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Gun Control Group Sues Small Town for Requiring Gun Ownership

The city of Nelson, Georgia has 1,300 inhabitants, one police officer, and one controversial city ordinance.

The city of Nelson, Georgia has 1,300 inhabitants, one police officer, and one controversial city ordinance.

Crime in the sleepy town of Nelson, Georgia is relatively low, yet an unusual city ordnance is now drawing national attention.

As interest in gun control intensified over the early months of 2013, several cities considered going in the opposite direction and requiring their residents to own firearms rather than restricting them. With a population of only 1,300, Nelson was one of a few that were able to get such a measure approved. It is a largely symbolic move to show support for the town’s gun owners and the Second Amendment. Called the Family Protection Ordinance, it mandated every household to maintain a firearm and ammunition, but makes an exception for those who cannot afford, legally own, or objected to the ownership of guns. According to the Associated Press, the ordinance was also never enforced and the only police officer in town, also the police chief, had no plans to enforce it in the future. The city council approved of the ordinance in April but did not expect the lawsuit that followed in May.

The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence filed the federal suit two months ago, but now both sides speak about the possibility of a settlement. The Brady Center is part of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, an organization that works to promote gun control laws both at a federal and state level. Upon the discovery that Nelson has passed a “gun requirement” ordinance, the Brady Center decided to take legal action.

“We definitely think this law is misguided and unconstitutional in Nelson and anywhere else where it’s passed,” said Brady Center lawyer Jonathan Lowy. “But it’s also important to send a message to other jurisdictions around the country that might be inclined to pass similar misguided, unconstitutional laws.”

However, Nelson was not the first town to enact such an ordinance. In 1982, nearby Kennesaw, Georgia passed a similar ordinance and like Nelson, never enforced it. Since then, several other towns have passed their own firearm requirement laws. Just as the Nelson city council was directly inspired by Kennesaw, so was the town of Nucla, Colorado. Law enforcement in Nucla also have no intentions on enforcing their ordinance, which local officials hope will deter crime.

Gun rights advocay group Georgiacarry.org plans on joining the lawsuit in support of Nelson, but the city’s lawyers hope the issue can be settled amicably.

“I think if it is clarified that it was never intended to be enforced, I’m thinking that might move toward some possible resolution of the case,” said David Archer, a lawyer hired to defend Nelson in court.

The AP reports that many of the town’s residents are still in support of the ordinance, where it is viewed as a public message of opposition to gun control. It had been approved unanimously in a 5-0 vote by the city council in April.

Image courtesy City of Nelson

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  • Dan S

    Sorry Brady folks… you have no legal right to bring this suit since it doesn’t affect you directly.

    • Napoleon

      It would be interesting to know when the last gun murder occurred in Nelson. Probably nobody there alive who would remember, so why would these goons go there instead of suffering from exploding heads over the gun murders in their own backyards, Chicago and Washington DC? They know they can bring attention to themselves by heavy handing a small peaceful town with limited resources but have no solutions for real problems.

    • M40

      That would be correct except that the Brady folks are NOT the plaintiffs. They found a single libtard from this town who ran out and spent money on a gun, and is now claiming that the town caused him financial hardship. Whether or not he has any real case is IRRELEVANT.

      The Brady folks just need a toehold so they can bring in a pack of lawyers to drag it out for months in court. And if recent events are any clue, they’ll probably call in Sharpton’s “Rent-a-Riot” to turn the whole thing into a media circus. That means that even if they don’t win the case… they still win.

    • Hochap

      Hey Brady where is you sence of humer? What a bunch bunch of fools.

  • jackschmdt

    Don’t let that bother you, Dan S. The “progressive” liberal side don’t need to be affected directly, they know what’s best for you. Of course, in this republican democracy, the fact that the local citizens are in favor is entirely beside the point, if the Establishment goons (the Brady bunch) think it’s wrong!

    • M40

      Funny how the left maintains that the federal government has the power to require people to purchase & maintain health insurance…

      …but along comes a small town that (only symbolically) requires folks to honor or practice an ENUMERATED RIGHT… and the left goes bonkers, and threatens to sue?

      PS – A town, city or state has a LOT more right to mess with what people may buy/own/maintain than does the federal government. The federal government is strictly limited to those privileges and enumerated powers we grant them in the constitution. Per the tenth amendment ALL other powers NOT listed in the constitution are vested in the individual states, and in the people.

      The time is coming where we need to either wipe out the ‘Commerce Clause’, or seriously redefine/limit it. And then the individual states need to start exercising and enforcing their tenth amendment rights.

