Gun control in Kennesaw City
March 14, 2001 11:17 AM   Subscribe

Gun control in Kennesaw City The Marrieta Daily Journal has an interesting article about gun control vs. crime control. "In 1982, the Kennesaw City Council unanimously passed a law requiring heads of households to own at least one firearm with ammunition. ...following the law’s passage, the crime rate dropped 89 percent in the city, compared to the modest 10 percent drop statewide." Unfortunately they don't include accident statistics so it's only half the picture.
posted by revbrian (17 comments total)
There is a big difference between a city where guns are freely allowed, and one where they are required. An analogy:

When I lived in New York City, virtually everyone who owned a car locked it with "The Club"--the anti-theft device. So many people used it, that it became a virtual requirement to have one. Why? Because if someone wants to steal a car, and you don't have a Club, while everyone else on the block does, guess whose car is going to get broken into?

The same applies here. If I'm looking to break into houses, I probably am going to stay away from Marrieta. Why? TWO reasons: (1)I might get shot, yes, but also (2)because the town next door doesn't require guns in every house.

So what's the solution? Require guns in every household in America. Aside from being completely impractical, it's almost certainly unconstitutional. Not to mention extremely deadly for our kids.
posted by jpoulos at 11:42 AM on March 14, 2001

As a person who lives just outside the city limits, [and a former editor with the paper that wrote this article] I wouldn't read too much into the claims that Kennesaw's gun laws have curbed crime. It's a pretty conservative, rednecky part of the Atlanta suburbs that hasn't changed much in 20 years. [Except there are probably 2 confederate flags per household now instead of 1.2].

If I were a criminal, I wouldn't burglarize a house there -- not so much because of fear of getting shot -- rather, how many WWF magazines, '87 Chevy Cavaliers and Budweiser empties do you really need?

Actually, the last stats I saw from 2 years ago said that the crime rate in Kennesaw had been consistent with the overall crime increase in other Atlanta suburbs -- especially where property crimes were concerned.

If the pro-gun trollers are looking for a poster child for their cause, I'm not sure Kennesaw, Ga. is it.
posted by darren at 11:47 AM on March 14, 2001

I currently live in Kennesaw and it seems that the crime rate here is in proportion to the crime rates in the other Atlanta suburbs (of course Atlanta proper is significantly higher.) The article says the "crime rate" but I am more inclined to believe that they mean the rate of burglary or some other particular crime. darren (above) is right... it is pretty redneck around here. And, at least from where I'm sitting, all your standard redneck crimes are alive and well.
posted by goto11 at 12:17 PM on March 14, 2001

This is all anecdotal evidence, but I wouldn't say I'm sure that the crime rate in Atlanta (or in many big cities) proper is "significantly" higher than in the suburbs. Of course, I'm only basing that only my status as a resident and upon what I hear from my suburban colleagues and friends versus my intown colleagues and friends. In general, the higher crime areas in Atlanta, as with many large cities I would bet, are pretty localized and easily avoided. Also, the suburbs have all the cool, expensive stuff. Imagine the thought process: What should I steal today? a Range Rover or a beat-up VW Jetta?

I live right off Ponce de Leon, which has long been stigmatized as a "high" crime area, but I really see very little of it. (That said, I'll probably go home and find my stereo missing!)
posted by trox at 12:31 PM on March 14, 2001

My first response on reading this was to burst out laughing... because it brought to mind the following from Mark Twain's "Life on the Mississippi":

"In the space of one hundred and seventy-six years the Lower Mississippi has shortened itself two hundred and forty-two miles. That is an average of a trifle over a mile and a third per year. Therefore, any calm person, who is not blind or idiotic, can see that in the old Oölitic Silurian Period, just a million years ago next November, the Lower Mississippi River was upward of one million three hundred thousand miles long, and stuck out over the Gulf of Mexico like a fishing-rod. And by the same token any person can see that seven hundred and forty-two years from now the Lower Mississippi will be only a mile and three-quarters long, and Cairo and New Orleans will have joined their streets together and be plodding comfortably along under a single mayor and a mutual board of aldermen. There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact."

The low crime in Cobb County has a much more plausible explanation than the gun-law (particularly since we (conveniently!) don't have statistics on actual gun-ownership there): wealth! An economic boom! Low unemployment! Lots of high-paying jobs! Just read the following demographics, culled from the web. And in the USA a concentration of wealth means--I deeply regret to say--a relatively small minority population. For whatever reason, minorities tend to get accused of far more crimes than whites. So between the wealth and the economic freezing out of minorities, of course Cobb County would have a relatively low crime rate. Duh!!

