Is gun control the answer? After a string of mass shootings culminated in a horrific attack at an elementary school in Newtown, CT, many are wondering if strict gun ownership laws would have prevented the crime. Perhaps the answer can be found in Kennesaw, Georgia.
In the case of Connecticut, the shooter broke at least three existing laws surrounding the use of firearms. Adam Lanza, 20, was not old enough to possess a weapon, as Connecticut law requires a person be over 21. Lanza did not have a permit to carry a weapon as required in the state, and he was not allowed to have a firearm on "public or private elementary or secondary school property." It is possible, but unclear, whether Lanza's Bushmaster rifle is illegal under the state law banning possession of "assault weapons." Would further laws have dissuaded Lanza? The answer is a resounding no.
As Shirley Husar from The Washington Times Communities wisely reflects in her latest must-read piece,
"Laws can govern, but they cannot control. Laws can imperfectly hold evil at bay, but they cannot prevent evil from striking, and they cannot make us good. When the mind has lost stability, when thoughts of hate and pain and harm enter one's mind, no law can control that."
Any Mass Shooting Foreshadows Predictable Calls for Gun Control
As if on cue, Rep. Jerrold Nadler made a telling statement on MSNBC's "The Ed Show," where he said regarding the anti-gun agenda, "I think we will be there if the president exploits it, and otherwise we'll go on to the next [incident]." At least Nadler admits that the goal is to exploit the tragedy.
Sadly, if the circumstances were not so tragic, the predictability of some to use the death of 27 people, including 20 children to promote the anti-gun agenda, would have been almost laughably foreseeable.
Many have discovered that the exploitive concept, "never let a good crisis go to waste," is not a joke. The beloved philosophy articulated as one of several by Saul Alinsky in his book, "Rules for Radicals," a mainstay of the far left. Obama's Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel famously used the phrase, Hillary Clinton did her senior thesis on Saul Alinsky at Wellesley College, and President Obama even taught workshops on the methods of the much-admired radical.
The Case of Kennesaw, Georgia
Kennesaw did something quite unusual in 1982. They unanimously passed an ordinance requiring each head of household to own and maintain a gun. Although the requirement has been largely deemed "symbolic," it made an impact.
The reasoning for the ordinance was a bit strange. Jonathan Hamilton and David Burch of the Marietta Daily Journal reported that Kennesaw Historical Society president Robert Jones said the rule was "in response to a law passed by Morton Grove, Ill., outlawing gun ownership within the city limits."
The legislation, of course, was roundly mocked in the anti-gun mainstream media. Art Buchwald wrote a column titled, "Gun Town USA," where he believed that "routine disagreements between neighbors would be settled in shootouts." The Washington Post referred to Kennesaw as "the soon to be pistol-packing capital of the world." Not surprisingly, the ACLU challenged the law in a federal court just after it was passed. The city responded by adding a clause allowing conscientious objectors to the list of those who could be exempt from owning a weapon.
Then-councilman J.O. Stephenson said after the ordinance was passed, everyone "went crazy." He said, "People all over the country said there would be shootings in the street and violence in homes," he said. "Of course, that wasn't the case." Mayor Leonard Church said of the law, "You can't argue with the fact that Kennesaw has the lowest crime rate of any city our size in the country." Imagine if a potential thief knew that all homeowners were required to have weapons? It is not a stretch to believe that it would be a strong deterrent.
And, the numbers don't lie.
"Prior to enactment of the law, Kennesaw had a population of just 5,242 but a crime rate significantly higher (4,332 per 100,000) than the national average (3,899 per 100,000). The latest statistics available - for the year 2005 - show the rate at 2,027 per 100,000. Meanwhile, the population has skyrocketed to 28,189."
In comparison, Morton Grove's crime rate increased by 15.7 percent immediately after the gun ban.
Another city, Greenleaf, Idaho, has followed in Kennesaw's footprints, as reported by the New York Times. Another interesting tidbit from the article was that the second Congress passed a statute in 1792 "requiring adult male citizens to own guns". The author Glenn Reynolds, a law professor at the University of Tennessee, noted that "Precisely because an armed populace can serve as an effective backup for law enforcement, the ownership of firearms was widely mandated during Colonial times." A little discussed fact is also that armed neighborhood watches "deterred looting in parts of Houston and New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita."
The Colorado theatre massacre, the Foot Hood shooting, the Virginia Tech massacre, Columbine, and the Norway massacre all happened in gun-free zones. Perhaps instead of limiting people's ability to obtain a firearm, American citizens should be empowered to protect themselves. In situations where a mentally ill or otherwise disturbed individual takes it upon himself to shoot up a class of elementary school students or anyone else, a responsible adult with a weapon would likely save lives.
Photo Source: TavernKeepers