Hitler was no big fan of gun control in nazi Germany

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It’s naive to believe that a few, or a lot of  weapons in some private homes could prevent dictators such as Hitler and Stalin from doing harm, with entire armies (with tanks) at their hands. Instead of living under the paranoia that the government might turn nazi, and/or that politicians might come after you and your family, it’s way more likely that liberal gun laws will enable criminals to form gangs and use mafia methods. This is particularly a big risk in certain countries where people from different ethnic groups and cultures live side by side with a hard time to get along. Add poverty and drug problems to the picture and you  might have total anarchy in certain areas where criminals terrorize people who might not even dare to go out when it’s getting dark in the evenings.  Is that an environment we would like to live in and should strive for? Is that really FREEDOM? I don’t want to live in chains, so I’m FOR gun control in my country.

There will be an Antichrist in the future, and our private guns won’t prevent him from ruling the world. Until he shows up on the scene, we could try to eliminate criminals from getting hold of guns and in that way protect our loved ones. With liberal gun laws criminals can easily get hold of guns, which means they can point them at YOU and your family.

Below is excerpt from this article in Huffington Post/Walker Bragman:

”But Hitler and Stalin took away the guns and look what happened!”

This argument is historically inaccurate. University of Chicago law professor Bernard Harcourt explained in his 2004 paperWeimar Germany had tougher gun laws than Nazi Germany. Hitler expanded private gun ownership. It is true that Gypsies and Jews were not permitted to own guns, but there is no basis for the belief that these two groups would have stopped the Holocaust had they been armed. If anything, it would have ”hastened their demise” according to Robert Spitzer, Chair of SUNY-Cortland’s political science department. Hitler was extremely popular among the German people and throughout the world. To suggest that the only thing keeping Hitler in power was control of guns exonerates the many who supported him. The same is true of the Bolsheviks in Soviet Russia: the idea that an armed populace would have stopped Stalin is a fantasy. Like Hitler, Stalin was extremely popular.

Below text can be found in full in this article from Mother Jones

Of course, attempts to equate gun control with fascism are bogus. But the ”Hitler took the guns” argument has long had a prominent and fairly effective role in America’s gun control debate despite its obvious reductionism.

In 1989, a new pro-gun group called Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership began arguing that the 1968 federal gun control bill once favored by the NRA’s old guard ”was lifted, almost in its entirety, from Nazi legislation.” (That false claim is still being repeated.)

In 1994, JPFO founder Aaron Zelman implored the NRA’s board to seize on the alleged Nazi connection:

Some of you may even have figured out that unless the NRA changes its strategy, the law abiding firearm owner in America will go the way of the Jews in Nazi occupied Europe: extermination…The choice is yours; you can turn your back on a failed strategy—one of compromise with evil-doers—and attack the concept of ”gun control” by exposing the Nazi roots of ”gun-control” in America. Or, you can persist in a failed strategy, and accept your own extinction.

Whether or not the NRA was influenced by his advice, that same year its CEO, Wayne LaPierre, published Guns, Crime, and Freedom, in which he claimed, ”In Germany, firearm registration helped lead to the holocaust,” leaving citizens ”defenseless against tyranny and the wanton slaughter of a whole segment of its population.” The following year, President George H.W. Bush famously resigned from the NRA after LaPierre attacked federal law enforcement officials as ”jack-booted government thugs” who wore ”Nazi bucket helmets and black storm trooper uniforms.” More recently, Stephen Halbrook, a lawyer who has represented the NRAargued (PDF) that ”if the Nazi experience teaches anything, it teaches that totalitarian governments will attempt to disarm their subjects so as to extinguish any ability to resist crimes against humanity.”

So did Hitler and the Nazis really take away Germans’ guns, making the Holocaust unavoidable? This argument is superficially true at best, as University of Chicago law professor Bernard Harcourt explained in a 2004 paper (PDF) on Nazi Germany’s impact on the American culture wars. As World War I drew to a close, the new Weimar Republic government banned nearly all private gun ownership to comply with the Treaty of Versailles and mandated that all guns and ammunition ”be surrendered immediately.” The law was loosened in 1928, and gun permits were granted to citizens ”of undoubted reliability” (in the law’s words) but not ”persons who are itinerant like Gypsies.” In 1938, under Nazi rule, gun laws became significantly more relaxed. Rifle and shotgun possession were deregulated, and gun access for hunters, Nazi Party members, and government officials was expanded. The legal age to own a gun was lowered. Jews, however, were prohibited from owning firearms and other dangerous weapons.

