I live just a few miles from the most pro-gun city in the United States – Kennesaw Georgia – where gun ownership is mandatory. It’s not the “Wild West” like some people predicted when it passed a mandatory gun ownership law. “The city of Kennesaw was selected by Family Circle magazine as one of the nation’s ‘10 best towns for families.’ The award was aimed at identifying the best communities nationally that combine big-city opportunities with suburban charm, a blend of affordable housing, good jobs, top-rated public schools, wide-open spaces, and less stress.”1
In 1982 the city passed the following ordinance [Sec 34-21] which was a response to a handgun ban in Morton Grove, Ill.
(a) 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.
(b) Exempt from the effect of this section are those heads of households who suffer a physical or mental disability which would prohibit them from using such a firearm. Further exempt from the effect of this section are those heads of households who are paupers or who conscientiously oppose maintaining firearms as a result of beliefs or religious doctrine, or persons convicted of a felony.
The city’s website states that Kennesaw “has the lowest crime rate in Cobb County,” one of the most populace counties in Georgia. In fact, from 1982 through 2009, Kennesaw had been nearly murder free with one murder occurring in 2007.
There were three murders in 2010 committed by the same man in what is described as a “school safety zone,” an area extending 1,000 feet from any school, including adult colleges and technical schools. This means that even though Kennesaw has the most liberal gun laws in the United States, employees at the facility where the murders were committed could not have a gun on the premises. Of course, criminals don’t care about laws; that’s why they’re criminals. Ed Stone of Atlanta Gun Rights Examiner makes these important points:
“Unfortunately experience with actual ‘school safety zones’ in Georgia has proven that the ‘school safety zone’ law approach does not stop violent armed crime, as it disarms only the potential victims of an attack. Criminals seeking to rob, rape, and murder ignore the ‘school safety zone’ as merely one more law they are breaking.”
Now we come to New York City. In the past few months, a number of gun incidents have spilled over to the national press. In September 2011 Ryan Jerome, a former Marine Corps gunner, walked up to a security officer at the Empire State Building and asked where he could check his gun.
He had a valid concealed carry permit from his home state of Indiana. He also had the rights given to him under the Second Amendment. No matter, the security officer called police and Jerome spent the next two days in jail. “The 28-year-old with no criminal history now faces a mandatory minimum sentence of three and a half years in prison. If convicted, his sentence could be as high as fifteen years.”
He brought the gun for protection since he was traveling with $15,000 worth of jewelry that he planned to sell. Certainly a rational decision, given the crime rate in New York City and stories like the U.S. Marine veteran who was shot three times when a Craigslist transaction went bad.
In December of 2011, Tennessee nurse Meredith Graves noticed a “no guns” sign at the World Trade Center site in New York City and asked where she could leave her weapon. Like Jerome, she was arrested and faces similar charges. Mayor Bloomberg claims that she was in possession of cocaine. It seems that what the police found was BC Powder, an over-the-counter pain reliever that is sold exclusively in the South.
“Also in December 2011, Tea Party Patriots co-founder Mark Meckler was arrested after attempting to check a pistol — for which he has a California concealed carry permit — at a New York airport.”
Gun deaths have declined in New York City, while killings involving knives have increased 50 percent. The issue isn’t guns or knives but people who use guns and knives. In a 25 year period, New York City has had more than 15,000 murders – 2245 in 1990 alone – while Kennesaw, Georgia, had 1.
- Family Circle, August 2007. [↩]