11 months ago
I see that use of the search words “Hitler Gun Control” has recently become popular. Of course it has. And this is an easy question to answer. The former assault weapons ban and the proposed assault weapons ban find their roots in Nazi Germany, as I have pointed out before.
This comprehensive study shows that Hitler’s Nazi Germany prohibited at least the following things: silencers, tactical lights on weapons, high capacity magazines (more than five rounds) and telescoping stocks.
The Obama administration. Following the lead of Nazi Germany since January 20, 2009.
UPDATE #1: This is rich. Alex Seitz-Wald writing with Salon has penned a piece entitled The Hitler Gun Control Lie. Let’s examine just a bit of it.
This week, people were shocked when the Drudge Report posted a giant picture of Hitler over a headline speculating that the White House will proceed with executive orders to limit access to firearms. The proposed orders are exceedingly tame, but Drudge’s reaction is actually a common conservative response to any invocation of gun control.
The NRA, Fox News, Fox News (again), Alex Jones, email chains, Joe “the Plumber” Wurzelbacher, Gun Owners of America, etc., all agree that gun control was critical to Hitler’s rise to power. Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership (“America’s most aggressive defender of firearms ownership”) is built almost exclusively around this notion, popularizing posters of Hitler giving the Nazi salute next to the text: “All in favor of ‘gun control’ raise your right hand.”
In his 1994 book, NRA head Wayne LaPierre dwelled on the Hitler meme at length, writing: “In Germany, Jewish extermination began with the Nazi Weapon Law of 1938, signed by Adolf Hitler.”
And it makes a certain amount of intuitive sense: If you’re going to impose a brutal authoritarian regime on your populace, better to disarm them first so they can’t fight back.
Unfortunately for LaPierre et al., the notion that Hitler confiscated everyone’s guns is mostly bogus. And the ancillary claim that Jews could have stopped the Holocaust with more guns doesn’t make any sense at all if you think about it for more than a minute.
University of Chicago law professor Bernard Harcourt explored this myth in depth in a 2004 article published in the Fordham Law Review. As it turns out, the Weimar Republic, the German government that immediately preceded Hitler’s, actually had tougher gun laws than the Nazi regime. After its defeat in World War I, and agreeing to the harsh surrender terms laid out in the Treaty of Versailles, the German legislature in 1919 passed a law that effectively banned all private firearm possession, leading the government to confiscate guns already in circulation. In 1928, the Reichstag relaxed the regulation a bit, but put in place a strict registration regime that required citizens to acquire separate permits to own guns, sell them or carry them.
The 1938 law signed by Hitler that LaPierre mentions in his book basically does the opposite of what he says it did. “The 1938 revisions completely deregulated the acquisition and transfer of rifles and shotguns, as well as ammunition,” Harcourt wrote.
What happens next would be amusing if it wasn’t such a horrible train wreck.
Meanwhile, many more categories of people, including Nazi party members, were exempted from gun ownership regulations altogether, while the legal age of purchase was lowered from 20 to 18, and permit lengths were extended from one year to three years. The law did prohibit Jews and other persecuted classes from owning guns, but this should not be an indictment of gun control in general.
Alex acknowledges that his interpretation might be a bit problematic, and then in the span of two sentences, he demolishes his own argument. More to the point, and again referring to the paper I cited above (Stephen P. Halbrook, Nazi Firearms Laws And The Disarming Of The German Jews):
… the Nazi seizure of power in 1933 was consolidated by massive searches and seizures of firearms from political opponents, who were invariably described as “communists.” After five years of repression and eradication of dissidents, Hitler signed a new gun control law in 1938, which benefitted Nazi party members and entities, but denied firearm ownership to enemies of the state.
Alex treats the disarming of “enemies of the state” as worthy of honorable mention as a stipulation to his argument just so that you know he is really scholarly and hasn’t completely ignored the real facts. We know it to be the primary and fundamental point of the argument. It’s the hinge upon which the entire conversation turns. Leave it to a Fascist to overlook that point.
UPDATE #2: Thoughts from Michael Bane.