Located just across the Chattahoochee River from Atlanta, Cobb County is a dynamic community of approximately 568,000 residents. Boasting a strong diversified economy, Cobb County has a total employment of more than 287,200 and a median income of $55,715. Many national firms are well represented in Cobb as are a growing number of international businesses. Cobb County covers 340 square miles and has six municipalities: Acworth, Austell, Kennesaw, Marietta, Powder Springs, and Smyrna.

Cobb County, Georgia is a rapidly growing upscale suburban county. It offers low taxes, unlimited recreational options and progressive government. Cobb County is Georgia’s third largest county with a median household income of over $77,000.

Located 12 miles northwest of Atlanta, Cobb is considered a major component of the Metro Atlanta area. Cobb County is over 400 square miles with a rapidly growing population of over 560,000 residents.

Cobb County is one of the fastest growing counties in the United States. Once known as the "Bedroom Community" of Atlanta, Cobb is now the "Fun side of Atlanta."

We have attractions such as Six Flags Over Georgia, White Water Theme Park, American Adventures, Lake Allatoona, Kennesaw National Park, Civil War Museums and the Chattahoochee River Nature Center. During 1998, 3.2 million people visited Cobb County.

Cobb County has approximately 200 international companies, a third of which have their U.S. headquarters here. Ninety-five Fortune 500 companies have headquarters or regional offices in Cobb. Cobb County’s largest domestic employers are Lockheed-Martin Aeronautical Systems, Promina Northwest Health System, Home Depot, Kroger
Co., Sprint and Publix.


Population (2000 projection) 581,903
Median Household Income $63,100
Per Capita Income (1998) $34,377
Total Employment (January '01) 355,630
Total Retail Sales for 1999 $11,947,245,000
Unemployment Rate (January '01) 2.0%

Businesses Licensed in Cobb County 34,294
Service Sector Businesses 6,666
Retail Businesses 3,201
Manufacturing 1,375
International Companies 155
Fortune 500 Companies 117


Allied Signal
American Express
American International Group
American Standard
Automatic Data Processing
Avery Dennison
Banc One Corporation
Bank of America
Black & Decker
Boise Cascade
Champion International
Chase Manhattan Corporation
Circuit City Group
Coca Cola
Coca Cola Enterprises
Colgate Palmolive
Columbia/HCA Healthcare
Comp USA
Computer Associates Int’l.
Cummins Engine
Dole Food
Farmland Industries
Federal Home Loan Mortgage
First Data
Foster Wheeler
General Electric
Genuine Parts
Georgia Pacific
Goodyear Tire & Rubber
Graybar Electric
Hershey Foods
Hewlett Packard
Home Depot
Ikon Office Solutions
Inland Steel Industries
International Business
International Paper
J. C. Penney
Johnson Controls
Kelly Services
Liberty Mutual Insurance Group
Lincoln National
Lockheed Martin
Lutheran Brotherhood
Marriott International
Massachusetts Mutual Life Ins.
Mercantile Stores
Merrill Lynch
Metropolitan Life Insurance
Minnesota Mining & Mfg.
Mutual of Omaha Insurance
Navistar International
New York Life Insurance
Northrop Grumman
Northwest Airlines
Norwest Corporation
Occidental Petroleum
Owens & Minor
PNC Bank Corporation
PPG Industries
Principal Financial Group
Prudential Insurance Co. of
Publix Super Markets
Ralston Purina
Reebok International
Reynolds Metals
RJR Nabisco Holdings
Rockwell International
R. R. Donnelley & Sons
Ryder System
Seagate Technology
Sonoco Products
Stone Container
SunTrust Bank
Thermo Electron
United Healthcare
United Services Automobile
Wachovia Corporation
Wells Fargo & Company
Willamette Industries
Yellow Freight Systems, Inc.


