In Some Georgia Cities, A Requirement To Bear Arms

Since more than a million people demanded stronger gun control laws in the March for Our Lives, many local governments have proposed tougher restrictions on guns. 


But some communities, including a couple in Georgia, actually have laws requiring you to own a gun.



In 1982, the city council in Kennesaw, Georgia, passed an ordinance requiring heads of households to maintain working firearms and ammunition.


" ... 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 therefore," the ordinance states


About 30 years later, Nelson, Georgia, passed a similar law. Then, the Brady Center filed a lawsuit against Nelson's city council, claiming the gun ownership mandate violated the First, Second and Fourteenth Amendments.


Ultimately, Nelson's city council amended the law to exempt the disabled, the poor and conscientious objectors. Kennesaw's law has a similar provision.


GPB’s Leah Fleming spoke with Lois Beckett from The Guardian about how mandatory gun laws fit into the gun control debate. Beckett covers guns and gun violence, and previously reported on a small town in Colorado that modeled its "Family Protection Ordinance" after Kennesaw's.   

We also asked Kennesaw Police Lieutenant Craig Graydon if Kennesaw’s gun law has made the community safer. Graydon has lived and worked in Kennesaw for as long as the ordinance has been around. 


Lois Beckett, reporter, The Guardian

Lt. Craig Graydon, ​criminal investigations division commander, Kennesaw Police