By John Bachman
NELSON, Ga. —
Every homeowner in a local town could soon have to own a gun or break the law. It's a controversial new plan for the city of Nelson. Leaders told Channel 2's John Bachman the reason they need the law is because the city straddles Cherokee county to the south and Pickens County to the north. That, they said, can lead to slower response times. One police officer patrols Nelson, Georgia for eight hours during the day. That leaves 16 hours overnight when the city is basically unguarded. "When he's not here we rely on county sheriffs--however it takes a while for them to get here," said Nelson City Councilman Duane Cronic. That's why Cronic proposed the ordinance. "Every head of household will own and maintain a firearm," he said. Bill McNiff lives in Nelson, carries a pistol and supports the law. "I think every city should do it. I think it should go countywide too," McNiff said. The Nelson ordinance is modeled closely after the 1982 law passed in Kennesaw. It requires gun ownership, but allows several outs, like if you're not physically or mentally able to handle a gun, or if you're a felon or have religious objections. "It's a deterrent ordinance," Cronic said. "It tells the potential intruder you better think twice." "Why have an ordinance if you're not going to enforce it? What's the point? They just want publicity to say Nelson is a town full of weapons," Nelson resident Lamar Kellett said. Kellett isn't opposed to having guns, just having the government tell him he has to do it. "This is big government at its worst. Government mandating what a free individual can and will have in his home," Kellett said. City leaders could make the proposal law at the next council meeting, which is April 1.