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Nucla, Colo. Passes Ordinance Making Gun Ownership Mandatory

05/20/2013 10:27 am ET | Updated May 20, 2013

As much of the nation continues to debate gun control and as Colorado gets ready to implement sweeping new gun control laws just passed in the latest legislative session, one small town in southwest Colorado has decided to go in the opposite direction by passing an ordinance that makes gun ownership mandatory.

Nucla, Colo., about 50 miles south of Grand Junction and with a population of less than 1,000, recently passed an ordinance on a 5-1 vote which requires a head of a household to own a gun, according to the Montrose Daily Press.

The new ordinance does have some exceptions for heads of households who can't legally own a gun or who simply do not want to own a gun.

Bill Long, the lone board member who voted against the measure says it's just a symbolic gesture and that it's just as intrusive as laws that try to limit guns. "Ideologically, it's no different than saying, 'You can't own guns,' Long said to The Associated Press. "If you want less government in our lives, this isn't that. It's a symbolic gesture."

Nucla leaders say that the ordinance was inspired by the law that made gun ownership mandatory in the Georgia town of Nelson. Called the "Family Protection Act," WSB-TV reported that the proposal was submitted by a city council official over concerns that the current lack of a police presence -- which often leaves Nelson patrolled by a single officer or none at all -- makes the town's residents unsafe.

The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, a group that supports gun control, filed a lawsuit against the Georgia town after the law was passed.

Nucla's ordinance states that "every head of household residing in the town limits is required to maintain a firearm, together with ammunition therefor."

"Criminals are put on notice, period," Pro tem mayor and town trustee Richard Craig said to KREX-TV. "We are armed."

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