Number of
Cobb County Public Schools 11,000
WellStar Health System, Inc. 7,800
Lockheed Martin Aeronautical Systems 7,000
The Home Depot, Inc. 4,651
Cobb County Government 4,613
Publix Super Markets, Inc. 3,416
IBM Corporation 2,600
Six Flags Over Georgia 2,600*
YKK 2,400
Naval Air Station - Atlanta 1,713
The Kroger Co. 1,600
Heidelberg Americas, Inc. 1,250
Cleveland Group, Inc. 1,200
Winn-Dixie Atlanta, Inc.1,100
AT&T 1,100
Georgia-Pacific Corp. 1,050
Kennesaw State University 1,023
Life University 1,000
Marietta City Schools 970
Sprint 950
Dobbins Air Reserve Base 910
BellSouth Telecommunications 900
Healthdyne, Inc./Matria 900
Caraustar Industries, Inc. 800

See also: for "quality of life" information for cost-of-living comparisons


posted by hal_55 at 3:24 PM on March 14, 2001

pro-gun trollers

I think you're abusing the term "troll" here, unless you really consider anyone who values the right to own a gun a troll. In which case, you would just be incorrect.

Anyway, as the article points out, most anyone who wants to get out of the ownership requirement may do so through one of the various loopholes provided in the law. Since very few statistics are listed, it's impossible to judge the validity of the claim that crime dropped 89% because of that single law. There are a tremendous number of factors at work in such matters. And the comparison of Kennesaw City to Decatur is based only on population and no other factor? Again, a worthless statistic.

Oh well, I wouldn't go so far as to call the reporting "criminal", but it is lacking a certain je ne sais quoi.

PS. I'd like to thank Hal_55 for the Cobb County Chamber of Commerce report. If anyone actually scrolled past all that to get to my response, I congratulate you for your dedication.
posted by daveadams at 3:36 PM on March 14, 2001

I just think every criminal in Cobb County is scared of the watchful googly eyes of the Marietta Big Chicken.
posted by holgate at 3:56 PM on March 14, 2001

The big chicken is scary enough to deter almost anything... I know I lived just down the road (GA 120).
posted by trox at 7:27 PM on March 14, 2001

Although... I just remembered that Julia Roberts once worked in that particular KFC...
posted by trox at 7:28 PM on March 14, 2001

To whomever speculated that crime in the city is not any higher than crime in the suburbs, I direct you to the traffic jam this morning caused by the guy they pulled out of the Chattahoochie (inside the perimeter) with a gunshot would to the head.

You don't hear of too many bodies being pulled out of Lake Allatoona.
posted by goto11 at 6:21 AM on March 15, 2001

As I indicated in my post, my evidence was based purely on my experience and was, at best, anecdotal.

On the plus side, my apartment was fine when I returned to it. Knock wood.
posted by trox at 7:19 AM on March 15, 2001

You don't hear of too many bodies being pulled out of Lake Allatoona.

That because there's no water left in Lake Allatoona.
posted by darren at 8:02 AM on March 15, 2001

trox, I live near you.
posted by jennyb at 8:56 AM on March 15, 2001

If you don't want o arm yourself in this fucked up world, fine carry a butter knife, but don't tell me I can't protect myself with a gun.
posted by PrivateParts at 3:48 PM on March 15, 2001

With that attitude plus a gun, you are a potential hazard to the people around you. We have rights too, and one of them is not to have to live in fear of someone like you going over the edge and killing one (or several) of us on a whim.

posted by hal_55 at 4:12 PM on March 15, 2001

Guns are used in self-defense more than 2 million times a year. Guns are used in homicides between 10,000 and 20,000 times a year (varies from year to year), and the majority of those instances are do not involve people going "over the edge".

The chances that a gun will prevent a crime are several orders of magnitue greater than the chances that a gun will be used to kill someone.

I don't think PrivateParts' attitude is irrational at all. I believe your fear of him/her is.
posted by Potsy at 6:08 PM on March 15, 2001

Since killing people is not considered "normal" behavior by the vast majority of people in the US (if it were, surely that would be an argument in favor of disarming them!), it would seem self-evident that most killings are the result of someone "going over the edge."

Your claim that guns prevent crime is based on anecdote and fantasy. The data that illustrates the effect of having all these guns floating around, on the other hand, is real--it's a body-count. Corpses. Destroyed lives. Emergency-room statistics.

And if my fear of getting shot by one of you gun-nuts is an irrational fear, how would you classify *your* fear of "criminals," or *your* fantasy of defending yourself successfully in a Wild-West-style shootout in the supermarket? or the street? or a school? And supposing you did succeed, what about all the other people who happen to find themselves in the line of fire? Do you even care?

posted by hal_55 at 9:22 AM on March 16, 2001

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