      • M40

        Actually, now that I think about it, it could be a GOOD thing if the court rules against this town on the grounds that they cannot force people to buy something that may cause them financial hardship… kinda like Obamacare?

      • Wrightclick

        No one is forcing them to buy anything. The law ‘makes an exception for those who cannot afford, legally own, or objected to the ownership of guns.’ If you simply ‘object to buying a gun’ then you’re exempt.

      • M40

        If you read through the comments section, this whole case is based on a single libtard from that town who ran out and spent $700 on a gun, and then complained that the town caused him financial harm (otherwise, there’s no case as the Brady folks cannot show cause or harm from anything this town did).

      • Wrightclick

        Ignorance of the law is not grounds for a lawsuit. The guy was not required to buy a gun. All he had to do was object. They don’t enforce it anyway. My guess is he bought JUST to use it to file the case. It was a setup.

        Any judge would likely throw this case out on its ear. I hope to God they do not settle.

      • M40

        “Any judge would likely throw this case out on its ear”

        Don’t be so sure. The case against Zimmerman should have been thrown out, but it went right ahead with a judge that was obviously “in the bag” for the prosecution. My guess is they’re “judge shopping” right now, and have packs of sign waving street rioters ready to roll at a moments notice. The media will jump on it as well, and as I mentioned before, it doesn’t matter at all whether they win or lose the case… either way, they win. Their goal is the media frenzy… NOT the court case.

  • commonsense

    all this effort to keep law abiding citizens from LEGALLY owning guns seems like it would be better spent getting the guns out of the hands of gang members and criminals that ILLEGALLY own AND ILLEGALLY USE guns with mandatory life sentences or actually carrying out the death penalty. Oh..wait…then we’d be targeting the wrong voters…I mean people…sorry, forget that.

  • Louie F

    The law allows for exceptions to firearm ownership. I’m definitely siding with Nelson!

  • Rascal

    I often wonder how many of the “Brady People” own guns. They will stop at nothing to get our guns.

    • M40

      You might be surprised at how many of the most prominent liberal gun control advocates have bodyguards that carry firearms. What these people actually mean when they say “gun control”, is that they want the military, police, and their personal security guys to have guns… but definitely NOT the “unwashed masses” they wish to control.

      Always remember that the liberal mindset is, at its core, a deep-seated belief that they are somehow better and smarter than everyone else. They know how to raise your kids better than you. They know how to run your finances better, and how to conduct your business better than you. In their minds, they are the ‘elite’ who should be allowed to run and control everything. Of course this also means that everyone else is a moron that NEEDS to be controlled for their own good.

      The “limousine liberal” mindset is of course pure evil. Those who seek to control others should be forever watched and held in check. The best leaders throughout history did not seek power in the first place and were glad to give it up. The worst tyrants in history spent their whole lives seeking more and more power, and by any means necessary… and they seize that power by making others powerless.

      The reality is that corrupt men do NOT seek equality. They stand ready to take that which is yours by force or coercion. Those of moral ambivalence may seek to pilfer wealth, but the most vile and dangerous men seek power. They aim to take your most precious gift. They want your freedom.

      An armed man who stands ready to bleed and die for his freedom will never be subjugated. To enslave him, you must first disarm him. All throughout history, good men who laid down their arms in the name of peace… were enslaved by the corrupt men who did not.

      Gaze with deep suspicion on those who ASK that you lay down your arms. Act with wrath against those who would FORCE you.

  • sickofliberals

    There is one man in town who objected but instead of using the objection clause, he decided he needs to protect everyone one else from themselves. He said he was afraid he would get prosecuted for not having a gun so he went out and spent $700.00 on a gun just to say it was not fair he had to buy a gun. He could have just said I object to guns and everything would have been fine, but being the fine upstanding card carrying, weak-kneed, bedwetting, spineless, liberal, he wants ruin it for everyone he disagrees with. If conservatives don’t like something, they don’t do it, if a liberal doesn’t like something then so should everybody else. Sick of liberals!

    From CNN: “And there are residents of Nelson who have suffered economically because of the law, the suit says. It says longtime resident Harold Lamar Kellett was “forced” to purchase a handgun and ammunition, which cost him nearly $700 — a financial burden he should not have to bear.

    The ordinance “has stripped Mr. Kellett of his right to determine how best to protect his home and compelled him to take action and communicate with the public in a manner he would not otherwise have done,” according to the suit.” Like I said, he could have just said he objected but he wants to force his ideals on everyone. Again, sick of liberals.

    • Billy Bob

      …like marrying someone of the same gender?