”But guns didn’t play a particularly important part in any event,” says Robert Spitzer, who chairs SUNY-Cortland’s political science department and has extensively researchedgun control politics. Gun ownership in Germany after World War I, even among Nazi Party members, was never widespread enough for a serious civilian resistance to the Nazis to have been anything more than a Tarantino revenge fantasy. If Jews had been better armed, Spitzer says, it would only have hastened their demise. Gun policy ”wasn’t the defining moment that marked the beginning of the end for Jewish people in Germany. It was because they were persecuted, were deprived of all of their rights, and they were a minority group.

Gun enthusiasts often mention that the Soviet Union restricted access to guns in 1929 after Joseph Stalin rose to power. But to suggest that a better armed Russian populace would have overthrown the Bolsheviks is also too simplistic, says Spitzer. ”To answer the question of the relationship between guns and the revolutions in those nations is to study the comparative politics and comparative history of those nations,” he explains. ”It takes some analysis to break this down and explain it, and that’s often not amenable to a sound bite or a headline.”

(Ironically, pro-gun white nationalists have tried to stand the ”Hitler took the guns” idea on its head by arguing that he was in fact a staunch supporter of the right to bear arms—for Aryans.

Even if President Obama suddenly unleashes his inner totalitarian, there’s no chance he could successfully round up all of America’s 300 million-plus firearms. Such an idea is practically and politically impossible. A tough assault weapons ban like one Democrats are currently proposing would affect just a fraction of the total privately owned firearms in the country. Yet by invoking the historical threat of disarmament, Spitzer says, ”the gun lobby has worked to throw a scare into gun owners in order to rally them to the side of the NRA.”

Below is from this article in Somaliland Sun
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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. 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. Does the fact that Nazis forced Jews into horrendous ghettos indict urban planning? Should we eliminate all police officers because the Nazis used police officers to oppress and kill the Jews? What about public works — Hitler loved public works projects? Of course not. These are merely implements that can be used for good or ill, much as gun advocates like to argue about guns themselves. If guns don’t kill people, then neither does gun control cause genocide (genocidal regimes cause genocide).

Besides, Omer Bartov, a historian at Brown University who studies the Third Reich, notes that the Jews probably wouldn’t have had much success fighting back. ”Just imagine the Jews of Germany exercising the right to bear arms and fighting the SA, SS and the Wehrmacht. The [Russian] Red Army lost 7 million men fighting the Wehrmacht, despite its tanks and planes and artillery. The Jews with pistols and shotguns would have done better?” he told Salon.

Proponents of the theory sometimes point to the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto Uprising as evidence that, as Fox News’ Judge Andrew Napolitano put it, ”those able to hold onto their arms and their basic right to self-defense were much more successful in resisting the Nazi genocide.” But as the Tablet’s Michael Moynihan points out, Napolitano’s history (curiously based on a citation of work by French Holocaust denier Robert Faurisson) is a bit off. In reality, only about 20 Germans were killed, while some 13,000 Jews were massacred. The remaining 50,000 who survived were promptly sent off to concentration camps.

Robert Spitzer, a political scientist who studies gun politics and chairs the political science department at SUNY Cortland, told Mother Jones’ Gavin Aronsen that the prohibition on Jewish gun ownership was merely a symptom, not the problem itself. ”[It] wasn’t the defining moment that marked the beginning of the end for Jewish people in Germany. It was because they were persecuted, were deprived of all of their rights, and they were a minority group,” he explained.

Meanwhile, much of the Hitler myth is based on an infamous quote falsely attributed to the Fuhrer, which extols the virtue of gun control:

This year will go down in history! For the first time, a civilized nation has full gun registration! Our streets will be safer, our police more efficient, and the world will follow our lead into the future!

The quote has been widely reproduced in blog posts and opinion columns about gun control, but it’s ”probably a fraud and was likely never uttered,” according to Harcourt. ”This quotation, often seen without any date or citation at all, suffers from several credibility problems, the most significant of which is that the date often given [1935] has no correlation with any legislative effort by the Nazis for gun registration, nor would there have been any need for the Nazis to pass such a law, since gun registration laws passed by the Weimar government were already in effect,” researchers at the useful website GunCite note.

