Skip to comments.Gun Ownership Mandatory In Kennesaw, Georgia --- Crime Rate Plummets
Posted on 04/17/2007 12:29:03 PM PDT by doug from upland
Gun Ownership Mandatory In Kennesaw, Georgia
Crime Rate Plummets
by Chuck Baldwin
The New American magazine reminds us that March 25th marked the 16th anniversary of Kennesaw, Georgia's ordinance requiring heads of households (with certain exceptions) to keep at least one firearm in their homes.
The city's population grew from around 5,000 in 1980 to 13,000 by 1996 (latest available estimate). Yet there have been only three murders: two with knives (1984 and 1987) and one with a firearm (1997). After the law went into effect in 1982, crime against persons plummeted 74 percent compared to 1981, and fell another 45 percent in 1983 compared to 1982.
And it has stayed impressively low. In addition to nearly non-existent homicide (murders have averaged a mere 0.19 per year), the annual number of armed robberies, residential burglaries, commercial burglaries, and rapes have averaged, respectively, 1.69, 31.63, 19.75, and 2.00 through 1998.
With all the attention that has been heaped upon the lawful possession of firearms lately, you would think that a city that requires gun ownership would be the center of a media feeding frenzy. It isn't. The fact is I can't remember a major media outlet even mentioning Kennesaw. Can you?
The reason is obvious. Kennesaw proves that the presence of firearms actually improves safety and security. This is not the message that the media want us to hear. They want us to believe that guns are evil and are the cause of violence.
The facts tell a different story. What is even more interesting about Kennesaw is that the city's crime rate decreased with the simple knowledge that the entire community was armed. The bad guys didn't force the residents to prove it. Just knowing that residents were armed prompted them to move on to easier targets. Most criminals don't have a death wish.
There have been two occasions in my own family when the presence of a handgun averted potential disaster. In both instances the gun was never aimed at a person and no shot was fired.
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I believe there are ways you can opt out.
Who cares about facts figures and common sense? All you need to do is run around screaming “think of our children!”
Bag The Colors And Pass The Ammunition
Every day is code green in Kennesaw, Georgia.
The town which made headlines 20 years ago this month has enjoyed low crime rates and offers many tips on fighting crime.
Perhaps it could teach the nation a thing or two about fighting terrorism as well.
Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge recently announced a color code to measure terrorist threats in this country. The code begins with the color green — indicating a low security risk — and from there escalates to blue, yellow, orange and red.
Director Ridge said that it may be several years before we sink below a level yellow alert — the color yellow meaning the level of risk is “elevated.”
Well, that may be true in most places. But not in Kennesaw, where residents are celebrating two decades of crime-free living.
Every day is code green in Kennesaw, Georgia.
It was twenty years ago this month that city officials embarked upon a bold experiment. They enacted a law requiring every household to own a firearm, exempting those with criminal records or religious objections.
The results of this experiment have been phenomenal, showing that armed citizens deter crime.
An early study (in 1982) found that the residential burglary rated in Kennesaw had fallen 89 percent in the seven months following the law’s enactment. That drop far outpaced the more modest 10.4 percent drop in the entire state of Georgia during that same period.
In the ensuing years, the crime rate has remained at basement levels. According to the Kennesaw Police Department, there was less than one property crime for every 1,000 people in 1998. That’s down from 11 such crimes per 1,000 residents in 1981 — the year before the gun law was enacted.
Now, let’s be honest. Kennesaw may not be the number one town on Osama bin Laden’s hit list. But it is fair to ask the question: if you were an al-Qaeda terrorist, where would you rather ply your trade?
Would you rather “work” in a city where your victims are legally disarmed, and they can’t shoot back? Or would you rather operate in a town like Kennesaw where guns are about as plentiful as water?
It is interesting to note that in Israel — a place where terrorism is a constant threat — armed citizens have been a perennial thorn in the side of Palestinian gunmen and suicide bombers.
Earlier this month, a shoe salesman was eating dinner with his wife in a Jerusalem nightclub, when a terrorist opened fire with an automatic firearm.
William Hazan grabbed a pistol out of his wife’s purse and shot the Palestinian, thus ending the terror. The gunman had explosives strapped to his body, but was effectively prevented from detonating the devices.
This heroic action came on the heels of another episode in late February when an alert citizen shot dead a terrorist who tried to set off an explosive device in an Efrat supermarket. The alert customer, who was a woman, was praised for saving the lives of many people.
