“Anyone who comes for my guns will be shot in the face” America Demands Gun Control Now

Ricin-laced letters sent to Obama and Bloomberg also contained a menacing threat

WASHINGTON (AP) — A suspicious letter mailed to the White House and intercepted this week was similar to two threatening, poison-laced letters on the gun law debate sent to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, one of the nation’s most potent gun-control advocates, officials said Thursday.

Yet another letter became known publicly on Thursday, one tainted with the poison ricin and mailed to President Barack Obama from Spokane, Wash., the FBI said. Authorities have arrested a man in Spokane in connection with that letter, which was intercepted May 22.

The Secret Service said the White House-bound letter similar to the ones Bloomberg was sent was intercepted by a White House mail screening facility. Two similar letters postmarked in Louisiana and sent to Bloomberg in New York and his gun control group in Washington contained traces of the deadly poison ricin.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether the letter sent to Obama contained ricin. It was turned over to the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force for testing and investigation.

The two Bloomberg letters, opened Friday in New York and Sunday in Washington, contained an oily pinkish-orange substance.

New York Police Department Commissioner Raymond Kelly said Thursday the same machine or computer had produced the two letters to Bloomberg and the similar one to Obama and that they may be identical. He referred specific questions to the FBI.

The FBI said in a statement that field tests on the letters were consistent with the presence of a biological agent, and the letters were turned over to an accredited laboratory for the kind of thorough analysis that is needed to verify a tentative finding. “More letters may be received,” the statement said, without elaboration.

The body of the letter mailed to New York was addressed to “you” and referenced the gun control debate. Kelly said the unsigned letter says, in so many words: “Anyone who comes for my guns will be shot in the face.” He refused to quote directly from the letter, saying he didn’t want to do the author’s bidding.

Bloomberg has emerged as one of the country’s most important gun-control advocates, able to press his case with both his public position and his private money.

The New York letter was opened at the city’s mail facility in Manhattan in a biochemical containment box, which is a part of the screening process for mayor’s office mail.

“In terms of the processes and procedures that are in place now we think they worked,” Kelly said. “This is sort of an effect of the post-9/11 world that we live in that these checks and facilities are in place and the system worked.”

The second letter was opened Sunday by Mark Glaze, director of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, the Washington-based nonprofit Bloomberg started.

The letter Glaze opened tested positive for ricin initially. The other letter to Bloomberg at first tested negative but tested positive at a retest Wednesday.

The postal workers union, citing information it got in a Postal Service briefing, said the letters bore a Shreveport, La., postmark. Kelly would not comment on the origin of the letter.

Louisiana State Police spokeswoman Julie Lewis said state authorities have deferred to the FBI and have not opened an investigation. The Shreveport postal center handles mail from Louisiana, Texas and Arkansas, so the letter could have come from any of those states, Lewis said.

The people who initially came into contact with the letters showed no symptoms of exposure to the poison, but three officers who later examined the New York letter experienced minor symptoms that have since abated, police said. The mayor visited the mailroom on Thursday but made no public comments on the topic.

On Wednesday, he said he didn’t know why they were sent.

One of the letters “obviously referred to our anti-gun efforts, but there’s 12,000 people that are going to get killed this year with guns and 19,000 that are going to commit suicide with guns, and we’re not going to walk away from those efforts,” said Bloomberg, adding that he didn’t feel threatened.

According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ricin is a poison found naturally in castor beans. Symptoms can include difficulty breathing, vomiting and redness on the skin depending on how the affected person comes into contact with the poison.

The letters were the latest in a string of toxin-laced missives, but authorities would not say whether the letters to Bloomberg and Obama were believed to be linked to any other recent case.

In Washington state, a 37-year-old was charged last week with threatening to kill a federal judge in a letter that contained ricin. On Thursday, the FBI said a suspicious letter containing ricin was mailed to Obama from Spokane on the same day similar ricin-tainted letters were mailed to the judge and to a post office. A fourth letter, sent to nearby Fairchild Air Force Base, continues to undergo testing, officials said.

