Another debunking of nonsense about Hitler and gun control

Last Friday afternoon, I posted HERE an essay from a pro-gun Web site — repeat: a pro-gun Web site — refuting the widespread notion that Adolf Hitler used gun control to gain and keep Nazi control of Germany.

On that same day, THIS ARTICLE on that same subject was posted on another Web site:

This week, people were shockedwhen 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, 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 postersof 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. 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.



  1. APersonConcerned

    Pat, If you had bothered to include the rest of the story from your source, your readers would have been able to see this also.

    “The 1938 revisions completely deregulated the acquisition and transfer of rifles and shotguns, as well as ammunition,” “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).”

    “The 1938 revisions completely deregulated the acquisition and transfer of rifles and shotguns, as well as ammunition,”

    The Nazi party did indeed deregulate the possession of firearms. They deregulated it to everyone that they wanted to have a gun. They gave sympathizers to the Nazi Regime the ability to possess a firearm. This gave the Nazi party even more power by arming the citizens that stood by the Nazi’s.

    The writer has a valid point, it wasn’t about gun control, it was about people control. The very same people, which included millions of Jews, that were not allowed guns, that were forced into gas chambers by the people who had the guns.

    A nation under total gun control, no.
    A nation that was led by a madman who took away the basic ability of self defense from millions of people and then forced them into gas chambers, in front of firing squads, and into forced labor camps where they were starved to death.

    I would have to believe that you and the writers of your source are the kind of idiots that would say the Holocaust was a myth and might even have been perpetrated by the NRA.

  2. LaPierre is a dummkoph of the highest order.

  3. Big Dave

    Pat is NOT about posting everything only the bunk he wants his less informed readers to see so they believe the post.

    I wonder when Pat will post something on Hitler which claims he never lead Germany down the wrong path. Or that his government killed millions of Germans. No not holding my breath for that either.

    I also want to know when NY City or State has more gun violence will Pat ask for the resignation of the governor?

  4. I just find it funny that there is fact in what both of these people have said. Hitler did control who got guns still, which isn’t exactly like the current administration, and what they’re doing, however, he did not increase regulation like this NRA banner might lead people to believe.

    Personally, I think it’s stupid for the government to try to control guns as I, and my friends, are quite friendly individuals who are happy to use these weapons to keep people safe, and frankly, I’d trust them before trusting a police officer to actual arrive in this town when I need help.

    While yes, legal registered guns have been used in school shootings, it’s unstable individuals typically stealing these weapons that have been the issue, yet there’s been virtually no talk of mental health facilities, or any of the actual facts behind the case, other than the number of bullets fired.

    Just my two cents.

  5. Oh, and for the record, I enjoy Pat’s articles very much as well. I try to be an informed reader from both liberal and conservative viewpoints.

  6. Greg Miller

    The Jewish people may not have been able to stop hitler from taking over but if they were armed it would not have been as easy as it was. If they had their weapons alot of nazis would have gone down also, and maybe the war would have been over alot quicked had 2-3ooo less nazis were fighting. just saying

  7. I just read an interesting and scholarly article on the actual history behind the second amendment of our constitution written by Thom Hartmann; ‘The Second Amendment was Ratified to Preserve Slavery’. I’m nearly 70 and I have never read this piece of history and the resultant interpretation of the constitution before. As a broader explanation of the second amendment and what it really meant it’s an excellent piece. I won’t explain it, if anyone is interested they can read it. It will make perfect sense to anyone who is opposed to a ‘nigger’ for President and is worried about slave insurrection in the south. I must say, after reading the article, that the laws in the south regarding the right to shoot people to protect yourself, even from imagnary harm, are the illegitimate offspring of the original second amendment. And, this history is pertinent because it is our own.

  8. Big Dave

    Wow, now I’ve herd it all! Thanks Coach for your wonderful piece of garbage and the language is remarkable as well.

  9. A bit crude but you do make a point Coach. I have listened to Hartmann from time to time and consider him a very scholarly commentator.

  10. Appreciate Big Dave’s compliments on my language skills. Hope you read the article Dave. I’d like to hear your reaction to that piece our our own constitutional history as I think we can agree that understanding our Constitution is important for all of us especially at this time of intense debate over the issue of firearm ownership. I have read a number of commentaries from many points of view and I think this is an additional one that is historical and pertinent though I wouldn’t state that it solves the debate on the issue.

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