  • Charles

    I’d like to know on what grounds they find the law unconstitutional? Especially when they try to keep getting these laws passed that restrict firearms from law abiding citizens that seems, to me at least, go against the second amendment. I think just because the technology that has gone into firearms has changed doesn’t mean that we should keep our citizens from having an updated weapon. The Second Amendment was created for a couple of reasons:

    1: To keep the federal government and even state governments from doing like the British did in the 1770′s. Removing guns from the citizens to “control” them. The weapons of the day then were the same for both “military” and “hunting”.

    2: To allow the citizens to defend themselves and their families, this is a part of what all members of the military also swear to. “I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”

    I think the Second Amendment also creates another way for the military to uphold the constitution if they can’t get to their armory and sign out their weapon there.

  • DBCee

    Is a resident bring the action? If not, what standing does the Brady Group have to sue the city? What injury has been suffered? How have the Brady Group rights been affected? I’d suggest a counter-suit for misuse of the legal system without just cause. Please Nelson, stand your ground!

  • Glenn H

    What the Brady Bunch tend to forget is that they are the ones on the wrong side of our constitution, not Nelson Georgia!

  • mark

    Go nelson former marine here saying you guys r doing the right thing. Way to band together wish more would

  • 2ThinkN_Do2

    Well the Constitution says you have the right to bear arms and it shall not be infringed. So, they are not infringing on your right to bear arms, like some other laws!

  • Charlie

    A precedent exists. Kennesaw, Georgia passed just such an ordinance in March, 1982. It was in response to the Morton Grove, Illinois ban on gun ownership. Crime plummeted in Kennesaw. Their ordinance provided the same exceptions to citizens. Still in effect today.

  • fishunter

    For the Brady group to use the word “constitutional” is like a blast in the face. They don’t just want to stop gun violence, (most of us want that), but they want to outlaw any guns except those in the hands of law enforcement and the military, and senators and politicians, and etc, etc. Logic does not enter their minds and they would lay open the citizens to whatever criminals would be willing to do to their victims. What the Brady group would do to the 2nd. Amendment, I can only guess. Then, what about the other amendments that do not serve their special interests?

  • jeff mule

    Was asking if the Brady people have any legal standing in this town or in that court. Was this done just to bully a small town because it has more money then a town of 1300?

  • Mark G.

    The only people who should not be allowed to own guns are those who hate guns and do not own them and who fear them. These people project how they would behave with a gun and they would behave criminally and maliciously. Those who love guns and do not fear them and who own them are the good people in our society who are responsible and careful with their care and these people are overall, well behaved and law abiding. There should be a registry made up of people who do not own guns so we can identify who these people are monitor them more closely for criminal behaviour.

  • Wrightclick

    David Archer, would be naive to think that BCPGV is interested in a settlement. They want to set a precedent for bigger fish later. If they can establish a foothold in this little town it would arm (ahem) them for more, bigger lawsuits. Kenesaw has been there for 30 years and they’ve never touched it? Why Nelson? Why now?

    Better to ‘Stand Your Ground’ and make them work ($$$) at trying to prove that it’s unconstitutional. Gun owners and gun rights supporters should be actively siding with Nelson both with media coverage and with financial support.

  • fishunter

    These special interest groups should be counter sued for frivolous and harassing law suits. They do not belong in a free nation and need to be stopped. Many of us remember Jim Brady being shot. Also shot was President Reagan, however, he never blamed the gun used, only the person who fired the gun.
    I try to make notes like these without calling anyone names, but sometimes it is tempting and I frequently have to search my mind for an acceptable term. The Brady group and Mayors Against Illegal Guns, (Bloombergs baby) reek of communism and other oppressive government types. I fear that is what the U.S. is turning into. The coming years could be a disaster for our country and we need to be strong and have the backbone to stand by our values.

  • robertthehorse

    well chase the idiots away and laugh them out of your court – ha ha ha ha ha ha – us law abiding people are sick of your crap – if you agreed 30 years ago for a quick death penalty for lawless thugs – and a chop to section 8 rent and welfare to lawless gangs – we wouldnt have half the problems we now have

  • fishunter

    These “Special Interest Groups”, like the Brady anti-gun group, et. al. should have suits filed against them for frivolous lawsuits. They consider themselves untouchable but if the officers and attorneys were held personally liable and had to pay fines, etc. the story might be different. This also is relevant to the ACLU!

  • fishunter

    I just had another thought. Is it possible that the Brady anti-gun group “set up” or arranged this purchase for the express purpose to create a lawsuit? If so, there should be rules to forbid this kind of action. It might be hard to prove but would be possible, when, under oath to question the involved citizen as to if he was contacted or contacted the Brady outfit for the goal to file suit and cause trouble and conflict.

  • masterc4u

    I wonder how many member of The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence have armed personal security guards to protect them???