Scott Morefield–When it comes to America’s response to gun crime, one Georgia town has been thinking outside the box since 1982, when its leaders passed a law requiring it citizens to own a firearm.
The Kennesaw, Georgia, law states that “every head of household residing in the city limits is required to maintain a firearm,” according to CNN, and was reportedly passed as a deterrent to crime.
“It was meant to be kind of a crime deterrent,” Kennesaw Police Lt. Craig Graydon, a 30-year law enforcement veteran, told CNN. “It was also more or less a political statement because the city of Morton Grove, Illinois, passed a city ordinance banning handguns from their city limits.”
As for would-be criminals looking for an easy mark, judging by the crime statistics it seems most have bypassed the Georgia town and moved on to easier targets. Even CNN was forced to admit that Kennesaw, populated by 33,000 people, has only had “one murder in the last six years and a violent crime rate of below 2%.”
“But,” writes CNN, “it’s unclear whether that has anything to do with the gun law.”
Kennesaw’s mayor sees it differently.
“If you’re going to commit a crime in Kennesaw and you’re the criminal — are you going to take a chance that that homeowner is a law-abiding citizen?” asked Mayor Derek Easterling.
“It gives me the ability to protect myself as opposed to being somewhere where you weren’t allowed to have a firearm or it was frowned upon,” said Wayne Arnold, a local resident who is a fan of the law.
With the gun issue being in the spotlight of late, town officials have been getting plenty of attention from all over the world about their law.
“We get a lot of calls, conversation, and it seems to keep crime control, gun safety, things like that on the minds of many of the residents, because people are constantly talking about the gun law,” Lt. Graydon told CNN. “So that’s been somewhat of a benefit to us.”
Arnold noted the expectation of a “Wild West” environment with everyone walking around “with a firearm strapped to their side.”
“And it’s not like that,” said Arnold. “It’s strictly a home defense system type of deal. There’s no shootouts down the street.”
And a lot less crime than your average American city.