Residents of Nelson, Ga., could soon have more than the right to bear arms—they could be legally required to, reports WSB-TV. With just one police officer in the 1,300-person town that straddles two counties, Nelson residents face long police response times, so local officials are introducing the Family Protection Act, which mandates that every head of household "maintain a firearm, together with ammunition." Of course, there will be plenty of room for exemptions—for convicted felons and people with religious objections—and officials say they don't intend on enforcing the statute. "Why have an ordinance if you're not going to enforce it? What's the point?," says one Nelson resident. "This is big government at its worst."
Nelson isn't the first town in the United States to ponder a firearms requirement, notes the Week. Among the others:
- Kennesaw, Ga. The most famous example, Kennesaw has required every household to keep a firearm since 1982, though it's an unenforceable law. Police estimate that about half the town complies.
- Sabattus, Maine. A retired cop wanted a gun requirement to make a statement against gun control talk since the Sandy Hook shootings, but the town council voted down his measure 4-0 on Tuesday. The local police chief said people "have the right not to bear arms."
- Virgin, Utah. About 95% of the town's residents already had a firearm when the law passed in 2000. As in other towns, the measure isn't really enforced, though. "It's not enforcement," says the mayor, "it's a statement."