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The Corner

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Colorado Town Disgracefully Mandates Gun Ownership



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A Colorado town has mandated that its residents own guns. Per the Denver Post:

“We should all have guns, lots of them,” opined stylist Traciena Johannsen as she painted highlights on the hair of a client who spoke up from beneath the tent of foil on her head to say she has two guns. In fact, she shot a wild turkey with one of them last week.

Guns have put Nucla in the national Second Amendment spotlight since the Nucla Town Board on May 8 passed the first — and only — municipal ordinance in Colorado requiring heads of households to have guns, and ammunition, “in order to provide for and protect the safety, security and general welfare of the town and its inhabitants.”

. . .

Bill Long, the only town board member to vote against the gun ordinance because he doesn’t want more government rules, owns — and loves — multiple guns. A BB gun propped inside his front door is the first thing a visitor sees. It’s to scare away deer.

Good for Bill Long. Shame on the rest of the members.

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. Is this really the road that we want to start going down? 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.

I really couldn’t care less whether, as the town claims, the ordinance gives “criminals a heads up.” I couldn’t care less, either, whether one thinks health insurance is a good or bad product. We either hold on to the idea that mandates are bad for liberty or we don’t. We either draw a line between what one is allowed to do and what one is required to do or we don’t. Which is it to be?

A while back, I joked that if conservatives behaved like progressives, we’d all be forced to carry guns in the name of public safety. I was laughed at for suggesting it. It’s not so funny any more, is it?



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