" Under siege by liberals: the town where everyone owns a gun
Nucla, Colorado, was founded by socialists before becoming a mining town.
Now, as wealthy liberals with different values encroach, the town is fighting for its economic survival."
"Nucla made national headlines in 2013. That year, in the wake of the
Sandy Hook mass shooting that left 20 first-graders dead, Colorado
passed new gun control laws, banning the sale of new ammunition
magazines with more than 15 rounds and requiring that private citizens
perform criminal background checks before selling guns to each other.
The laws were hailed by gun control advocates nationwide as a sign of
progress despite the gun debate stalemate in Washington.
Nucla moved in precisely the opposite direction: it passed an ordinance
mandating that every head of household had to own a gun."
"The ordinance itself contains broad exceptions, not only for felons and those
with a mental illness, but also for people who cannot afford a gun or simply
wish to be “conscientious objectors”. This makes it more or less unenforceable.
Still, Nucla’s commitment to gun ownership is no joke. There’s a tiny pink sign
decorated with pistols at the local sheriff’s department – it reads:
“We don’t call 911.” The town has no bars, no liquor stores, no movie theaters
or malls, but it does have its own public gun range, free for use by all."
"The ordinance didn’t even faze Shirley Miller, an Englishwoman who
moved from Essex to be with her American husband. She said her
adjustment was easy for the most part. Coming from a small village to
the east of London, Great Wakering, she finds small-town England and
small-town America mostly alike, except for Nucla’s blazing, dusty summers
and, of course, its bounteous guns.
That aside, Nucla’s culture is not so different from small English villages, Miller said:
the lack of diversity; the mix of open-mindedness and old prejudice among the residents."
"Telluride, just an hour away, is Nucla’s polar opposite. The town, which
hosts a film festival, is cosmopolitan and populated by the elite, a favored
site for second or even third homes. Oprah Winfrey reportedly bought
60 acres of land there in 2014 and spent $14m on one of the town’s most
lavish mansions (it has a wine cellar designed to look like a historic mine).
To make ends meet, Nucla residents clean Telluride’s rental condos and help
construct its elaborate mansions, with their enormous chandeliers and
granite toilet seats and computerized bidets. One Nucla resident recalled
walking into a bathroom in Telluride and feeling startled as “the toilet opened by itself”."
"“Telluride says a lot of dumb things,” said Paul Major, the president of
the Telluride Foundation, a community philanthropy. “You know, it’s easier
to sit in Telluride and yodel about going green, and a community like
Nucla is going, ‘What are you talking about?’ We’re just trying to put
food on our table and a roof over our heads.””