A small town in Idaho has caught the attention of the New York Times. Last week the Times ran a story about Greenleaf, Idaho, population 862 and a proposed ordinance recommending that all of its citizens take up firearms ownership.
The proposal for Section 2, Chapter 6, Subsection 2 of the Greenleaf City Code reads “Heads of households to maintain firearms,” in the heading.
“In order to provide for the emergency management of the city, and further in order to provide for and protect the safety, security and general welfare of the city and its inhabitants,” the proposal says, “it is recommended that every head of household residing in the city limits maintain a firearm, together with ammunition therefore, and obtain appropriate training relating to proper, safe and lawful handling of firearms.”
Some of the townspeople interviewed by the Times thought this was “stupid” or that the ordinance wasn’t needed. But as city councilman Steven G. Jett who wrote the ordinance said it really is an issue of public safety and that he wrote this ordinance after he observed the chaos in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Do you remember the police chief ordering that all citizens turn in their guns after the hurricane leaving people without a way to defend their property from looters? That plus the thuggish behavior of the police where they even beat up one elderly woman who was holding an old non-working pistol (caught on tape) seems to make this a reasonable measure.
To further back up the fact that this isn’t exactly a novel approach t controlling future crime, just check out Kennesaw, Georgia where they passed a mandatory gun ownership law in 1982 and saw crime drop 89 percent in one year. There isn’t any noticeable crime in Greenleaf yet, but when they do start to grow and it will happen, crime will tag along and they just want to be prepared.
Mayor Brad Holton told the Times that there are already a significant number of firearms in Greenleaf and that he himself owned about 25 rifles and handguns and saw the measure as a way to promote responsible use of firearms.
The Times tried to paint councilman Jett and other pro-gun forces as going over the top, but the fact remains that encouraging citizens to arm themselves to protect them from criminals is good public policy. It’s just not the policy the Times endorses.