About a month earlier, letters containing the substance were addressed to Obama, a U.S. senator and a Mississippi judge. One of the letters postmarked in Memphis, Tenn., was traced back to Tupelo, Miss., and a Mississippi man was arrested.

Bloomberg and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino founded Mayors Against Illegal Guns, which now counts more than 700 mayors nationwide as members. It lobbies federal and state lawmakers, and it aired a spate of television ads this year urging Congress to expand background checks and pass other gun-control measures after the school shooting in Newtown, Conn. The background check proposal failed in a Senate vote in April, and other measures gun-control advocates wanted — including a ban on sales of military-style assault weapons — have stalled.

Separately, Bloomberg also has made political donations to candidates who share his desire for tougher gun restrictions. His super PAC, Independence USA, put $2.2 million into a Democratic primary this winter for a congressional seat in Illinois, for example. Bloomberg’s choice, former state lawmaker Robin Kelly, won.

BY  AND 

Thanks #NRA: If The Election Were Held Today, The GOP Could Lose The House

You know by now that the Republican Party used their 2010 landslide to gerrymander an electoral map that would make it nearly impossible for them to lose the House of Representatives until 2022. Well, the impossible could happen if the GOP doesn’t change direction.

Democrats lead Republicans in the generic congressional ballot by a margin of 8 percent, according to a newWashington Post poll of registered voters.

That’s higher than the 7 percent-plus margin in the popular vote that ThinkProgress estimated Democrats would need to take back the House:

In order to take control of the House, Democrats would have needed to win the 2012 election by 7.25 percentage points. That’s significantly more than the Republican margin of victory in the 2010 GOP wave election (6.6 percent), and only slightly less than the margin of victory in the 2006 Democratic wave election (7.9 percent). If Democrats had won in 2012 by the same commanding 7.9 percent margin they achieved in 2006, they would still only have a bare 220-215 seat majority in the incoming House, assuming that these additional votes were distributed evenly throughout the country. That’s how powerful the GOP’s gerrymandered maps are; Democrats can win a congressional election by nearly 8 points and still barely capture the House.

If this is true, the 2014 election for control of the House would be a toss-up right now.

Another study suggests that even with a 8-point margin, Democrats could still be as many as 15 seats shy of a majority.

That the president’s party has any chance of even picking up seats is a historical anomaly and a sign that the polls that continue to show Americans leaving the Republican Party are a real problem for Speaker Boehner and his caucus — especially on the issue of guns.

An overwhelming 67 percent say Congress was wrong to kill background check expansion with 64 percent blaming Congressional Republicans for the defeat of the bill. A solid majority, 53 percent, say they could not support a candidate who voted against background checks, even if they agree on all other issues.

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

May 23rd, 2013 5:06 pm@LOLGOP

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http://www.nationalmemo.com/if-the-election-were-held-today-the-gop-could-lose-the-house/

Senator For Sale: How Much Did The NRA Pay Senators Who Killed Gun Background Checks?

Your Senator Sells His or Her Vote To The NRA

Senator for sale

It’s hardly a secret that the National Rifle Association’s political power obliterated last month’s Senate bill seeking to expand background checks on gun sales. But do you know exactly how much it costs the NRA to buy a politician’s vote?

Usually, the NRA’s cash infusion ensures that legislation to address gun violence doesn’t even materialize. But the Newtown, Connecticut massacre encouraged a single gun control measure to cautiously tip-toe out onto the Senate floor. Despite the fact that a vast majority of Americans – and an overwhelmingmajority of NRA members [1] – support expanded background checks, certain senators allowed the sizeable donations they had received from the NRA, as well as the fear of future NRA-fueled backlash, to influence their vote.

