A tiny southern Utah town has passed an ordinance that requires every household to own a gun and ammunition so residents can protect themselves against aggressors, reports The Associated Press.
Jay Lee, the Mayor of Virgin, Utah, a town just north of the Arizona border, told KSL-TV that most of the 350 residents already own firearms so there is a lot of support for the initiative.
The town council passed the ordinance after residents expressed fear that the individual Second Amendment civil right to keep and bear arms itself was under fire.
The move, according to AP, has some Utah residents perplexed.
â€œThe state legislature hasnâ€™t addressed guns on any basis,â€ said Kim DeMille, of Utahâ€™s Safe to Learn. Safe to Worship Coalition, which is fighting to keep guns out of schools and churches. â€œI donâ€™t know why they should think their Second Amendment rights are being taken away.â€
Virgin residents who donâ€™t comply will not be punished, the Mayor said. He also said exceptions will be made for the mentally ill, convicted felons, conscientious objectors and people who can not afford to buy a gun.
Town leaders say they got the idea from a city in the State of Georgia, Kennesaw, which passed a similar law about a dozen years ago.
A U.S. Department of Justice review indicates that firearm-related injuries in crimes have fallen 40 percent in the five-year period ending in 1997, reports USA Today.
Data gathered from the FBI, hospitals and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that gunshot wounds from any kind of crime dropped from 64,100 to 39,400 during the five-year period.
The data also showed that firearm-related homicides declined by 27 percent, from 18,300 to 13,300. African-Americans represented a disproportionate number of all gunshot victims â€“ almost half â€“ and four out of five victims were male.
Black males ages 15-24 were victims in 26 percent of all non-fatal gun incidents and 22 percent of all gun-related homicides.
The Justice Department review, written by researchers Marianne W. Zawitz and Kevin J. Strom, did not account for the disproportionate number of black victims, but it determined that â€œmost victims of firearm injuries and deaths, suicides and suicide attempts with firearms were white.â€
According to the review, juveniles were victims in 16 percent of all non-fatal gunshot wounds inflicted during crimes. They were the victims in 10 percent of gun-related murders.
In 44 percent of slayings, the victims knew their killers. In 15 percent of the cases, the killer was a stranger, and in 41 percent the relationship was not known.
After discovering that gun locks it has distributed can be opened easily, the Knoxville, Tennessee Police Department is recalling some 300 of the devices, reports the Knoxville News-Sentinel.
Project HomeSafe, however, which sent 400,000 of the cable locks to 650 law enforcement agencies across the country, isnâ€™t ready to issue a national recall.
A Knoxville police officer fiddling with one of the cable locks found that it would spring open when bounced against his hand. The officer alerted Police Chief Phil Keith, who ordered a test of the devices, said Craig Griffith, city spokesman.
A check of the 5,000 cable locks Knoxville police were prepared to give away showed that ease of opening was a common trait, authorities said.
â€œThe individuals who received these free gun locks should not assume that the locks will work properly,â€ Chief Keith said.
When informed by Knoxville police of the discovery, the Chattanooga, Tennessee Police Department issued an alert for people to throw away the 4,500 gun locks it has distributed, said Ed Buice, spokesman for Chattanooga police.
â€œMy biggest concern was that some child would get hurt because a parent had a false sense of security with the device,â€ Mr. Buice said. â€œI wish we knew this before we gave them out.â€
Knoxville police began distributing the devices as part of an overall so-called Safe Streets Campaign that included buying back guns, paying people to tell police about illegally possessed guns and increasing penalties for gun-toting criminals.
According to preliminary results of a Voter News Service (VNS) exit poll of 13,049 national voters in the November 7 presidential election, with a margin of error of plus or minus 1.1 percentage points, 48 percent of all voters say there is a gun owner in their household and 52 percent say there is not; 36 percent of all Gore voters say there is and 59 percent say there is not; and 60 percent of all Bush voters say there is and 38 percent say there is not. The Associated Press and the ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox and NBC television networks are members of VNS.