBC news reports that the town council of Nelson, population 1,300, voted 5-0 on Monday to enact the mandatory gun and ammunition ownership law– officially called the Family Protection Ordinance– which requires the head of every household to possess at least one gun to “provide for the emergency management of the city” and “provide for and protect the safety, security and general welfare of the city and its inhabitants.” The law contains exemptions for felons and for the mentally ill. It also allows anyone who wants to to opt out, raising accusations that it is nothing more than a symbolic pro-gun statement.

“[The law] doesn’t mean there’s going to be somebody knocking at your door and saying, ‘You have to have it (a gun),'” town councilwoman Edith Portillo told NBC News. “If you don’t want to have a firearm, you don’t have to have it.”

One local resident expressed his disapproval of a mostly meaningless law that cannot be enforced.

“Does this mean now 55 miles an hour speed limit means 65, 80, whatever you choose? There’s not a whole lot of difference. A law’s a law,” Lamar Kellett said during a public comment session at Monday’s town hall meeting, according to the Associated Press.

But councilman Duane Cronic, who supports the measure, likens the law to a giant security sign for the entire town of Nelson.

“Some people have security systems, some don’t, but they put those signs up,” Cronic told NBC news. “I really felt like this ordinance was a security sign for our city.”

The new law goes into effect in Nelson, which is located about 50 miles (80 km) north of Atlanta, next week.

Nelson’s measure stands in stark contrast with news that lawmakers in Connecticut have agreed on a compromise gun control bill that would ban large-capacity magazines (with a grandfather clause), expand the state’s ban on ‘assault’-style weapons and introduce universal background checks.

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