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Gun Ownership in Kennesaw, Georgia

  1. Was such a law actually passed?
  2. Did crime rates in the city really drop?
  • Wikipedia confirms the 1982 law. It says nothing about whether crime rates dropped thereafter, though it does state that "In 2001, violent crime rates are about 85% below national and state rates." Are you looking for a more official confirmation of the law? Commented Jul 27, 2015 at 22:38
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    Note that any effect could easily be one of transferring local criminal activity to surrounding areas without similar legislation, so the implication that some poster seem to be pushing ("if everywhere had that law we'd see lower crime rates everywhere") need not be true even if this claim is true. Bruce Schneier like to analyze security measures in terms of transfer effects. Commented Jul 27, 2015 at 22:43
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    And beware that changes to gun laws tend to cause a temporary reduction in crime no matter what the change. Commented Jul 28, 2015 at 3:02
  • Nelson, Georgia also has essentially the same law nelsongeorgia.com/family-protection-ordinance
    – DavePhD
    Commented Jul 28, 2015 at 17:35
  • Are you asking about causality or not? Your question title says yes, but your questions (1.) and (2.) imply not. Should (2.) end with "as a result" ?
    – 410 gone
    Commented Jul 29, 2015 at 11:28

2 Answers 2


1.Was such a law actually passed?
2.Did crime rates in the city really drop?

Yes, as explained in Kennesaw, Georgia's 1982 Gun Mandate Still On The Books, Every Home Owns A Gun:

Kennesaw's 1982 gun mandate was a direct response to a gun -ban- enacted a year earlier in Morton Grove, Illinois. That was later deemed unconstitutional, but Kennesaw's law is still on the books.

Added Lt. Graydon, "It was not meant to be an enforceable law. The police department has never searched homes to make sure you had a gun. It was meant more or less as a political statement to support citizens' second amendment rights to own firearms."

After the law went into effect in 1982, city leaders say they witnessed a 29% drop in crime. Over the last 30 years, the crime rate has remained low with just four gun-related homicides.

See also City of Kennesaw Comprehensive Plan 2006-2026 at page 40:

Kennesaw once again was in the news on May 1, 1982, when the City unanimously passed a law requiring "every head of household to maintain a firearm together with ammunition." After passage of the law, the burglary rate in Kennesaw declined and even today, the City has the lowest crime rate in Cobb County.

According to the New York Times 11 April 1987 article GEORGIA TOWN TO CELEBRATE MANDATORY FIREARMS

In 1981, the year before the ordinance was adopted, Kennesaw recorded 55 house burglaries. The next year there were 26, and in 1985 only 11. Meanwhile, Mr. Stephenson said the city had recorded no deaths or injuries as a result of gun accidents.

  • 19
    Interesting, but I don't think much of their crime stuff is causal as the original question claims. The whole country (and Georgia specifically) experienced a drop in crime at exactly that time. And I suspect that the low gun homicide rate isn't that atypical for a small city with a low poverty rate and high per capita income overall. Having a low crime rate when per family income is pretty high isn't unexpected.
    – KAI
    Commented Jul 28, 2015 at 16:06
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    @KAI I only meant "yes" to the two questions in the body of the OP, "1.Was such a law actually passed? 2.Did crime rates in the city really drop?", maybe I should edit to make more clear.
    – DavePhD
    Commented Jul 28, 2015 at 16:09
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    Interesting that their "low" rate of gun homicides is higher than Australia, New Zealand, Norway, and virtually all Western European countries. Commented Jul 28, 2015 at 17:52
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    @DJClayworth before that, 3 people were murdered in "school safety zone" where guns where prohibited : examiner.com/article/…
    – DavePhD
    Commented Jul 28, 2015 at 18:00
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    @DJClayworth the state of Georgia requires the 1000 foot zone, Kennesaw doesn't have the power to contradict the state on that
    – DavePhD
    Commented Jul 28, 2015 at 18:06

[This is currently only a partial answer, in that addresses only one of the multiple claims. Feel free to steal it for your own fuller answer.]

The Kennesaw, Georgia Code of Ordinances currently does contain this law.

Article II, Section 34-21

Sec. 34-21. - Heads of households to maintain firearms.

(a) 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, every head of household residing in the city limits is required to maintain a firearm, together with ammunition therefore.

(b) Exempt from the effect of this section are those heads of households who suffer a physical or mental disability which would prohibit them from using such a firearm. Further exempt from the effect of this section are those heads of households who are paupers or who conscientiously oppose maintaining firearms as a result of beliefs or religious doctrine, or persons convicted of a felony.

(Ord. No. 2009-03, Exh. A, 2-16-09)

This does not confirm that it was passed unanimously, nor that it was passed in 1982 (in fact, it would suggest it was passed in February 2009, but perhaps it replaced a similar earlier law?) but does confirm it was passed.

This does not demonstrate causality, nor even correlation, with crime figures.

  • I note that I can find no definition of "Head(s) of household(s)", and wonder if it has any meaning under US law. It seems to assume a household power structure that is hardly universal.
    – Oddthinking
    Commented Jul 28, 2015 at 1:26
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    Local law can differ from federal law, but head of household is a category in filing US federal income taxes. See irs.gov/publications/p17/ch02.html
    – Paul
    Commented Jul 28, 2015 at 3:34
  • @Paul: Interesting. And therefore only unmarried people need have firearms? I clearly don't understand this. We should probably take to chat to discuss further.
    – Oddthinking
    Commented Jul 28, 2015 at 4:40
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    @Oddthinking - basically, main taxpayer in any household for tax calculation purposes. Marriage has nothing to do with it - single filer is their own head of household for tax purposes.
    – user5341
    Commented Jul 28, 2015 at 14:13
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    "...or who conscientiously oppose maintaining firearms as a result of beliefs or religious doctrine..." That would make it more a suggestion than a requirement.
    – Rusty
    Commented Jul 29, 2015 at 3:53

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