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Handguns are displayed in the Para booth during the 2013 NRA Annual Meeting and Exhibits at the George R. Brown Convention Center. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images. Handguns are displayed in the Para booth during the 2013 NRA Annual Meeting and Exhibits at the George R. Brown Convention Center. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.  

Colorado town requires a gun in every home — unless you don’t want one

Greg Campbell
Contributor

If you’re planning to move to the sleepy town of Nucla in Western Colorado, be sure to bring your gun. Or prepare to buy one, if you’re not already packing.

Last week, the town board passed an ordinance making it mandatory for the head of household to own a firearm “together with ammunition therefor.”

Residents can opt out if they can’t afford a gun, are legally barred from owning one or simply don’t want one, making the ordinance practically meaningless, but at least one board member thinks it’s sending the wrong message.

“Ideologically, it’s no different than saying, ‘You can’t own guns,’” Bill Long told the Associated Press. “If you want less government in our lives, this isn’t that. It’s a symbolic gesture.”

Long was the only member on the six-person board to vote against the ordinance, which other members said was intended to take a stand for gun rights.

“The main reason is to protect Second Amendment rights, especially with the government talking about abolishing them,” board member Joshua Newingham told the Associated Press.

While acknowledging that some people in the state might consider the town’s residents to be “a bunch of banjo-playing, glow-in-the-dark idiots,” Pro Tem Mayor Richard Craig told a local TV station that the ordinance was meant to make the town safer.

“Criminals are put on notice, period,” he said. “We are armed.”

But as a Denver Post editorial noted recently, there is hardly any serious crime in the town of about 1,000 residents.

“Perhaps if the town existed on some anarchic frontier where it regularly found itself under siege from lawless gangs you could actually make a case for mandatory collective defense,” the editorial reads. “But of course Nucla is the very opposite of a beleaguered outpost.”

The town leaders were inspired by a similar move recently taken by Nelson, Ga. But the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence filed a lawsuit against the Georgia town to make the point that the government can’t require people to buy firearms.

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