In town where guns are law, city leaders oppose new state gun law
City leaders in the town of Nelson, GA, are opposed to the new state gun law that allows people to carry firearms into churches, bars and government buildings. It was just over one year ago that the Nelson City Council passed an ordinance requiring residents to own a gun.
"When it was presented to me, it seemed like a good idea," said city councilman Jackie Jarrett. He said he voted in favor of the ordinance because he believed most people in the town of roughly 1,300 already owned a firearm. Jarrett also said he believed the ordinance would be symbolic, to show that Nelson residents would be ready for any criminals who might seek to do harm in the community.
"We're telling the criminal elements that if you come to Nelson and plan on doing us harm, we're armed," said Jarrett.
The ordinance was challenged in court by the Brady Center in Washington, D.C., and was settled when Nelson city leaders amended the ordinance to say it would not be enforced in any way.
However, Jarrett and fellow councilman Thad Thacker are concerned about the new Georgia gun law. They said it presents a series of problems for which they might not be prepared, including the reality of having to have security at the front door of city hall in order to screen people from carrying in weapons.
"Even Wyatt Earp made them check their guns in when they came into his town," said Jarrett. "We're going to have to pay somebody to stand out there to check everybody, if we try to keep anybody out with a gun."
"We're a little town. We can't afford the metal detectors," said Thacker.
Jarrett said the city is exploring its options on how to handle the implication of the new law before it goes into effect on July 1.
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