Your email is not valid
Recipient's email is not valid
Submit Close

Your email has been sent.

Click here to send another

Gun Control and the Holocaust

Gun-rights advocates cite Nazi laws in their defense of the Second Amendment. Is the comparison fair?

Print Email
Detail of photo of Abba Kovner holding gun in Vilna, 1944. (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum)

Few noticed when Joe “the Plumber” Wurzelbacher, that bad penny of Republican politics, made a quixotic run for Congress earlier this year. In June, the Ohio everyman, who gained notoriety in 2008 when he challenged candidate Barack Obama on his tax policy, released what for me was an unforgettable campaign video in which he promised American Jews that, in the event of a neo-Nazi takeover of government, he would come to their defense.

As Wurzelbacher expended shotgun shells at an outdoor shooting range, a voice-over offered a chilling warning from history: “In 1939 Germany established gun control [sic]; from 1939 to 1945 six million Jews, seven million others, unable to defend themselves, were exterminated.” He ended with the impassioned non sequitur: “I love America.” In the ensuing media storm, Wurzelbacher took to Twitter to erroneously claim that his vindication could be found in Mein Kampf, where “Hitler wrote … that his agenda would not be possible unless the people were disarmed.”

Excepting his deep love for the United States, almost everything in Wurzelbacher’s potted history of gun rights and the Holocaust is either wrong or perfectly irrelevant. His lesson in 20th-century genocide was cribbed—almost word for word—from a much-forwarded and reproduced chain email, which claims to document measures taken by totalitarian governments in restricting firearm possession. As a result, it argues, Hitler, Stalin, and Pol Pot waged campaigns of mass murder and met little resistance.

But in the wake of last week’s gruesome massacre in Newtown, Ct., and a reinvigorated push to further regulate the sale of firearms, social media and email in-boxes are again bursting with the claim that Europe’s Jews were the last century’s most prominent victims of gun control. If we should never forget the Holocaust, the argument goes, we should also not forget that governments possessed of a fascist instinct will inevitably come for your guns—and then they might very well come for you.

It’s a historical invocation with a long pedigree. In 1983, for example, when Chicago was feverishly debating an all-out handgun ban, the Chicago Tribune reported that the bill’s opponents were lobbying residents of Skokie, a heavily Jewish suburb of Chicago, to oppose the prohibition. “Opponents of a proposed handgun ban, mindful of Skokie’s large Jewish population, are reminding village residents that the Nazis disarmed the Jews as a preliminary to sending them to the gas chambers during World War II.” A Jewish pro-gun organization agitated against the restrictive law with an image of Hitler, arm outstretched in a sieg heil salute, with the subtle caption: “All in favor of gun control raise your right hand.”

So, did the Nazis in fact enact draconian gun-control legislation that eased the path toward genocide? Or is the claim that Hitler disarmed Germany’s Jews simply junk history?

There are various degrees of myth and truth in both perspectives. Unfortunately, most recapitulations of National Socialist gun-control policy are written not by experts in German history but by various ideological players. Still, it is indeed true that in 1938, the Nazis expanded upon Germany’s already restrictive gun laws, most of which were established during the Weimar Republic. The Regulations Against Jews’ Possession of Weapons decreed that “Jews are prohibited from acquiring, possessing, and carrying firearms and ammunition, as well as cutting or stabbing weapons. Those now having in their possession weapons and ammunition must at once surrender them to the local police authority.”

Almost five years into their reign, the Nazis were still codifying into law the curtailment of Jewish civil rights. But to many current gun-rights advocates, it was this particular piece of legislation that ensured the Holocaust would be met with minimal Jewish resistance.

Fox News personality Judge Andrew Napolitano is typical of those who cite the prohibition on Jews owning weapons under Hitler when defending American gun rights. In his book It Is Dangerous to Be Right When the Government Is Wrong, Napolitano argues that Kristallnacht, the 1938 orgy of anti-Jewish violence that killed 1,000 people across the Reich, could only have happened to an unarmed minority. He further claims that the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto uprising demonstrates that “those able to hold onto their arms and their basic right to self defense were much more successful in resisting the Nazi genocide.” According to Napolitano, members of the Jewish resistance in Warsaw “were able to kill about three hundred members of the German military and hold them off for almost a month,” from which he concludes that if other Jews “were able to maintain arms and fight for their lives like those of the [resistance] did, then perhaps the six million Jews would never have suffered their tragic horrific fate.”

Regardless of one’s view of Napolitano’s broader defense of gun ownership, his invocation of the Holocaust is factually and logically flawed. First, only around 20—not 300—Germans were killed during the Warsaw Uprising (historian Peter Longerich estimates that the Nazis “suffered several dozen fatalities”), while approximately 13,000 Jews were killed in the ghetto, and the 50,000 surviving captives were quickly deported to concentration camps. Second, it is optimistic to think that revolt from poorly armed, poorly trained, and undermanned citizens against the mighty German military would have substantially altered the fate of German or Eastern European Jews. (Curiously, Napolitano’s footnote for his section on the uprising cites French Holocaust denier Robert Faurisson’s article “The Warsaw Ghetto ‘Uprising’: Jewish Insurrection or German Police Operation?”).

