Brady Center Sues Georgia Town Over Mandatory Gun Law

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Back in April, as rhetoric from the White House and some members of Congress on “gun control” was ramping up, the small town of Nelson, Ga., decided to take a stand on any possible attempts by outside lawmakers to restrict its residents’ 2nd Amendment freedom. It did so by passing an ordinance requiring the head of every household in town to own a gun and ammunition.

It was a partially symbolic move, but it also set in place a local law that assured residents their local leaders came down on the side of the Bill of Rights at a time when it looked as though Congress might buckle to pressure from President Barack Obama and the gun control lobby.

Nelson’s “Family Protection Ordinance” wasn’t intended to be enforced. And there were all kinds of exceptions for residents who held principled objections to owning guns, who couldn’t afford guns or who had committed crimes that made them ineligible to own guns. The town has only a single police officer, and he made clear he had more important things to keep him occupied than enforcing the gun ordinance.

But now the city is facing a Federal lawsuit filed by the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, which alleges the law, despite its provisions for residents to opt out, isn’t Constitutional because it requires something of people that the Constitutions enumerates as a freedom: not an obligation to the state. Never mind that the Brady Center’s own interpretation of the 2nd Amendment essentially castrates its power to arm the citizenry.

It appears that one of the town’s residents, who is also a member of the Brady center, didn’t think himself eligible for any of the exemptions that, under the ordinance, would have allowed him to continue to live without a gun, so he went out and bought one. He’s named in the lawsuit.

The Brady Center hasn’t sued Kennesaw, Ga., a larger Atlanta suburb only a few miles down the road from Nelson, even though Kennesaw has had the same type of ordinance on the books since 1982. The small Colorado town of Nucla also passed a similar ordinance in May, but there’s likewise been no interest from the gun control lobby — so far.

Personal Liberty

Ben Bullard

Reconciling the concept of individual sovereignty with conscientious participation in the modern American political process is a continuing preoccupation for staff writer Ben Bullard. A former community newspaper writer, Bullard has closely observed the manner in which well-meaning small-town politicians and policy makers often accept, unthinkingly, their increasingly marginal role in shaping the quality of their own lives, as well as those of the people whom they serve. He argues that American public policy is plagued by inscrutable and corrupt motives on a national scale, a fundamental problem which individuals, families and communities must strive to solve. This, he argues, can be achieved only as Americans rediscover the principal role each citizen plays in enriching the welfare of our Republic.

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  • vicki

    I looked and looked and I find nothing in the Constitution forbidding a local government or even the state from requiring that every head of household own a gun.

    I don’t like it. I think that each person should be able to make up his own mind but I can’t see anywhere in the Constitutional limits on government power where there is a limit on a state or local government requirement that law abiding citizens be armed.

    • Robert Courtney

      The real head scratcher here is no body really has to have a gun, as it very specifically states that if you object to guns, you are exempt!
      How much plainer can that be?
      Brady’s Bunches real problem is that the law essentially stops any laws from being enforced that RESTRICTS gun ownership by the ordinance on requiring the firearm in the 1st place.
      Makes it harder to get any restrictions put into place.

      • Bill

        Get out your checkbooks, kiddies, and put your money where your mouth is to protect our second amendment rights. How about a $100 check to the NRA on a monthly basis. Politicians are available to the highest bidder. We need to buy as many as we can and quit whining about it

        • Jake Midkiff

          In a perfect world, we wouldn’t need to buy politicians, becase they’d adhere to their oath to protect the Constitution. We’d then also not need lobby groups to help defend our constitutional rights, because the politicians would be doing their job.
          Pretty sad today that a Politician can get a kickback from a lobby group for simply doing what they already took an oath to do. Good work, if you can get it, I guess….

          • Bill

            Times are changing, we either bend or break

          • Nadzieja Batki

            I am sorry Bill, but are you suggesting that people just go along to get along. Has it been too strenuous to swim against the cultural tide?

          • Bill

            Nad,
            Once in a while you say something that makes sense. The rest of the time you like to bust my chops and never hear a word I say
            If you read my second comment back, I said it is time to get out your checkbooks and give money to the gun organization that will buy a politician because that is the way things work nowadays
            Jeff made a comment that it is such a shame that our representatives do not represent us anymore and I said times are a changing and we either go with what gets things done or nothing will get done to keep our right to bear arms.
            So, Nad, what does your warped mind read into these comments

      • Nadzieja Batki

        But people wouldn’t get the same pleasure as they do get from knee jerk responses.

    • Nadzieja Batki

      Keeping safe is each persons responsibility so what the town is doing is right. No hamlet, town, city, etc., has enough manpower to keep anyone safe.

      It is strange that everything in life boils down to choices. If Kennesaw, GA residents don’t want to own a gun, they don’t have to but then they are on their own to keep safe.

      That should be a clause of all the homeowners and car insurance policies, that each person own a gun. Less payout for losses.

