Communities Requiring Gun Ownership

Some communities have passed symbolic ordinances requiring the ownership of firearms, as a statement of opposition to gun control. There is no direct link between restrictiveness of gun laws and crime rates, and these communities help show that.

A couple of examples:

Bowerbank, Maine

As reported in the June 22, 1994, Central Maine Morning Sentinel, the town of Bowerbank, Maine, passed an ordinance requiring heads of households to own arms and ammunition.

The Sentinel reported:

"Actually, it's written to make a statement," said the leading proponent of the ordinance, William Quigley, a taxidermist and retired police chief in Nashua, N.H. "It's just an attention getter."

... Residents signed petitions to force the vote at Saturday's town meeting. The vote was 26-11. Bowerbank has 72 registered voters, said Town Clerk Joyce Doolittle.

... The ordinance does not apply to seasonal residents, many who occupy cottages along the shores of Sebec Lake at the Central Maine town's edge. The ordinance has no enforcement provision, and specifically allows exceptions for those who are opposed to weapons on principle, said Quigley. It also excuses those with physical or mental disabilites, felons and "paupers", said Quigley. Another provision frees the town of any responsibility for shooting accidents and from having to buy guns or ammo for residents.

Kennesaw, Georgia

From a 1990s edition of The Georgia Libertarian, a monthly publication of the Libertarian Party of Georgia:

In mid-November, the Fulton County government began requiring all gun dealers to stick a government-issued warning label on their firearms. The labels attribute all sorts of dire dangers and consequences to the purchase and ownership of guns.

If gun-owning is so dangerous and such a cause of social ills, then surely the most dangerous place in America -- if not the entire planet -- must be Kennesaw, Georgia, where since 1982 a law has required every household to have a firearm and ammunition. (Conscientious objectors are excluded.)

Right? Wrong.

There has not been a single reported crime of domestic violence in Kennesaw since the law was passed. There have been no injuries to children involving guns since the law was passed.

Furthermore, violence has actually dropped since 1982. Burglaries per thousand inhabitants fell from 11 to less than 3. There hasn't been a single murder since 1986. All this despite the fact that the population in Kennesaw doubled in that time.

Could it be -- gasp! -- that gun ownership might have positive, not negative effects? That the whole premise behind gun banning is totally wrong? That other factors besides guns might be the real cause of Fulton County's crime problems?

Nah, just ask the Fulton County Commission.