So, what kind of cash could compel elected officials to aid and abet criminals, the mentally ill and terrorists by leaving open loopholes from them to purchase weapons? In the most recent election cycle, the NRA paid a total of $293,749 [2] to buy the votes of 38 of the 453 senators who voted to kill the background check bill.

NRA donations to individual senators in the latest cycle are listed at the end of the post; here is the quick analysis:

  • About 85 percent of the senators who voted against gun sale background checks had received NRA donations during their latest campaign.
  • Among these senators, the average NRA campaign contribution was $7,730 for one election cycle.
  • The NRA’s favorite senators, who hold the group’s “A+” rating, earned 27 percent more cash, on average. The 10 senators with “A+” ratings who opposed background checks together took in $97,950, or an average of $9,795 each in their last campaign.
  • The largest amount the NRA donated to a single politician in one cycle was $19,800, which went to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

Of the seven senators (not counting Harry Reid [3]) who voted against expanded background checks without benefiting from a recent NRA contribution, three are Democrats. A fourth, Roy Blunt (R-MO), did receive nearly $10,000 from the NRA for his 2010 House race before getting skipped over for his 2012 Senate race. A fifth senator, Daniel Coats (R-IN), only holds a “C+” rating from the NRA.

NRA Spent $100 Million Influencing Politics Since 1990s

The nearly $300,000 the NRA spent to keep its grip on the Senate in recent years is only the tip of the iceberg. The gun rights group has continually flooded Washington with cash sinceOpenSecrets.org [4] started keeping track two decades ago:

  • Since 1990, the nation’s biggest gun lobby group has shelled out a total of $21.3 million on campaign contributions.
  • The NRA has spent an additional $29.9 million on lobbying since 1998.
  • At least $19.8 million of additional outside spending has funded ads, a number which doesn’t appear to include the reported $25 million4 spent just on the 2012 election cycle.

It’s clear the NRA’s immutable and extreme positions serve only to protect the profits of gun manufacturers. No other reasonable interpretation exists for its extreme partisanship over the clear desires of the membership it claims to represent. After all, three in four NRA households1 support expanded background checks. Overall, 73 percent of Americans [5]believe the Senate should try again to pass legislation expanding background checks.

No Hope For House Background Check Bill

Reps. Pete King (R-NY) and Mike Thompson (D-CA) would like to bring the same background check bill [6] that failed in the Senate to the House floor for a vote, an extremely unlikely prospect given the death grip the NRA currently holds in the chamber.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) pocketed $12,4502 in NRA cash in the last cycle, while House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) raked in $19,8502. That is just the beginning – more than half of House members (2422 representatives) have an “A” rating with the NRA.

The more people who are aware of the connection between campaign contributions and voting records, the more transparent politics will be. Citizens have a responsibility to hold their lawmakers accountable. Consider sharing this information to help pierce the NRA armor.

Follow the author: @LiberaLLamp on Twitter – On Facebook

(Might consider linking to what’s below on a separate page. That would require a quick edit to graph 4 above with the link and perhaps repeat the link again at the end of the article.)

Recent NRA Donations to 45 Senators Who Killed Expanded Background Checks

Below is a senator-by-senator, state-by-state breakdown of what the NRA spent in campaign donations in each senator’s most recent election cycle. Everyone listed has an “A” NRA rating unless otherwise noted. The “N/A” designation means they were one of the seven who the NRA did not fund.

The New York Times has put together a terrific interactive map with the same information.

Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), $4,500

Mark Begich (D-AK), N/A

Jeff Sessions (R-AL), A+, $4,950
Richard Shelby (R-AL), A+. $13,400

John Boozman, (R-AR), $4,950

Mark Pryor (D-AR), C-, N/A

Jeff Flake (R-AZ), $6,950

Marco Rubio (R-FL), B+. $4,950

Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), A+, $12,200

Johnny Isakson (R-GA), $2,500

Chuck Grassley (R-IA), $6,950

Jim Risch (R-ID), A+, $14,850

Michael D. Crapo (R-ID), A+, $5950

Daniel Coats (R-IN), C+, N/A

Jerry Moran (R-KS), $7,950

Pat Roberts (R-KS), $5,950

Mitch McConnell (R-KY), $19,800

Rand Paul (R-KY), N/A

David Vitter (R-LA), $4,950

Roy Blunt (R-MO), N/A in Senate Race, however Blunt received $9,900 from the NRA in his 2010 House race.