”As for Stalin,” Bartov continued, ”the very idea of either gun control or the freedom to bear arms would have been absurd to him. His regime used violence on a vast scale, provided arms to thugs of all descriptions, and stripped not guns but any human image from those it declared to be its enemies. And then, when it needed them, as in WWII, it took millions of men out of the Gulags, trained and armed them and sent them to fight Hitler, only to send back the few survivors into the camps if they uttered any criticism of the regime.”

Bartov added that this misreading of history is not only intellectually dishonest, but also dangerous. ”I happen to have been a combat soldier and officer in the Israeli Defense Forces and I know what these assault rifles can do,” he said in an email.

He continued: ”Their assertion that they need these guns to protect themselves from the government — as supposedly the Jews would have done against the Hitler regime — means not only that they are innocent of any knowledge and understanding of the past, but also that they are consciously or not imbued with the type of fascist or Bolshevik thinking that they can turn against a democratically elected government, indeed turn their guns on it, just because they don’t like its policies, its ideology, or the color, race and origin of its leaders.”

11 thoughts on “Hitler was no big fan of gun control in nazi Germany

  1. The issue for the United States and guns is deep. Both sides could give statistics proving this or that. Yet one point missing is the nature of us Americans. It has been engrafted in our thinking to be independent and to always view the government with suspicion. When a conservative is the White House, liberals will say that he is taking away our rights. When a liberal is in office, conservatives will say that he is taking away our rights. Gun rights are not only written in our Bill of Rights but the American ideal to view the government with suspicion leads to this fight back over gun rights.

    In reality, I think most Americans are for some forms of gun control such as better background checks, etc. but the vast majority also believe we should be allowed to own guns. To fight the government? Perhaps. To protect ourselves? If necessary. To hunt? Sure. But ultimately, because we can. It’s just who we are. And the American attitude toward those who outside of the US who oppose our thinking is to remain in your country.

    Gilla

    • Hey there!

      <<Yet one point missing is the nature of us Americans. It has been engrafted in our thinking to be independent and to always view the government with suspicion.

      I don't doubt this for a minute and I feel you have very good reasons to doubt everything that Obama and his administration is telling you. I read a lot about him and his politics are nothing but scary which leads to that the future doesn't look very bright. I can also understand that one might feel the need to own guns for protection if the government fails to protect you and where there are criminal gangs here and there who are a threat to you. But all countries are of course not built up like America, and we have different kinds of political systems, different culture, history, and media coverage. Something I would disagree with you about is that we can get different statistics from both sides proving this or that, because I fail to see how. However we turn it, the homicide rate in the US is dramatically higher than other countries in the western world where the gun control is strict.

      <<but the vast majority also believe we should be allowed to own guns. To fight the government? Perhaps. To protect ourselves? If necessary. To hunt? Sure. But ultimately, because we can.

      This is where we differ due to our culture. Over here we actually have a lot of gun owners, but that's due to hunting. Not anyone can get guns to hunt due to the gun control where you also have to pass a gun school which takes quite a while. You also need to get a 110 kilo cabinet to store the guns safely, pay fees, register the guns, etc. If we would pursue the idea that we should be able to own guns for protection "just because we CAN" that would actually be the same as saying:

      "It's not enough for me to live in a country where no one has ever heard of anyone having a need to own a gun for protection (like Sweden), because I want to own a gun just because I CAN, and I'm of course aware of that more liberal gun laws will cause criminals to be first in line to get guns which they of course might increase the risk that they might point them at ME and my family. But I feel it's worth it if I can only own a gun…"

      There are loads of things I love about America and Americans (America is way more christianlike than Europe), but when it comes to gun laws I'm really happy to live where I am 🙂

      Gilla

      • And that is good brother. I am happy that you enjoy where you live and that you are seeking to make disciples there.

        For interesting stats on gun laws, control, etc. then refer to http://www.justfacts.com/guncontrol.asp. You’ll notice that two cities in the US, Chicago and Washington DC, had gun control laws passed but the rate of killing did not decrease and has shown no sign of going down. You’ll also notice that both England and Wales passed strict gun laws but their rate has no decreased and has in fact increased in violence.

        I don’t doubt that America is full of sin and that the reason for our wickedness is from the devil himself. We are a violent, wicked society that needs the gospel. The hope for our nation (and your own) is the gospel. It is not in laws of men.

