Officials in a Georgia town that goes without police protection for most of the day have proposed a law that would make it mandatory for all homeowners to own a gun so they could protect themselves.
Nelson City Councilman Duane Cronic is pushing the new law, arguing the measure is necessary because for 16 hours each day residents have no protection from law enforcement.
Each day, only one officer patrols Nelson for eight hours, according to WSB-TV Atlanta. The city has slightly more than 1,300 residents.
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For the rest of the day, outside authorities respond to emergency situations in the town by coming from Cherokee County, 20 minutes way, or from Pickens County which is three hours north of the town.
Cronic said the fact that police have to travel from so far away leads to much slower response times.
If passed, the measure will deter crime because potential criminals will find out residents are armed, said Cronic.
"Every head of household will own and maintain a firearm," he said, adding, "It's a deterrent ordinance. It tells the potential intruder you better think twice."
The ordinance, which is modeled closely after a 1982 law passed in another Georgia city, Kennesaw, requires gun ownership for all homeowners, but provides multiple opt-outs. For instance, if a resident is not physically or mentally able to handle a gun, or if they're a felon, or have religious objections, the resident wouldn't own a gun, WSB-TV reported.
Nelson resident Bill McNiff, who carries a pistol, supports the ordinance.
"I think every city should do it. I think it should go countywide too," McNiff told a local station.
Not all residents agree with the proposed law.
"Why have an ordinance if you're not going to enforce it? What's the point? They just want publicity to say Nelson is a town full of weapons," resident Lamar Kellett told WSB-TV. "This is big government at its worst. Government mandating what a free individual can and will have in his home."
Kellett added that he is not opposed to his fellow residents having guns, just the fact they would be required to do so.
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City officials will vote on the proposed law during the next council meeting, which is scheduled for April 1.
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