Another small town in rural America is putting its foot down and making a statement about the importance of one’s right to keep and bear arms.
Nucla, Colorado, a town located approximately 50 miles south of Grand Junction, is taking a cue from Nelson, Georgia, and mandating that each head of household keep a firearm for self-defense.
Earlier this month, by a vote of 5-1, the Nucla community council passed it’s own version of Nelson’s Family Protection Ordinance,” which reads:
In order to provide for the emergency management of the city, and further in order to provide for and protect the safety, security and general welfare of the city and its inhabitants, every head of household residing in the city limits is required to maintain a firearm, together with ammunition therefore.
Town Trustee and pro tem Mayor Richard Craig spoke to local news affiliate KREX about the decision to approve the controversial ordinance.
“Every head of the household residing in town limits is required to maintain a firearm together with ammunition thereafter. Criminals are put on notice, period. We are armed,” he said, explaining the message that it sends to would-be robbers, thieves and rapists.
“I think my biggest thing is our Second Amendment, that is our right. I don’t think half the people on front range even know what the constitution is, let alone forget it,” Craig continued.
Asked about how the rest of the country would view Nucla now that it’s requiring gun ownership, Craig responded humorously saying, “Some will probably say ‘yay’ and some of them would probably think we’re a bunch of banjo-playing, glow-in-the-dark idiots.”
While it appears that the majority of the town’s 750 residents support the ‘Family Protection Ordinance,’ there is at least one man who doesn’t: Nucla Town Trustee Bill Long, who voted against the measure.
“We’re not being consistent, saying we don’t want government in our lives but here we are saying everybody’s got to own a gun,” Long said.
Long said that he understands the symbolic importance of the ordinance, but still doesn’t believe it’s an appropriate response to the gun control bills recently signed into law by Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper.
“It’s basically just saying look, we know we have Second Amendment rights. We have our guns, we love our guns and it’s going to be a fight if you try to take them away.”
As with Nelson and Kennesaw, Georgia, which was the first town to pass such an ordinance in 1982, the Nucla law contains certain exemptions, such as those who are physically or mentally handicapped as well as those individuals who are conscientious objectors or oppose to gun ownership for religious reasons.
In other words, mandatory gun ownership is not really enforced. The ordinance is merely a political statement to lawmakers at the state and federal level who are constantly pushing a gun control agenda — as Long pointed out.
Though, despite the fact that it is all for show, the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence has filed a lawsuit against Nelson arguing that the ordinance violates citizens’ First, Second, and Fourteenth Amendment rights.
“Most Americans reject the gun lobby’s vision of an America in which the government can force guns into every sector of society,” said Brady Center’s Legal Action Project Director Jonathan Lowy, in a press release. “In this lawsuit we seek to establish that the government does not have the authority to compel Americans to buy guns or bring them into their homes.”
“Forcing residents to buy guns they do not want or need won’t make the City of Nelson or its people any safer, and only serves to increase gun sales and gun industry profits,” continued Lowy. “A gun brought into your home is far more likely to be used to injure or kill a family member, than to ward off an intruder.”
It’ll be interesting to see how the Brady’s lawsuit against Nelson will play out. Whatever the courts decide, it will likely have a bearing on Nucla, Kennesaw, and any other town or city that has passed or plans on passing a version of the ‘Family Protection Ordinance.’