No, we’re not talking about South Central LA or East St. Louis, Illinois, although it would be a good idea to own a firearm if you live in one of those places, as well. We’re talking about legal jurisdictions where the elected leaders have deemed firearm ownership necessary to be a functioning member of the community.
This sleepy little town in southwestern Colorado has a population under 1,000 and is largely surrounded by rural desert. Despite a staggering poverty rate of 20%—or perhaps because of it—the Nucla Town Board passed the Family Protection Order in May 2013 requiring every head of household to own a firearm.
By most accounts, this order didn’t change much about Nucla. As a hunting and ranching community, most families already own numerous firearms. Largely unenforceable—deputies aren’t going to go door-to-door to ensure residents have guns—the order is more an assertion of Constitutional Rights than a do-or-die policy.
Like all the cities on this list, there are exemptions for convicted felons, physically or mentally disabled people, people who can’t afford a gun and conscientious objectors.
In the northwestern corner of Georgia, Kennesaw has a population of 30,000 and is known for its Native American and Civil War Historical Sites. Originally a railroad shanty town, Kennesaw gained national prominence in 1982 for passing an ordinance requiring every head of household in the city to maintain a firearm and adequate ammunition to provide for “emergency management of the city and to further provide for and protect the safety, security and general welfare of the citizenry.”
Back in 1982, this ordinance was widely perceived as a political statement in response to an ordinance passed in the same year by Morton Grove, IL, which mandated gun prohibition.
Gun Barrel City, Texas
This city is automatically the BEST on this list for two obvious reasons: It’s in Texas (duh) and its name is Gun Barrel City. How awesome is that? Additionally, the city’s motto is “We Shoot Straight With You” and its symbol is a rifle.
Located 55 miles southeast of Dallas, this rural town has a population of roughly 6,000 and its economy is largely retail-based, with a smaller percentage focused on boating-and-fishing tourism. Passed back in 2013 (what was it about that year? President Obama’s second term had just begun, anyone?) Gun Barrel City’s gun ordinance urges residents to have at least 1 gun in their home.
The ordinance was authored by Gun Barrel City Mayor Paul Eaton, who said, “I hope it will help the world to sit up and take notice that Gun Barrel isn’t just a little sleepy town in Texas, that we are and alert and we’re watching.”
Nestled in the southwestern corner of the great state of Utah, Virgin has a population under 1,000 with an economy largely centered on construction and retail trade, with a smaller proportion for agriculture and warehousing.
Passed in November, 2000, Virgin’s gun ordinance was largely symbolic. Most of the town’s residents already owned firearms, and they were merely concerned about the national attitude on gun ownership changing and wanted to be proactive about their Second Amendment rights.
Town leaders allegedly got the idea for mandatory gun ownership from the example set by Kennesaw, Georgia.
Honorable Mention: Switzerland
This Central European country mandates military service for all able-bodied male citizens by the age of 20. Females are not required to serve in the armed forces of Switzerland, though they may volunteer for any position.
Mandatory military service lasts for 300 days, though most recruits opt to stay in longer for rank and civil benefits. After their mandatory 300-day period, they are required to enlist in the reserves for at least 10 years.
Like most military services, recruits are trained and certified for competency in the usage of firearms. As a result, the vast majority of Swiss grow fond of their boom-sticks and purchase their own private firearms after their military discharge. By most accounts, at least 27% of Swiss citizens own firearms.
Perhaps because of this, Switzerland is consistently ranked as one of the safest countries in the world, recording the least amount of violent crimes WORLDWIDE in 2015, 2016, 2018 and 2019.
Note: Many countries around the world mandate military service for their citizens. We chose Switzerland as an example because of their high rate of gun ownership after military service.
The reasons certain places mandate gun ownership are varied. It may be to deter crime, promote the Second Amendment or encourage civil participation. Some cities might just want to make political statements, and others may want to preempt gun-prohibition legislation.
The most important thing to remember is that owning a gun is a natural right, a guarantee that people can protect their most valuable possessions—their physical bodies and those of their loves ones—without fear of later prosecution or persecution.
Here at GunLove, we wholly support Second Amendment practitioners who are responsible and well-trained in the usage of firearms. In fact, we wouldn’t mind seeing more cities mandate firearm ownership, to encourage people to take their safety in their own hands, if nothing else.