Georgia Town Sued for Requiring Residents to own Guns

By on May 21, 2013

The Brady Center, a national group that advocates for tighter gun laws and gun restrictions has sued the town of Nelson, Georgia.   Nelson is a small town located north of Atlanta that recently passed a law requiring all residents to own at least one firearm.  The law carries a maximum penalty of $1000 fine if any household is found to not own a gun and accompanying ammunition.  The Brady Center has stated the new law is unconstitutional, which is why they have decided to sue the town in an attempt to get the latest law overturned.

History behind the Law

The law was drafted with the thought of public safety in mind.  There have been numerous government studies carried out over the years which have proven that having a firearm in your home is one of the best ways to protect yourself, your family and your possessions against the possibility of burglary or theft.  The law was passed and approved unanimously by the 5 person city counsel of Nelson, Georgia a few weeks ago.  The law immediately attracted national attention because it was the first law of its kind that mandated individuals to keep and maintain firearms and ammunition in their homes.

Brady Center Lawsuit

The Brady Center filed a lawsuit against the town on the basis that requiring people to own firearms is a violation of the 1st amendment to the constitution because it violates a person’s freedom of speech and their “right to choose” surrounding issues that are related to personal life and home life.  The lawsuit also is on the grounds that the law violates the 14th amendment because it attempts to distinguish between head of household and non-head of household, which essentially creates two distinct and separate classes of individuals.  Additionally the lawsuit states the law violates the 2nd amendment to the constitution because the amendment does not allow the government to require people to own firearms.

Effects on Residents

The law has also had far-reaching effects on the residents of Nelson.  A Seattle immigration court has stated that the cost of purchasing a handgun and the required amount of ammunition to satisfy the law could cost residents in upwards of $700.  This is a difficult task for residents of the town where the economy is still struggling and people are having difficulty finding work.

Some residents are against the law while others are in favor of it.  One citizen claimed he was against the law because it took away his freedom of choice in regards to his self-determination when it comes to protecting his family and property.  There is also the chance that the law will allow firearms to fall into the hands of felons, the mentally ill, and those that are inexperienced when it comes to handling firearms.

The ultimate fate of the law will be decided after the lawsuit has been completed, but most experts believe the law will stand because it includes exceptions for those that object to owning firearms on a religious or moral basis.

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