Nelson, Georgia, population 913, has just passed a law “requiring” every household to have a gun and ammunition. As Executive Vice President of the American Small Government Society, I demand that these so-called conservatives surrender their small government cards immediately.
Nelson’s not the first town to do this. Kennesaw, Georgia, about a half hour away, was the first (so far as I know) to pass such a law, in 1982. And as in Kennesaew, the law is supposed to aid in the emergency management of the city. Personally, I’d recommend mandatory chainsaw ownership as a better means to that end. The only emergency a town of that size–and I grew up in a town about that size–is likely to face is a tornado, and a Husqvarna 460 is going to be a damn sight more useful for clearing away downed trees than a Walther P99.
But of course nobody is actually required to own a gun. The law exempts people with disabilities, those with a felony conviction, those who oppose gun ownership, and folks who can’t afford a gun. So it’s only a mandate on the willing and able.
In other words, the law is purely symbolic–the triumph of ideology over policy. I don’t care how many people in Nelson own a gun, whether it’s all or none. They have a 2nd Amendment right to to so, and the Supreme Court recently affirmed this right. Nothing further is gained–except international attention as a bunch of jackasses–by passing a law that is effectively unenforceable, is toothless even if it were enforceable, and unconstitutional even if it were toothy and enforceable.
Of course in my polycentrist view of politics, this is exactly the kind of law I’d allow a small town to pass. I’d oppose it at the national and state levels, and even at the level of a bigger town. But the smaller a place is, the more homogenous, the more authority I’d allow them to make such controlling rules. That doesn’t mean most of those rules wouldn’t be blindly stupid, though.