Commentary: In Georgia, happiness is a mandatory gun

The Columbus (Ga.) Ledger-EnquirerMarch 29, 2013 

I own a couple of firearms. If I should ever have to move to Nelson, Ga. (and surely a merciful God would not demand such a dire penance from me), at least I'll be in compliance with the law.

Nelson, you might remember, is the little north Georgia burg with a proposed mandatory gun ownership law. That's right -- under a city council motion that could be decided within the next couple of weeks, homeowners would HAVE to own a gun.

The councilman sponsoring the ordinance says the issue is personal defense: The town's lone police officer can't protect everybody.

As they say in "Raising Arizona": Well OK then. We get it. You're on your own.

That in itself isn't an unreasonable admonition. A sheriff in Milwaukee, which one suspects is a mite bigger than Nelson, recently told residents they need to be armed because officers might not be able to get there right away. Of course, the Milwaukee County sheriff's approach is somewhat different: He urges citizens to "consider taking a certified safety course in handling firearms to defend yourself until we get there. We're partners now."

No mention of whether Milwaukee law enforcement plans to bust its "partners" if they're caught unarmed.

Of course, Nelson isn't the first town to propose mandatory gun ownership; that enviable municipal distinction belongs to Kennesaw. (Georgians should be doubly proud.) Seeing as how we haven't heard a lot about our jails being packed with non-gun-toting scofflaws, we'll have to assume that Kennesaw's 1982 ordinance is a smashing success.

Maybe the powers that be in Nelson should confer with Kennesaw on just how a town goes about enforcing and verifying compliance with a law like that. Aren't you just a wee bit curious about that part?

Maybe Nelsonites will be required to pack heat at the polls if they want to be allowed to vote. (This is Georgia, so what's one more hoop to jump through?) Picture the scene: a busy election day, with long lines of voters, holsters bulging, rifles and shotguns gleaming in the sun, as they wait to present the town's newest and most universally accepted form of "voter ID."

But that would work only on election days. What about the rest of the time?

One possibility would be some kind of surprise check. Workplaces could require random testing of skin on hands for gunpowder residue. Police could knock on a few doors and demand that those within present arms. Or maybe officers will just show up with warrants and search the homes themselves, being extra vigilant that nobody "plants" a friend's or neighbor's borrowed gun just to pass inspection.

Crime reports in Nelson could become really interesting public records:

"Police, acting on an anonymous tip, raided a home at .357 Magnum Ave., where occupants were charged with misdemeanor possession of two grams of marijuana with an estimated street value of $12 million, and felony non-possession of a gun."

Even so, just in the interest of rugged American individualism, let's hope a few brave souls will stand up to this gross abridgement of their unalienable right not to bear arms. Tell those jackbooted thugs in the town hall you'll carry a gun when they glue one to your cold, dead hand.

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