Not to ignore a good thing, Israeli authorities are now trying to get even more citizens carrying guns. They recently announced that they will extend permits up to 60,000 additional citizens. And in some cases, authorities will even give away the guns for free.
*******************************Now, the Kennesaw ordinance does not force residents to carry firearms, but many of them do anyway. Wouldn’t it be great if Kennesaw officials expanded their experiment and encouraged citizens to carry the firearms which they are already required to own? ****************************
Hey, the idea of arming private citizens is saving lives in Israel. Why shouldn’t it work here in this country?
Ridge’s color code may help alert people to potential dangers, but it does nothing to help Americans protect themselves. Further, it does nothing to deter terrorists.
So bag the colors and pass the ammunition. Kennesaw has proven that guns in private hands increase the protection of average citizens.
And that’s why on this 20-year anniversary, we should remember: every day is code green in Kennesaw, Georgia.
Erich Pratt is the Director of Communications for Gun Owners of America.
A copy of part of the town ordinance:
“ARTICLE I. IN GENERAL
Sec. 34-1. Heads of households to maintain firearms.
(a) In order to provide for the emergency management of the city, and further in order to provide for and protect the safety, security and general welfare of the city and its inhabitants, every head of household residing in the city limits is required to maintain a firearm, together with ammunition therefor.
(b) Exempt from the effect of this section are those heads of households who suffer a physical or mental disability which would prohibit them from using such a firearm. Further exempt from the effect of this section are those heads of households who are paupers or who conscientiously oppose maintaining firearms as a result of beliefs or religious doctrine, or persons convicted of a felony.
(Code 1986, § 4-3-10)
Sec. 34-2. Use of firearms.
No person shall fire a gun, pistol or other firearm in the city, except in the defense of person or property, and except peace officers or military forces of this state or the United States, in the discharge of official duties.”
Yes, this all sucks. Bad sourcing indeed. Imagine, someone got an email from a sourced story. If you Google “kennesaw georgia guns,” there are only 139,000 articles about this. If I were you, I wouldn’t believe it for a minute.
Sounds like a good city to live in.
The area where I live in NY is lower than the crime rate in Kennesaw, GA and we’re not required to keep a firearm.
My post #9 is directly from the town ordinances, easily found via a quick web search.
Yes, this story is true, there is another town that has done the same thing after hearing about Kennesaw but I can’t remember which one it was.
"Ain't nuthin but a bunch of Cracker, Red Neck, gunototin' hicks in Kennesaw. I'll be fixin' that sitchiashun in January '09. And yall know what ahm talkin about."
You are fortunate indeed. My guess is that MS13 or the Crips/Bloods have not set up shop there. That is not a racial comment; it is a gang comment.
The gangs are here, which explains the little bit of violent crime that we do have.
Also, while we are not required by law to own a firearm, many of us do. (I share an office with Mr. Remington and his twin brother shares my den at home.)
Our sheriff would agree -- he thinks everyone should have a concealed carry permit.
Baldwin is very solid. He ran for VP in 2004.
Kennesaw, Ga. and it's 'Mandatory' Gun Ownership Law and near zero crime after said law as passed is 'world famous'.
60 Minutes even did a piece on it years back. The flaming libs weer astonished that adults actually walked down the streets with guns strapped on and gun fights didn't break out.
I live in the next city over. Kennesaw is wonderful.
I’m from Atlanta and can attest to validity of the mandatory gun ownership law in Kennesaw. It works. The crime rate is lower than other areas of Atlanta. I was just telling my friends in Moscow yesterday about Kennesaw and the importance of protecting our right to own guns.
> While gun ownership is a right how is it legal for a goverment to require ownership <
Perfectly OK under the militia powers inherently held by each state — powers that legally may be delegated by a states to its city and county governments.
(Militia powers predate the U. S. Constitution, and as such they are guaranteed to the states by the Tenth Amendment.)
Kennesaw, no doubt, doesn’t have a Sheriff Dupnik.
I think it’s worth mentioning just so credit is not given where credit is not due... Crime isn’t the only thing they have less of, they have less law enforcement as well.