Thad Cochran (R-MS), $8,500

Roger Wicker (R-MS), A+. $13,350

Max Baucus (D-MT), A+, $7,450

Richard Burr (R-NC), $7,900

Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), N/A

John Hoeven (R-ND), $4,950

Mike Johanns (R-NE), $4,800

Deb Fischer (R-NE), $4,950

Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), N/A

Harry Reid [7]  (D-NV), B, $8,950

Dean Heller (R-NV), $9,900

Rob Portman (R-OH), $9,900

Tom Coburn (R-OK). $2,000

James M. Inhofe (R-OK), A+. $8,400

Lindsey Graham (R-SC), $7,400

Tim Scott (R-SC), $2,000

John Thune (R-SD), A+, $7,500

Bob Corker (R-TN), $4,950

Lamar Alexander (R-TN), $9,900

John Cornyn (R-TX), $12,450

Ted Cruz (R-TX), A+. $9,900

Orrin G. Hatch (R-UT), $5,000

Mike Lee (R-UT), $2,500

Ron Johnson (R-WI), $5,950

John Barrasso (R-WY), $17,349

Michael B. Enzi (R-WY), $5,950

Follow the author: @LiberaLLamp on Twitter – On Facebook

—————————————————————————————–

[1] http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2013/apr/19/barack-obama/barack-obama-says-wide-majority-nra-households-sup/

[2] http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2012/12/19/us/politics/nra.html?_r=0

[3] Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) $8,950 donation from the NRA is not included in the donation averages because he reportedly voted against the bill only as a procedural move to allow him to re-introduce it later.

[4] http://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/summary.php?id=D000000082&cycle=A

[5] http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2013/05/23/americans-want-senate-to-try-again-on-background-checks

[6] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/16/house-gun-bill_n_3091896.html

[7] Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) reportedly voted against the expanded background check bill as a procedural move to allow him to re-introduce it later.

By Stacie Borrello, Fri, May 24, 2013

http://www.opposingviews.com/i/society/guns/how-much-did-nra-pay-senators-who-killed-gun-background-checks?utm_source=OV+Newsletter+List+2&utm_campaign=49f6afaa0d-OV_Daily_Newsletter5_24_2013&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_5f6757bd76-49f6afaa0d-11107849

NRA Lies: Pro-Gun Activists Claim That Gun Control Is Discriminatory

New campaign compares gun control to anti-LGBT discrimination

“Some people dislike gays. Others dislike guns. We should not base our laws on personal dislikes,” reads one ad

New campaign compares gun control to anti-LGBT discrimination

A new campaign cropping up around Washington state is intended to strike a chord with gay and lesbian gun owners by comparing gun control to anti-LGBT discrimination.

The illustrated posters feature slogans like, “We won our right to marry, now it’s time to defend our right! And we sure as hell aren’t going to take shit from homophobes in the process!” and, “Some people dislike gays. Others dislike guns. We should not base our laws on personal dislikes.”

A QR code on the ads directs curious readers to an anti–gun control website that calls armed self-defense a human right and offers quizzes with questions like:

The proper response to an arson is …

1) prohibit you and other law-abiding citizens from buying gasoline.
2) prohibit you and other law-abiding citizens from buying any flammable fluids, matches and lighters.
3) prosecute the perpetrator of the crime.

As the Stranger reports, the campaign’s origins remain something of a mystery:

“Nale Dixon,” who’s credited for drawing the cartoon of the gay couple, returns no search results online. The pro-gun website is run by a dude named Oleg Volk, “An American,” but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s responsible for papering the hill with them. Without someone to credit, it’s impossible to glean the posterer’s intentions.

