While many politicians are scrambling to curb the Second Amendment rights of Americans in an effort to ensure public safety, one U.S. town has had the opposite approach for decades: require all residents to have a gun.
According to local law in Kennesaw, Georgia, “every head of household residing in the city limits is required to maintain a firearm."
While the 1982 law isn’t actually enforced, the town’s mayor spoke highly of it nonetheless.
"If you're going to commit a crime in Kennesaw and you're the criminal -- are you going to take a chance that that homeowner is a law-abiding citizen?" asked Kennesaw Mayor Derek Easterling, reports CNN.
Lt. Craig Graydon of the Kennesaw Police Department explained the law “was meant to be kind of a crime deterrent.”
And while it’s difficult to prove a causal relationship between the law and crime in the town, Kennesaw, which boasts a population of 33,000 people, has a violent crime rate of less than 2 percent and has only had one murder in the last six years.
"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," said Graydon, who’s been with the police department for 30 years.
Town officials have been fielding calls from across the country in the wake of recent mass shootings, inquiring about the town’s gun law.
"We get a lot of calls, conversation, and it seems to keep crime control, gun safety, things like that on the minds of many of the residents, because people are constantly talking about the gun law," said Graydon. "So that's been somewhat of a benefit to us."
And many are surprised by the town when they actually visit.
"The first thing that most people say when they meet us, you know as a community is 'oh, it's not what I expected,'" said Mayor Easterling. "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," resident Wayne Arnold told CNN. "It's strictly a home defense system type of deal. There's no shootouts down the street."
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