While the rest of the country is engaged in heated debate over gun control, one Georgia town has had it figured out for decades.
Residents in Kennesaw, Georgia are required by local law to own a gun. Kennesaw Mayor Derek Easterling didn’t sugar coat his approval of the city ordinance that was passed in 1982.
“If you’re going to commit a crime in Kennesaw and you’re the criminal — are you going to take a chance that homeowner is a law-abiding citizen?” Easterling told CNN.
While the law isn’t enforced by the local police department it was enacted, at least in part, as crime deterrent.
“It was meant to be kind of a crime deterrent,” 30-year Kennesaw police veteran Lt. Craig Graydon said. “It was also more or less a political statement.
And the crime stats show it seems to be working.
Kennesaw is one of Georgia’s safest cities. When the gun law was enacted Kennesaw had only a few thousand residents, according to Fox 8 Cleveland, but today the local population is over 33,000 and has had only one murder in the last six years, and a violent crime rate at under 2 percent.
Graydon isn’t attributing the town’s impressive safety stats entirely to the gun law.
“We can’t say that just that gun law contributes x number of percent to why we have a low crime rate. It may be part of it, but it needs to be looked at from a whole picture,” Graydon said. “Don’t just look at the ordinance.”
Local resident Wayne Arnold owns an AR-15-style .223 caliber rifle and a variety of handguns, according to Fox 8, and sees it differently.
“It gives me the ability to protect myself, as opposed to being somewhere where you weren’t allowed to have a firearm or it was frowned upon,” Arnold said.
And don’t think for a minute that would-be criminals lurking in and around Kennesaw don’t know it.
As the gun debate rages and the NRA and it’s law-abiding members are being demonized in the liberal media, a lot of curiosity is brewing over the town of Kennesaw.
“We get a lot of calls, conversation,” Graydon said.
“The first thing that most people say when they meet us, you know as a community is ‘oh, it’s not what I expected,’” Mayor Easterling added. “I don’t know what they expect of people who arm themselves with guns at home, or what they’re looking for, but really we’re not that.”
“People kind of get the image that it’s the Wild West, where everybody walks around with a firearm strapped to their side, and it’s not like that,” Arnold said. “It’s strictly a home defense system type of deal. There’s no shootouts down the street.”