This is a striking video of locals in Kennasaw, Georgia who must own a gun by law. In 1982, the Kennesaw City Council unanimously changed gun laws to requiring heads of households to own at least one firearm with ammunition.
The ruling, once it got into the media, caused a national outcry. But locals claim it had a dramatic and long-lasting effect on crime statistics in the town. In the town, violent crime rates are about 85% below national and state rates. Property crime rates are from 46-56% below national and state levels.
From 1999 to 2011, Kennesaw crime statistics reported that both property and violent crimes had decreased, though from 2003 to 2008 the trend in both violent and property crime rates slightly increased. The increase in crime rate overall is attributed to the population growth rate of 37.41%. The ordinance states the gun law is needed to “protect the safety, security and general welfare of the city and its inhabitants.”
Then-councilman J.O. Stephenson said after the ordinance was passed, everyone “went crazy.”
“People all over the country said there would be shootings in the street and violence in homes,” he said. “Of course, that wasn’t the case.”
In fact, according to Stephenson, it caused the crime rate in the city to plunge. Kennesaw Historical Society president Robert Jones said following the law’s passage, the crime rate dropped 89 percent in the city, compared to the modest 10 percent drop statewide.
“It did drop after it was passed,” he said. “After it initially dropped, it has stayed at the same low level for the past 16 years.”
Mayor Leonard Church was not in office when the law was passed, but he said he is a staunch supporter of it.
“You can’t argue with the fact that Kennesaw has the lowest crime rate of any city our size in the country,” said Church, who owns a denture-making company in Kennesaw.