“Welcome to Greenleaf, Idaho. This is Not a Gun Free Zone.” That’s what the signs posted around one small Idaho town of just under 900 residents say.
The sign shows off the community’s pro-gun stance and sends a message to anyone intending to cause trouble. And even though the last signs have only been posted for a short time, Greenleaf continues to grow, with five warning signs, one posted at every entrance to the township.
“There’s a right place for guns,” said resident Kelly McBride, reports KBOI. “A place that they can be used. We should have the right to protect ourselves from criminals and hopefully these kind of signs deter crime in the long run.”
The final two signs went up after Greenleaf got the clearance from the Transportation Department to put up signs along Idaho State Highway 19 last year. The signs were paid for by private donations with the first signs posted last summer.
One donor was City Councilman Steven Jett, a supporter of Greenleaf city code 5-6-2:B, which asks that all residents who do no object on religious grounds own a firearm. The code, passed in 2006, didn’t raise any hairs with the gun-friendly community. Less than 40 miles from Boise, about four out of five Greenleaf residents were estimated to own guns in the first place.
“We are a big family out here in Greenleaf,” said McBride, 10-year Greenleaf resident. “It’s a small town. I think all of us having a gun shows that we are a respectable society.”
The city passed the regulation in light of the lawless events following Hurricane Katrina. “Myself, as a city councilman, and apparently the rest of the City Council agrees that gun-free zones are targets,” said Councilman Jett in 2006.
“If you look at the shootings that have happened, they are gun-free zones. Schools, malls and recently churches. I want people to know that this is not a gun-free zone, and we are not a target. We also cited that the Idaho Constitution states that the mayor of any city may call up anybody to enforce the law if they have to,” he said.
While a majority of residents are happy to see the signs go up, the town council did receive a small number of comments from people who were unsure of the signs’ message. The ordinance also asks residents to keep stores of food and water in case of emergencies.
The code’s purpose is to show that the people of Greenleaf are ready and willing to help, provide for and if necessary, to protect refugees who may need to seek shelter away from their home towns. The extra stores are also there in case of any disaster that could affect the town’s residents.