    • Blank Reg

      Exactly, that’s the 9th and 10th Amendments in action.

    • ChiefBoring

      “(N)othing in the Constitution forbidding a local government or even the state from requiring that every head of household own a gun.” Correct. At one time the Pilgrims were required to carry firearms to church, in case of an Indian attack. Each Militia Member was required to provide his own musket and accoutrements. Not so much these days, but not a bad idea. As stated, the opt out is: “I don’t want to buy a gun.” Period. End of story.

  • Carl-Cathy Wisnesky

    OK, let’s see if we got this right. The Brady Center is suing this town because it is “forcing” residents to buy something they might not want, but it is ok for the Federal Government to “force” people to buy health insurance they might not want or need or “force” a business to supply health insurance to its employees or face a fine (penalty – tax -whatever you want to call it). Somebody’s got some explaining to do, eh Lucy.

    • Bill

      Carl-Cathy
      No, it’s “Somebody’s got some splaining to do, Lucy
      Good comments

  • me

    I remember when Brady was shot along with Reagan. His wife went on a rampage against everyone. If she had her way they have Chicago based law everywhere and crime would rampage. Chicago is just about the murder capital of America. Criminals rule because citizens cannot defend themselves because of the Brady type laws. They need to leave Nelson Ga alone. with the gun rule crime would stay away. Why screw with them. they did no wrong. they brady shooting and the Newton shootings were done by nutcases. why screw with law-abiding citizens who are no threat. The brady’s are nothing but a tryranical threat.

    • Nadzieja Batki

      Well she had to assuage her hate for her husband, just the right cause would do it and she would get lots of money and attention but even if no money the attention and being liked by the Dems/Progs/Leftists would make up for it. The exhilaration of controlling people.

    • tinkerunique

      Why not enforce the current laws concerning guns? There used to be a law that required a 5-year sentence for a crime INVOLVING a gun, but we seldom hear about it. That was over and above the crime itself. Guns, drugs, and prostitution can be had at any time “on the street”…….FACT. AND most police know this. That is why many sheriffs are against the “Assault Weapons Ban”, which describes legal hunting rifles ( because they “can accept” hi-cap magazines OR “look military”. TRUE assault weapons were legally defined AND banned in 1938.

  • securityman

    they have all sort of ways to not own a gun if that is the way you want to go. I don’t care if a person wants to own a gun or not. that is their choice and I respect that. but , at the same time , they have to respect my choice of having several guns. that is all the city is doing.and it will make it a safer place to live…….

  • TIME

    Dear People,

    Wow how odd is it that O’Bama Care is not seen in quite the same way?

    As in why is that O’Bama Care is “mandatory” that you buy this insurance product ~ yet owning a gun there is a problem with?

    As in the State mandates that YOU must Buy O’Bama Care Insurance, or be fined – yet personal protection as in owning a Gun can’t be?

    Anyone else see any Hypocrisy here?

    And just who benefits from all the legal actions again? Oh yea that’s right people of Title, aka ~ Lawyer’s – aka – Esquires.

    Oh, the games just keep on keeping on.

    Please people help others to open their eyes, get straight with The Christ too.

    Peace and Love

    • Ibn Insha

      In case of Obama he can say same sentence several times and have different meanings every time.

    • Wellarmed

      Agreed that hypocrisy reigns supreme, but with the SCOTUS ruling that the ACA is constitutional, I see no means for the Brady Campaign to find the result they desire, with the exception that they (citizens of this county) would be forced to pay a fine (not a tax) for not contributing towards the towns general welfare and safety if they “chose” not to buy a firearm and the required ammunition.

      This twisted logic will be the downfall of this country. As much as I wish that all American citizens chose to travel well-armed throughout their daily pursuits, I know that no level of government force through taxation will rectify this matter. Two wrongs do not make a right.

      I ultimately feel that the Brady Campaign is right in bringing their Federal Suit against this county. The government on any level (Federal, State or Local) do not have the authority to force any citizen of the United States to purchase a product or service as a requisite of maintaining their freedom. As long as I have the ability to serve on a jury, I will have the ability to overturn rulings which are repugnant to the Constitution of this nation.

  • Mikey V

    The Militia Act of 1792 required firearm ownership of all able bodied men who were subject to militia duty. Nothing new in this country. Local town making sure its militia are properly armed. It is a civic duty, like serving on a jury.

    • Nadzieja Batki

      Thank you, I was trying to track this concept. In fact people were fined if they did not carry their weapon and ammo at all times.

  • ChiefBoring

    The Nelson numbskull could simply have not bought a gun. Nothing would have happened to him or her. This is a deliberate attempt to interfere with the rights of law abiding citizens. The Brady folks should stay in D.C. and leave Georgians alone. There is no case, and any judge worth his or her salt will dismiss it out of hand.

  • billybob

    Bully’s like to pick on someone they know they can beat. The Brady Center knows that this little town is only the beginning and that if they win it will have set a precedent in the court system, so they can then go after bigger fish.