A small town in Georgia has proposed an ordinance that would require "the head of household" in every home to own a gun and ammunition.

Town leaders in Nelson on Tuesday told WSB-TV that they had drafted the ordinance because they only have one police officer on duty for eight hours a day. And they worry that sheriff deputies cannot provide enough protection during the 16 hours each night that no officer is patrolling.

"When he's not here we rely on county sheriffs--however it takes a while for them to get here," Nelson City Councilman Duane Cronic, who drafted the proposal, explained.

Cronic's ordinance reads: "In order to provide for the emergency management of the city, and further in order to provide for and protect the safety, security and general welfare of the city and its inhabitants, every head of household residing in city limits is required to maintain a firearm, together with ammunition."

Loopholes, however, allow certain residents to avoid gun ownership.

Anyone with a "physical or mental disability," felons, "paupers" and those "who conscientiously oppose maintaining firearms as a result of beliefs or religious doctrine" could be exempted from the rules.

"It's a deterrent ordinance," Cronic insisted. "It tells the potential intruder you better think twice."

But Nelson resident Lamar Kellett called the idea "big government at its worst."

"Why have an ordinance if you're not going to enforce it? What's the point?" Kellett asked. "They just want publicity to say Nelson is a town full of weapons."

"This is big government at its worst: Government mandating what a free individual can and will have in his home."

According to WSB-TV, the ordinance cold be approved by the council as soon as April 1.

Watch this video from WSB-TV, broadcast March 5, 2013.