In a desperate response to rising crime, a Georgia town mandated that all heads of households keep a firearm in their homes for protection. However, no one expected the drastic results the ordinance would have on the city.
In 1982, the Kennesaw City Council passed an ordinance requiring every head of household to possess a functioning firearm at their homes, The Daily Wire reports. The Georgia suburb consisted of around 5,000 people, each of whom would now live within feet of a deadly weapon. Within a year of the mandate, civilians and politicians alike were stunned by the outcome.
As the gun control debate rages on, many individuals have taken hard stances against the average citizen’s right to keep and bear arms. Unquestionably asserting that rampant firearm ownership will only exacerbate gun crime, the argument tends to revolve around which restrictions should be placed on our Second Amendment rights. However, the results in Kennesaw debunk much of what we’ve been told regarding firearms.
One year after the ordinance was enacted, burglaries plummeted a staggering 89 percent even though the state only saw a 10.4-percent decrease in the same category, Florida State University professor Gary Kleck recorded. At the same time, the nation saw a 9.6-percent decline, providing evidence that the mandate was effective.
“Finally, the deterrent effect of civilian gun ownership is supported by the experience of Kennesaw, Georgia, a suburb of Atlanta with a 1980 population of 5,095…To demonstrate their disapproval of a ban on handgun ownership passed in Morton Grove, Illinois, the Kennesaw City council passed a city ordinance requiring heads of households to keep at least one firearm in their homes. In the seven months following passage of the ordinance (March 15, 1982 to October 31, 1982), there were only five reported residential burglaries, compared to 45 in the same period in the previous year, an 89 percent decrease…This drop was far in excess of the modest 10.4 percent decrease in the burglary rate experienced by Georgia as a whole from 1981 to 1982, the 6.8 percent decrease for South Atlantic states, the 9.6 percent decrease for the United States, and the 7.1 percent decrease for cities under 10,000 population…”
The effects in Kennesaw aren’t an anomaly. Kleck discovered that rape dropped a whopping 89 percent in Orlando after the Orlando Police Department trained around 2,500 women in the proper use of firearms. The initiative came in response to skyrocketing sexual assaults. Once again bolstering the causative effect, Kleck recorded that the “rape rate remained constant in the rest of Florida and the United States.”
However, arming the women in Orlando had other unforeseen effects as well. Not only did sexual assaults drastically decline, but other crimes dropped as well, including “a substantial drop” in burglaries. Kleck’s studies point to the often overlooked reality that citizen ownership of firearms prevents crime on a massive scale.
While gun control advocates repeatedly cite the statistics associated with gun crime, they completely ignore the number of crimes that are prevented thanks to private ownership. According to the Foundation for Economic Education, guns prevent an estimated 2.5 million crimes per year, which comes to 6,849 crimes each day. In the vast majority of cases, the gun is never discharged, resulting in a non-violent de-escalation of the attempted crimes in most encounters. The study concludes that an estimated 400,000 lives are saved by firearms.
“According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” The Heritage Foundation continues, “almost every major study on defensive gun use has found that Americans use their firearms defensively between 500,000 and 3 million times each year. There’s good reason to believe that most defensive gun uses are never reported to law enforcement, much less picked up by local or national media outlets…[I]t highlights just a fraction of the incredible number of times Americans relied on the Second Amendment — not the government getting there in time — to protect their inalienable rights. Despite the limitations on data, these confirmed cases of defensive gun use help prove that the ‘good guy with a gun’ is not a myth, but an integral part of American society.”
Additionally, 60 percent of convicted felons admitted that they have purposefully avoided targeting a victim they knew was armed. Forty percent confessed that they wouldn’t commit crimes if they even suspected their intended victims might be carrying a firearm. Likewise, criminals confirm that they avoid breaking into the homes of armed residents for fear of being shot.
Although dissidents point out the fact that some criminals might be armed themselves, less than 1 percent of firearms are used to commit crimes. Still, the chances are better for the victim if they are equally armed when encountering a dangerous criminal.
Countless studies of private firearm ownership have proved the life-saving effects of a well-armed population. Time and time again, the evidence shows that individuals are less likely to be victimized when they are in control of their personal safety.
The sad reality is that most Americans don’t stand much of a chance if faced with a dangerous criminal intent on harming them. For many women, disadvantaged minorities, disabled persons, and elderly individuals, a firearm is the great equalizer, providing them with the equity required to protect themselves.