The town of Nelson, Georgia, followed through on its proposal to require residents to own a gun Monday night following a unanimous vote by the city council.
WGCL-TV reported that the law will apply to heads of household, with exceptions built in for the disabled, mentally ill and those objecting to gun ownership for religious reasons. Convicted felons will not be allowed to own a firearm.
“If anything should happen that they would need to use a firearm, [now] they are backed up by their government, their city government,” council member Edith Portillo told the station.
However, according to the Associated Press, another council member, Duane Cronic, said the new “Family Protection Ordinance” will not be enforced, making it more of a symbolic gesture.
“I likened it to a security sign that people put up in their front yards,” Cronic said. “Some people have security systems, some people don’t, but they put those signs up. I really felt like this ordinance was a security sign for our city.”
The new directive’s non-binding nature, however, led to opposition from some residents during Monday’s city council meeting.
“Does this mean now 55 miles an hour speed limit means 65, 80, whatever you choose,” said Lamar Kellett. “There’s not a whole lot of difference. A law’s a law.”
But the city’s only police officer, Heath Mitchell, also lent his backing to the new law, despite Nelson already having a low crime rate, saying it would function as a deterrent.
“[Criminals are] going to think twice before they come into Nelson and cause harm or break and entering, commit a theft, any type of criminal activity,” Mitchell said. “I know I would if I was a bad guy.”
Watch WGCL’s report, aired Monday, below.
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