Katie McDonough is an assistant editor for Salon, focusing on lifestyle. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at kmcdonough@salon.com. More Katie Mcdonough.

By
LGBT Rights, Gay Rights, Gun Control, Gun Violence, washington state, Gay Marriage, Marriage equality, ,

NRA Lobbying & Financial Contributions Make It Easy For Criminals To Have Access To Guns

Laughing Monster: Sick boast in ‘gay slay’

How does someone with six prior arrests, including one for attempted murder in 1998 and others for criminal possession of a weapon have access to guns? How does someone who has served more than nine years in both city and state prisons have access to guns? Thank the NRA for their Lobbying and Political Campaign Contribution Efforts. That is their job and they do it very well.

The homophobic ex-con accused of “executing’’ a gay man in Greenwich Village laughed and boasted about the murder, prosecutors said yesterday.

“Yeah, I shot him in the head,” Elliot Morales, 33, sneered while “laughing on the ground” as cops were handcuffing him for fatally shooting Mark Carson, 32, early Saturday morning, according to prosecutors.

Morales yesterday was held without bail on charges of second-degree murder as a hate crime, menacing and two counts of criminal possession of a weapon.

He is accused of first hissing anti-gay slurs at Carson and a friend while they were walking on Sixth Avenue near West Eighth Street at around midnight Saturday, and then gunning down Carson.

WHAT’S SO FUNNY? Elliot Morales flashes a twisted smirk as cops arrest him following the deadly shooting.

WHAT’S SO FUNNY? Elliot Morales flashes a twisted smirk as cops arrest him following the deadly shooting.

Mark Carson

Mark Carson

“Look at these faggots,” said Morales, who was accompanied by two friends, according to police.

“What are you, gay wrestlers?” he challenged Carson and his pal, who were wearing boots, cut-off shorts and tank tops.

Carson and his friend kept walking to avoid a confrontation, but Morales — whose friends left him before he turned violent — followed the duo, spewing more hate before snarling, “Do you want to die here?” authorities said.

When the victim’s companion challenged him, Morales seethed to Carson, “Are you with him?”

The victim replied, “Yes.’’

Morales then allegedly whipped out a silver Taurus .38-caliber revolver and blasted Carson in the cheek, “executing him in the street,’’ said Manhattan prosecutor Joan Illuzzi-Orbon at Morales’ court arraignment.

Carson died at Beth Israel Hospital.

“The victim did nothing to antagonize or instigate the shooter. It was only done because the shooter believed him to be gay,” Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said yesterday.

In court, Illuzzi-Orbon said authorities have footage of a crazed Morales spewing anti-gay remarks about 20 minutes earlier at the staff of the nearby Annisa restaurant — and threatening to put a bullet through a bartender’s forehead if he called cops.

“Are you afraid?” he barked at the worker after being chided for urinating outside the restaurant. “Do you watch the news? Do you know what happened in Sandy Hook?’’

Police sources said the suspect had two holsters on him, one with a gun in it. Cops later found an assault weapon with a yellow banana-shaped clip that belonged to Morales at the Queens home where he was staying.

The friends he was staying with had been complaining to him about the guns, since there were children in the home, law-enforcement sources said.

Morales had a fake ID on him when he was nabbed in Carson’s murder and refused to tell cops his real name. He was finally identified through facial-recognition technology.

He has six prior arrests, including one for attempted murder in 1998 and others for criminal possession of a weapon. He has served more than nine years in both city and state prisons.

By YASMINE PHILLIPS
Last Updated: 3:45 AM, May 20, 2013
Posted: 1:28 AM, May 20, 2013

Stupid Policewoman’s Self-Inflicted Gunshot Wound Sparks Massive Search

article image

And now for Plaxico Burress’ favorite story of the day. A Quebec police officer who reported being shot during a party raid last Saturday appears to have actually shot herself in the leg.