        On a final note, I own guns and am proud of that. I plan on teaching my boys about guns and gun safety as they grow. Nearly all of the men I know own guns. Not one of them are violent, have committed crimes, and most of them are in fact strongly committed to the gospel.

        As the saying goes, ”Prevent forest fires: register matches.” Or perhaps ban them.

        I do appreciate you brother and our friendly debate.

        Gilla

      • Hey there

        It’s very common to bring up Chicago, and compare one American city or state with other American cities or states, but I’m rather puzzled why this argument is brought forth at all since it’s rather simple to drive guns across the border. That is why it’s always best to compare one country with other countries. I can also quote this:

        ”In the US gun laws are not uniform between or even within states. Chicago has tight gun laws, but the rest of Illinois does not and neither does Indiana. It was found that many of Chicago’s guns come from surrounding areas in the state or Indiana. Firearms travel from areas with loose gun laws to those with tight laws. Weak national regulations undermine attempts at gun control everywhere. The number of illegal firearms in circulation is a testament to the inadequacy of national gun laws. Most gun violence occurs with such weapons. There are also other factors that determine gun violence, but the guns themselves cannot be excused.”

        When it comes to the rates in the UK the only interesting thing is their homicide rate, and the UK has one of the lowest homicide rates in the world, and tremendously lower than the US. It’s always best to focus on the HOMICIDE rate (and not crime rate) because that is the crime that most people are likely to report. A crime might not always be reported and each country might have different views about what ”violent crime” is. I wrote a blog article about the gun control in the UK which you can read here:

        https://bjorkbloggen.wordpress.com/2013/03/07/gun-control-has-helped-britain-uk-to-have-one-of-the-lowest-homicide-rates-in-the-world/

        If it was only a question about ”sin” then Sweden would take the price, or similar European countries. Christians are very rare over here, and you wouldn’t say ”God bless you” to someone unless you knew he was a christian. (So with other words you would just about never hear a term like that.)

        We own weapons too, but for hunting. I’m sure you handle your guns well, but other people don’t, and guns can be stolen, borrowed or used by accident.

        I’m actually a female.

        I’m glad you don’t demonize those who are for gun control 🙂

        Gilla

      • Sorry about the ”brother” statement then. ”Sister” then. 🙂

        I don’t demonize those who are for gun control. I don’t know of any here to be honest. Perhaps the college kids in town might be for gun control but I would say that all of my friends and co-workers would be for guns. Now we would all be for certain folks not getting guns but we simply don’t think that our nation should punish the vast number of people (like myself) who own guns and have never committed a single crime. We feel that the government is not after the criminal but the common citizen who happily pays their taxes, works their job, raises their kids, and yet owns guns.

        Gilla

      • It’s funny how differently we can view certain things depending on which country we live in:) I have not met a Swedish person in my life who is against gun control. Who wouldn’t want to keep the homicide rate low? (Apart from criminals.) Had I lived in the US, maybe I too would sometimes feel unsafe and have a desire to be protected with a gun, and I’m convinced that Americans who move to Sweden would not pursue the idea to try to get Sweden to get more liberal gun laws, because hopefully they would for starters not feel a NEED for a gun, and hopefully they would understand that liberal gun laws with 100% certainty would increase the homicide rate. Any change in the gun laws would be for the worse. But we do live in different countries…

        <<Now we would all be for certain folks not getting guns but we simply don’t think that our nation should punish the vast number of people (like myself) who own guns and have never committed a single crime

        The reason why we are against guns for protection is that we know that this rule applies also for CRIMINALS, and that is the whole idea. We don't view it as being punished but we gladly give up our rights since we know that it's for our own safety. That's also why most people are willing to be security checked before boarding a plane, because we all know that it's for OUR OWN GOOD. We KNOW that everyone else will also have to be security checked and that will increase the safety for us all. Just suppose an airline would employ the idea "Those who are willing to be security checked before boarding can do so, but those who feel this interferes with their private lives may say NO". If the same tough gun rules apply for ALL, then we know that criminals will get the hardest time to get hold of guns. In the US I feel the can of worms is already opened, and criminals will certainly not hand in their guns just like that.

        God bless you, brother! 🙂

        Gilla

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  4. Pingback: Here's a disgusting photo of people lining up to register their newly regulated guns. - Pelican Parts Technical BBS

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