Kennesaw, Georgia requires gun ownership, and is one of the safest family towns in America
It has been featured as one of the top 10 best towns in America for families by Family Circle magazine, and it has one of the lowest crime rates in the entire Atlanta metropolitan area. But one little-known fact about Kennesaw, Georgia, population 30,000, is that heads of household living in the town are required by law to own at least one firearm. And this atypical mandate has played a crucial role in making Kennesaw the safe, family-friendly town that it is today.
Originally passed by the Kennesaw City Council with a unanimous vote back in 1982, the law's stated purpose is to "protect the safety, security and general welfare of the city and its inhabitants." And over the past 30-or-so years since the law's enactment, police and other local officials have on numerous occasions told the media that Kennesaw's gun ownership law has resulted in a drastic crime reduction throughout the area.
"When the law was passed in 1982, there was a substantial drop in crime ... and we have maintained a really low crime rate since then," explained police Lt. Craig Graydon to Reuters back in 2007 following the Virginia Tech shootings about the Kennesaw gun law. "We are sure it is one of the lowest (crime) towns in the metro area."
Kennesaw's success with mandatory gun ownership parallels that of the European nation of Switzerland, where similar laws at the national level require individuals to own guns and ammunition. And just like in Kennesaw, Switzerland's crime rate is among the lowest throughout Europe, which can be directly attributed to the country's embedded culture of responsible gun ownership.
"Social conditions are fundamental in deterring crime," explained Peter Squires, a professor of criminology and public policy at the University of Brighton in the U.K., to TIME recently about the value of promoting a culture of responsible gun ownership. "If people have a responsible, disciplined and organized introduction into an activity like shooting, there will be less risk of gun violence."
Gun ownership encourages civic
responsibility, peaceful society
In other words, if owning guns and being trained to use them properly and accurately is engrained into the social structure as being normal, a "culture of support" will be fostered in which people rely on one another for protection. And according to Squires, this culture of support and the sense of civic responsibility it nurtures ultimately helps deter mass shootings rather than promote them. It also advocates a peaceful society composed of well-trained, well-protected individuals who look out for their own families and for one another.
This contrasts sharply with the current national debate on gun control, where many left-leaning politicians are claiming that increased gun restrictions will help reduce crime and promote a civil society. But what they fail to mention is that cities like Washington D.C. and Chicago, where gun restrictions are currently among the strictest in the nation, also have some of the worst crime rates in the nation. With this in mind, would you rather live in a gun-control haven like Chicago or a gun-embracing family town like Kennesaw?
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