According to Guns.com, the incident occurred around 10 p.m. The officer was running down a hill when she discharged a round from her 9mm pistol into her leg.

Perhaps in an effort to protect her job (she’s only been on the job for three years), the officer didn’t report that she shot herself. Instead, she said a gunman from the party shot her. After an ambulance arrived and rushed the officer to the hospital, a huge and predictably unsuccessful search for the non-existent shooter ensued.

Police spent hours questioning over 30 people who were at the party. At the hospital, doctors became suspicious of the officer’s story when they discovered the bullet was fired down into her leg. Police checked the officer’s gun and, surprise surprise, they found one bullet missing from the magazine.

The Gatineau Police Department released a vague statement on the matter, saying they could not “confirm or deny” any details about the story. Referring to the self-inflicted shot, a police spokesperson said the department is “looking at the possibility that she did that to herself.”

The officer is in the hospital waiting to have a minor surgery performed on the wound. She was said to still be in “shock” and was unavailable for any interviews or comments. Although police haven’t concluded their investigation, you’ve got to think this unlucky officer has some disciplinary action coming her way.

By Jonathan Wolfe, Thu, May 16, 2013

Nelson Georgia: Mandatory Gun Ownership: NRA Stupid Beyond Belief –

Nelson, Georgia Family Protection Ordinance Approved, Would Make Gun Ownership Mandatory For Some

guns_hr_giger_machines_artwork_birth_1680x1050_wallpaper_High Resolution Wallpaper_2560x1600_www.wallpaperhi.comNELSON, Ga. — The city council in a small north Georgia town voted Monday night to make gun ownership mandatory – unless you object.

Council members in Nelson, a city of about 1,300 residents that’s located 50 miles north of Atlanta, voted unanimously to approve the Family Protection Ordinance. The measure requires every head of household to own a gun and ammunition to “provide for the emergency management of the city” and to “provide for and protect the safety, security and general welfare of the city and its inhabitants.”

Not that every household must go out and purchase a firearm.

The ordinance exempts convicted felons and those who suffer from certain physical or mental disabilities, as well as anyone who objects to gun ownership. The ordinance also doesn’t include any penalty for those who don’t comply.

But backers said they wanted to make a statement about gun rights at a time when President Barack Obama and some states are pushing for more restrictions in the wake of the Connecticut elementary school massacre in December that left 20 children and six educators dead.

Councilman Duane Cronic, who sponsored the measure, said he knows the ordinance won’t be enforced but he still believes it will make the town safer.

“I likened it to a security sign that people put up in their front yards. Some people have security systems, some people don’t, but they put those signs up,” he said. “I really felt like this ordinance was a security sign for our city. Basically it was a deterrent ordinance to tell potential criminals they might want to go on down the road a little bit.”

The city council’s agenda says another purpose of the measure is “opposition of any future attempt by the federal government to confiscate personal firearms.”

Nelson resident Lamar Kellett was one of five people who spoke during a public comment period and one of two who opposed the ordinance. Among his many objections, he said it dilutes the city’s laws to pass measures that aren’t intended to be enforced.

“Does this mean now 55 miles an hour speed limit means 65, 80, whatever you choose? There’s not a whole lot of difference. A law’s a law,” he said.

Kellett also said the ordinance will have no effect, that it won’t encourage people like him who don’t want a gun to go out and buy one.

The proposal illustrates how the response to the Newtown, Conn., massacre varies widely in different parts of the country.

While lawmakers in generally more liberal states with large urban centers like New York and California have moved to tighten gun control laws, more conservative, rural areas in the American heartland have been going in the opposite direction, seeking to loosen restrictions, arm educators or even require gun ownership.

Among the other efforts to broaden gun rights that have surfaced since the Newtown killings:

_ Earlier Monday, lawmakers in Oklahoma scuttled a bill that would have allowed public school districts to decide whether to let teachers be armed.

