The Brady Center brought the suit in May, six weeks after the effective date of an ordinance requiring a gun in every house in Nelson. Exemptions were created for residents with mental or physical disabilities that prevent gun ownership, felons, paupers and anyone opposed to guns on religious grounds.
Signs announcing the gun-ownership mandate were posted along the streets leading into the town of 1,300 that was named after John Nelson, an early landowner, farmer and rifle maker.
Nelson’s ordinance resembled one Kennesaw adopted in 1982. But unlike the case against Nelson, two federal lawsuits challenging Kennesaw’s ordinance were dismissed.
Nelson City Council members said when they adopted the ordinance they wanted to send a message to Washington opposing gun control.
But resident Harold Lamar Kellett, in whose name the suit was filed, countered that the ordinance violated his First Amendment right to free speech, his Second Amendment freedom in regards to ownership and the 14th Amendment guarantee of equal protection.
The City Council unanimously approved the settlement Tuesday. The Family Protection Ordinance was amended to say that the mandate is “not enforceable and shall never be enforced” and there will be no penalty or “adverse consequence” for any homeowner who declines to have a gun in his or her house.