Officers per 1,000 residents Kennesaw: 1.53
Georgia Average: 2.72
There’s a whole ton of information about Kennesaw at... http://www.city-data.com/city/Kennesaw-Georgia.html
I know this is kind of an old article, but I’m responding do to all of the misinformation I’ve seen on it. First of all I’m a homeowner in Kennesaw and I do not own a gun. I’m not anti-gun in any way, I’ve just personally never felt the desire or need to own one. I had never heard anything about this gun law until about a year after I started living here. I’ve never seen this law enforced or heard of any court cases over it and after reading the law, its apparent why. The law says that if you don’t agree with it then you don’t have to obey it, which makes it a completely pointless law. If you’re attempting to draw conclusions about crime and gun ownership based on this law you really are just manipulating people. The crime rate of Kennesaw is consistent with the surrounding area and the percent of households that own guns might be slightly above average for the area. The crime and murder rates in my opinion are much more likely due to the economics of the city than anything else (Kennesaw is a suburb of Atlanta with mostly middle class families and one of the largest universities in the state located within it). All of that aside, as someone who works with statistics every day, I can say there is something that is very off putting about this article. The author is trying to draw a broad conclusion from a single data point. I’ll give you an example of that from another perspective. Japan is a country that has outlawed guns and has a very low crime and murder rate. If I were to look only at Japan, I might conclude that they have a low crime rate because they’ve outlawed guns. There are other factors (culture, social issues, economics, etc.) and other data points (countries, cities, etc.) I’m ignoring and not taking into account though. Misusing statistics to manipulate people has been a proud tradition of the media regardless of which side of the aisle you are on. In my opinion crime has much more to do with other issues (mostly economics) and has very little to do with gun laws.
In my opinion crime has much more to do with other issues (mostly economics) and has very little to do with gun laws.
I respect your opinion, but crime has little to do with economics. Crime has to do with culture, morality, and education.
To say crime has little to do with economics is a huge understatement. I do agree with you that poverty alone doesn’t cause crime. If you look at crime rates though they are almost always higher in high poverty areas.
I’m not saying that being poor makes you a criminal or is a direct cause of crime.
I’m saying being poor gives you less opportunities and statistically increases the likelihood that you may resort to crime.
The case of Kennesaw is always cited by gun control opponents, but any social scientist will tell you there’s no evidence the Kennesaw law had any impact on crime. Overall, there’s no good way to determine from a single community the impact of a law. Here are a few reasons why you cannot make any statement, whether it be for or against gun control, related to Kennesaw:
1. Crime was already fairly low in Kennesaw when the law was passed. Minor fluctuations up or down cannot be interpreted as significant, and even if the fluctuations were large, there’s no way to tell if the law, or other factors contributed because other things were also changing at the same time.
2. Kennesaw went from being a rural community to a suburban community fairly quickly. Never was this more true than in the 80s. The rate of gun ownership in rural households generally is lower than in suburban households. If anything, Kennesaw may have had a DECREASE in gun ownership through the 80s until today due to this change in demographics.
3. The law itself was never enacted to decrease crime and is not enforced. Like RobertIII, I personally know of plenty of households in Kennesaw who do not own guns (in fact - the ONLY people I know in Kennesaw are not gun owners). These are not people who lived there when it was rural - they moved there after it was suburbanized. Again, it’s very likely the rate of gun ownership has actually decreased there since the unenforced law was passed.
4. People are fond of comparing the crime in Kennesaw to very different communities without the law (e.g., the nation as a whole or other disparate communities). This is comparing apples to oranges, especially when looking at the racial and socioeconomic make-up of Kennesaw and how it differs from these other places. We can look at the incredibly low crime in industrialized countries with incredibly strict gun control. There are few exceptions here (yes, even Switzerland has very, very, very stringent gun laws - look up the actual laws - not what you read on a blog). If you cite Kennesaw and compare it to dissimilar or even somewhat similar communities, you also have to compare the U.S. with it’s incredibly lax gun laws to somewhat similar industrialized societies with strict gun laws. You can’t have it both ways.
5. Since we really don’t know about the actual rate of gun ownership there, you could argue that criminals THINK everyone has guns and so they don’t commit crimes there (clearly they do - there’s still a good bit of crime in Kennesaw). The U.S. is the most armed country in the industrialized world, yet our crime rate is incredibly high and our gun violence is the highest. If criminals really were prevented from committing crimes because of fear of gun owners, we should have a low rate of crime. But we don’t. Presumably criminals know about our high rate of gun ownership. I mean, some criminals are stupid but most are not.