_ Spring City, Utah, passed an ordinance this year recommending that residents keep firearms, softening an initial proposal that aimed to require it.

_ Residents of tiny Byron, Maine, rejected a proposal last month that would have required a gun in every home. Even some who initially supported the measure said it should have recommended gun ownership instead of requiring it, and worried that the proposal had made the community a laughingstock. Selectmen of another Maine town, Sabbatus, threw out a similar measure. The state’s attorney general said state law prevents municipalities from passing their own firearms laws anyway.

_ Lawmakers in about two dozen states have considered making it easier for school employees or volunteers to carry guns on campus. South Dakota passed such a measure last month. Individual communities from New Jersey to Colorado have voted to allow administrators or teachers to carry guns in school.

Located in the Appalachian foothills, Nelson is a tiny, hilly town with narrow, twisting roads. It’s a place where most people know one another and leave their doors unlocked.

It used to be a major source of marble, with the local marble company employing many in town. But that industry is mostly gone now, Mayor Mike Haviland said. There are no retail stores in town anymore, and people do their shopping elsewhere. While the town used to have an internally driven economy, just about everyone leaves town for work now, making it a bedroom community for Atlanta, Haviland said.

The mayor said he never dreamed his small city would be the focus of national and international media attention, but he understands it.

“It bumps up against the national issues on guns,” he said.

Nelson resident Lawrence Cooper and his wife, Nanette, sat on their front porch Monday morning, enjoying a pleasant breeze and listening to the radio show of conservative Herman Cain, who unsuccessfully sought the 2012 Republican nomination for president. The Coopers support the ordinance.

“It’s supporting gun rights flat out, and there is so much – not antipathy – but antagonism against gun ownership these days,” Lawrence Cooper said. “And this is a very conservative small town, and they are fully in support of this.”

The couple doesn’t own any guns, but 52-year-old Lawrence Cooper said he grew up with them, and this ordinance might inspire him to go out and buy one. He chuckled as he pulled out a small black-and-white photo from his wallet. It shows him at 3 years of age, in front of a rack of hunting rifles and shotguns.

Police Chief Heath Mitchell noted that the city doesn’t have police officers who work 24 hours a day and is far from the two sheriff’s offices that might send deputies in case of trouble, so response times to emergency calls can be long. So having a gun would help residents take their protection into their own hands, he said.

But the chief – the town’s sole police officer – acknowledged the crime rate is very low. He mostly sees minor property thefts and a burglary every few months. The most recent homicide was more than five years ago, he said.

The proposed ordinance is modeled after a similar one adopted in 1982 by Kennesaw, an Atlanta suburb. City officials there worried at the time that growth in nearby Atlanta might bring crime to the community, which now has about 30,000 residents. Kennesaw police have acknowledged that their ordinance is difficult to enforce, and they haven’t made any attempt to do so.

Leroy Blackwell, 82, has lived in Nelson for about 50 years and owns a hunting rifle that he keeps in a closet. He’d support the ordinance even if it didn’t have exemptions, but he prefers it to be voluntary, he said. He said before the council’s decision that he’d rather see the measure put to a popular vote instead.

“Really, I think it would be more fair to put it to a vote” so everybody could have a say, he said.

The town has gotten an enormous amount of media attention since the council began discussing the ordinance last month. Councilman Jackie Jarrett said the response has been overwhelmingly positive. Most of the concerns have been raised by people worried about the mentally ill or convicted felons being required to own a gun, but he’s quick to point to the proposed exemptions, he said.

Mostly, he’s amazed that anyone outside of Nelson cares about the ordinance.

“It really has surprised me that we’ve gotten so much attention, especially since this isn’t affecting the world,” he said. “It’s just a small town thing.”

And, as it turns out, it may not affect Nelson all that much, even though the ordinance is set to go into effect in 10 days.

“Most everybody around here’s got guns anyway,” Jarrett said.

FOLLOW:
By KATE BRUMBACK