CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Janie (of Greenleaf)'s Got a Gun

Community ordinances that encourage citizens to own guns; it's a phenom bringing new meaning to the phrase "gun control."  Last month, Greenleaf, Idaho, adopted Ordinance 208, calling for its citizens to own guns and keep them ready in their homes in case of emergency.  And it’s not that Greenleaf is responding to high crime rates--Greenleaf's last reported violent offense in the past two years...was a fist fight.  Rather, it’s Greenleaf's statement about preparedness in the event of an emergency, and an effort to promote a culture of self-reliance.

Greenleaf is following in the footsteps of Kennesaw, Georgia, which in 1982, passed a mandatory gun ownership law in response to a handgun ban passed in Morton Grove, Illinois. Kennesaw’s crime dropped sharply, while Morton Grove’s did not. The rationale: criminals would rather break into a house where they aren’t at risk of being shot. As David Kopel has noted in his scholarship, burglars report that they try to avoid homes where armed residents are likely to be present. The phenomenon is present internationally, as well, with the United States having a lower proportion of "hot" burglaries--break-ins where the burglars know the home to be occupied--than countries with restrictive gun laws. Story from . . Maybe that works in Greenleaf, but Greenleaf is Greenleaf. I'd hate to see that law in my city.  [Michele Berry]

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