Proposed Ordinance asks Each Household to Have a Firearm
Fox | September 25 2006
Greenleaf, Idaho -- All Americans have the right to bear arms. Some towns have even gone as far as to require each household to have a gun. Now a small Idaho town is contemplating a similar idea-- it's called the Civil Emergencies Ordinance. And although gun ownership is just one piece of this ordinance, it's the part that's getting the most attention.
"We've blessed to be a fairly rural area of the state, so we don't have a lot of crime and I think we'd like to keep it that way," said Lee Belt, Greenleaf city clerk.
Drive about 10 minutes west of Caldwell and you'll run into Greenleaf, Idaho, population 860. If city council member Steve Jett has his way, each head of household that can legally own a gun, will. Along with that they're encouraged to have ammunition and appropriate training.
"I think the city council is hoping it will happen and that it will be a deterrent to crime as the city and region increases in population," said Belt.
The proposed ordinance is modeled after a similar plan that went into place in 1982 in Kennesaw, Ga. In that instance there was a dramatic decrease in criminal activity. Although crime isn't a huge problem for residents of Greenleaf, the growth in neighboring counties leads them to believe they too are in for some changes.
"There's not a lot of crime here, but I think it's coming, it's getting worse everyday," said Art Bailey, owner of the Greenleaf Store.
While the plan does encourages firearm ownership, the ordinance goes beyond that.
"The largest part itself deals with emergency capabilities," said Belt.
The plan will establish an emergency response plan, and promote its citizen response teams and neighborhood watch volunteer groups, a proactive approach to keep the crime rate to a minimum. So how have residents responded? According to almost everyone we spoke to, they already owned a gun or multiple guns, so this would have no effect on them either way.
"I don't know if it is good for every household, but we being hunters have always had guns," said Bonnie Cagle, a Greenleaf resident.
"I think it is an excellent idea," said Bailey. "If the citizens are armed were not at a disadvantage."
We did ask to speak with the city council member who proposed the ordinance but he was out of town. In November, the council will decide whether or not to adopt the ordinance.
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