Here’s what likely happens (my hypothesis):
6. When criminals know or think someone may have a gun (as would be very, very likely in the U.S. given the 200+ million guns we have in this country), they don’t necessarily avoid that person or household (though they may proceed to wait until the house is vacant and then steal guns - this is a lot bigger problem than most people realize), but it makes them more likely to bring a gun in the first place, and more likely to fire that gun. In other words, guns might not keep criminals in check, but might actually make them MORE likely to use guns in the commission of a crime in the first place. Think about drug gangs. Do you think any of them are stupid enough to try to seize another gangs drugs without weapons? They know the other guys have guns, and more than likely, they’re going to try to outnumber the other gang by having bigger and better guns. We call this an “arms race.” And you see this in the U.S. There weren’t a lot of people defending assault weapons, high capacity clips, etc. 30 or 40 years ago in the U.S. Now, even many previously rational gun owners are buying these types of guns and fighting against any related legislation. When the majority of criminals start using these types of guns in the commission of crimes, what will 2nd amendment enthusiasts be wanting next? It’s out of control.
Bottom line: you can not make heads or tales of the Kennesaw gun law. No responsible social scientist would. If you’re going to use Kennesaw then I’m going to use a larger data set: other industrialized nations compared to the U.S.. With that data the evidence is resounding: more gun restrictions = less crime (particularly gun violence) even though the relationship is not 100% perfect. I win.
The original post also cryptically mentions how his own personal family was spared tragedy because of the presence of a gun (even though it was never aimed at someone or fired). How does he know this? Did the gun dial the police? People who cite defensive gun uses, if you really ask them specifically what happened, are often fooling themselves about the protection afforded by that gun (there stories easily unravel...). In addition, many gun owners have all these tales of how their gun protected them, yet almost every non-gun owner doesn’t have a tale of “if only I had a gun!” In some circumstances, say when we have been victims of a crime, we know that the gun would have been useless anyway (element of surprise usually wins out) or the gun would have actually made things a lot worse. I won’t even go into the research about how someone in your household will be more likely to have that gun used on them by a family member - or themselves - than have it used for protection...... While some gun owners falsely believe their gun protected them, you also have to wonder why so many other gun owners find themselves in predicaments where they needed to “defend” themselves with a gun in the first place. It does really make one wonder.
This book may help you (the author is a FReeper): More Guns, Less Crime -John R. Lott Jr.
M Kehoe and Robert III are correct here, and Robert, an informed opinion is better than an ill-informed one. We know enough about crime to know that economics play a significant role. Not the only role, but a significant one. So much so that saying “my opinion is it has to do with economics” is akin to saying, “my opinion is the earth is round.” Someone could disagree with you, but they would, in fact, be wrong.
I know the research in this area very well, and Lott’s research is consistently debunked. Also, I certainly don’t read popular books for my scientific information!!! He’s also been involved in several scandals which undermine his credibility.
Incidentally, Lott advocates that even in households with children families should keep their guns loaded and unlocked because you need to have them available to defend yourself. He advocates this because of his own (albeit poor) research he conducted on the topic. If you want to tout this guy, then go ahead.
I happened upon this forum by accident, and felt it necessary to correct the misinformation in the original post. I don’t know the members of this forum and if they don’t think critically or hold to rigid idealogies (it’s useless and very time-consuming to have a discussion with these people from my experience) so forgive me if I check out of the conversation from this point on. I have a busy life! Thanks.
Welcome to FR. Why did you waste your time here writing crap?
People may listen to your hypothesis when you do what John Lott did -— a massive study of every single county in this country.
We are always pleased to welcome new people to FR, but it doesn’t always go so well when someone comes here trying to change minds with a hypothesis that you pull from thin air. Or worse, from your *ss.
Nice hit and run. I know you did not check out and are watching this for responses. Oh, you know the research very well in this area. Oh, you have a busy life. Oh, you need to correct misinformation. Your busy life is spent in your mom’s basement. Go back to pretending you are Manti’s girlfriend.
You probably know the greatest fear a home invasion robber has, right? It is the sound of a round going into the chamber of a shotgun.
My guess, Andrew, is that you would not put a sign in your yard saying that THIS IS A GUN FREE ZONE. I wonder why that is the case.
Rest assured, Andrew, that if you are ever being mugged, my gun and I will not intervene. I just wouldn’t want to make things worse.
I know the research in this area very well, and Andrew27's research is consistently debunked. Also, I certainly don't read popular books for my scientific information!!! He's also been involved in several scandals which undermine his credibility.
If you want to tout this guy, then go ahead.