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Georgia town mulls mandatory gun ownership

By Melissa Gray, CNN
updated 7:05 AM EST, Fri March 8, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Council members in Nelson plan a vote next month
  • Nelson is a town of 1,300 people north of Atlanta
  • It would be a "deterrent ordinance," one council member says
  • The town police chief supports the measure

Atlanta (CNN) -- A small Georgia town may soon require every household to own a firearm -- a law that, if passed, would make it the second town in the state to mandate gun ownership.

City council members in Nelson, a town of 1,300 people north of Atlanta, unanimously approved the proposal at a meeting this week. Citizens now have a chance to review the proposal before the council takes it up again in April.

"Basically this is a deterrent ordinance," Councilman Duane Cronic said at the meeting. "It's no more than putting a sign in your front yard saying that 'ADT protects this home.' Now the person that may be there (checking) your home out to cause harm to you or your family to break into your house has to decide, 'When I break that door down, what's on the other side of that door?'"

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The law would give every family the right to protect themselves and their property "without worrying about prosecution for protecting themselves," Cronic told the meeting. He said the proposal was modeled on a similar law in nearby Kennesaw, Georgia, that has been on the books since 1982.

Nelson Police Chief Heath Mitchell told council members the proposal is a great idea.

"I think y'all are showing the people that you're in full support of the Constitution," Mitchell said. "And as far as the Second Amendment goes, that you stand behind it, you stand behind people's rights."

The two-paragraph proposal reads, "In order to provide for the emergency management of the city, and further in order to provide for and protect the safety, security and general welfare of the city and its inhabitants, every head of household residing in the city limits is required to maintain a firearm, together with ammunition therefore."

People with physical or mental disabilities are exempt from the law, as are "paupers," felons, and those who oppose gun ownership based on belief or religious doctrine.

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