Sometimes, you get so fed up with political correctness, you feel you have to do something.  To take a stand against strict gun control advocates recently, one town in Colorado has passed a municipal ordinance requiring heads of households to own guns and ammunition.

Yes, you read that correctly.

The purpose of the requirement was “to provide for and protect the safety, security and general welfare of the town and its inhabitants.”  Certainly a noble cause, but Nucla is a little confused.  One of the few legitimate purposes of our government is to protect the citizens – not to force them to protect themselves.  And gun ownership is a right, not a requirement.

Board member Richard Craig proposed the ordinance being called “the Family Protection Order” and said the ordinance had some other purposes behind it: “We more or less kind of wanted to give criminals a heads up. Stay out of this town. We’re armed.”  The town of Kennesaw, Georgia, passed a similar ordinance in 1982, and reports that crime has been cut in half since.

But passing a gun ownership mandate seems like an extreme (and expensive) way to send that message.  Wouldn’t a sign do?  “Welcome to Nucla! Criminals Beware – We own guns.”

But Craig also explained that the ordinance was intended to send a message to the state and federal governments, not just to would-be criminals:  Nucla is serious about defending their Second Amendment rights.

What a way to send a message.  The symbolic ordinance cost the town $30,000 to research and publish.  Now, if they choose to enforce it, it will cost the town more funds, time, and manpower.  And this in a town that recently turned a paved road back to dirt because they couldn’t afford to repave it.

The ordinance did exempt households whose heads are felons, mentally disabled, “paupers,” or who object to gun ownership on religious grounds.

What about those who object on other grounds?  Say, that even local government shouldn’t be able to mandate every part of our lives?

Only one town board member voted against the gun ordinance.  Bill Long had enough sense to resist more government rules – even though he loves and owns multiple guns.

See, guns aren’t really the issue here.  Over-mandating American people’s private lives is what’s at stake.

C. W. Cooke offered these perceptive words at The National Review Online:

The idea that there should be no difference between what one likes and what one thinks should be mandated is extraordinarily destructive to liberty — especially in today’s world, in which appeals to “public health” and “public safety” are routinely used to trump the freedom of the individual.

A reminder: Obamacare’s individual mandate is a terrible idea because it forces people to buy a product that they might not want, not because it operates in service of a bad policy. The moment that we forget this on the Right, we will start a mandate war, in which we are not objecting to mandates on principle but objecting to them in practice. Then, whichever party is in power will use its authority to force people to conform. That way lies disaster.

We either hold on to the idea that mandates are bad for liberty or we don’t.

When either progressives or conservatives use policy to enforce their own beliefs, they are missing the point of American government.  Our Constitution set up a limited government designed to protect the citizens’ natural rights to life, liberty and property.  It was to act only in areas where the people intentionally granted authority.

When it oversteps its bounds, we must stand up, or we will be left quibbling over details of policy instead of the bigger questions – questions that should matter to American citizens concerned about the future liberty of our country.

Who should decide if my household owns a gun?  The individual family unit should decide.

About The Author

Mark was a co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, and served as the national coordinator. He left the organization to work more broadly on expanding the self-governance movement beyond the partisan divide. Mark appears regularly on television in outlets as diverse as MSNBC, ABC, NBC, Fox News, CNN, Bloomberg, Fox Business and the BBC. He’s highly sought after for the tea party perspective from print and electronic media outlets, from the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, L.A. Times, Washington Examiner, Politico and the The Hill. Mark blogs at, and his opinion editorials regularly run in many of the leading political newspapers both on and offline. Mark has a BA in English from San Diego State University and graduated with honors from University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in 1988. He practiced real estate and business law for almost a decade. For the last eleven years of his legal career he specialized in Internet advertising law. When not fighting for the future of our nation, Mark is an avid horseman, and lives in rural northern California with his wife Patty and two children.

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