Gun-rights advocate David Kopel, who has written extensively on the issue of Nazi firearms laws, rightly points out that Jewish partisans and prisoners periodically managed to cobble together arms—often stolen or crudely manufactured—to resist their oppressors, belying the myth of Jewish passivity. But he too vastly overstates the effectiveness of a tiny minority resisting a genocidal machine. When some of the 600 remaining inmates of Sobibor revolted in 1943, killing 12 German guards, the death camp “was put out of operation forever,” Kopel writes. It was “violence [that] solved Sobibor,” he continues, again claiming that it was “put out of business early” by armed rebellion.

The rebellion—which began when a prisoner attacked an SS man with an ax, not a gun—was one of the reasons that the Germans closed Sobibor, but the brave prisoners cannot alone claim credit for scuppering one of the Holocaust’s most notorious killing centers. Himmler had already ordered the camp transformed from a death camp to a concentration camp in 1943 and was keen to destroy evidence of mass killings as the Soviets advanced from the east.

The heroism of those who resisted the Nazis in Warsaw and Sobibor is undeniable and should be honored. But these actions were taken after it became undeniably clear that the “final solution to the Jewish question” was mass murder; what these examples prove is that against-all-odds resistance is often attempted when desperation demands it. Indeed, as Longerich noted in his biography of SS leader Heinrich Himmler, “Under the impact of the Warsaw ghetto uprising, from April 1943 onwards the SS accelerated the bloody liquidation of those ghettos that still existed.”

The ordeal of deported and imprisoned Jews in 1943 simply isn’t comparable to that of those who, in 1938 during Kristallnacht, witnessed the first spasms of mass anti-Jewish violence—a state-sanctioned pogrom that was presented as a spontaneous outpouring of violence from the German public. An armed response could have made matters even worse given that Jews made up only around 1 percent of the total German population. And it’s curious that those who invoke restrictive Nazi guns laws don’t actually provide figures for how many guns were actually seized from “non-Aryan” homes. Was the disarmament of Jews a largely symbolic act, or was a previously armed group rendered impotent by the 1938 law?

Napolitano, Kopel, and others are surely correct that if a tyrannical government is determined to eliminate a race or class of people, such a goal is best achieved by stripping their quarry not only of political rights and civil liberties, but of any means of self-defense. An unarmed population is undeniably more passive. But whatever gun legislation Congress is formulating in the aftermath of the barbarism in Newtown, there will be no Gestapo knocking on doors, rifling through attics and closets, requisitioning handguns. America isn’t Nazi Germany, and it cheapens the experience of Holocaust victims to suggest otherwise. By all means, let the debate on gun control roil, but for once, let’s leave Hitler out of it.


Like this article? Sign up for our Daily Digest to get Tablet Magazine’s new content in your inbox each morning.

Print Email

Daily rate: $2
Monthly rate: $18
Yearly rate: $180

Tablet is committed to bringing you the best, smartest, most enlightening and entertaining reporting and writing on Jewish life, all free of charge. We take pride in our community of readers, and are thrilled that you choose to engage with us in a way that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. But the Internet, for all of its wonders, poses challenges to civilized and constructive discussion, allowing vocal—and, often, anonymous—minorities to drag it down with invective (and worse). Starting today, then, we are asking people who'd like to post comments on the site to pay a nominal fee—less a paywall than a gesture of your own commitment to the cause of great conversation. All proceeds go to helping us bring you the ambitious journalism that brought you here in the first place.

Readers can still interact with us free of charge via Facebook, Twitter, and our other social media channels, or write to us at Each week, we’ll select the best letters and publish them in a new letters to the editor feature on the Scroll.

We hope this new largely symbolic measure will help us create a more pleasant and cultivated environment for all of our readers, and, as always, we thank you deeply for your support.

I guess what I would take from this article is that more than just arming the Hoi polloi we also need to teach them to shoot straight. I’m in favor of that.

The author seems to be saying, yes, Jews especially should arm themselves, but I wish it weren’t necessary.

wildjew says:

I don’t need to waste my time reading this line of argument. The author destroys his own premise with: “The Regulations Against Jews’ Possession of Weapons (in Nazi Germany) decreed that “Jews are prohibited from acquiring, possessing, and carrying firearms and ammunition, as well as cutting or stabbing weapons. Those now having in their possession weapons and ammunition must at once surrender them to the local police authority.”

Jews who know our history are not so misguided. The only Jews who died fighting for their freedom under Nazi tyranny were those who smuggled weapons into the Warsaw ghetto. Remember the Warsaw Ghetto uprising anyone? Earth to Jews!

    wildjew says:

    Michael Moynihan| wrote: “But whatever gun legislation Congress is formulating in the aftermath of the barbarism in Newtown, there will be no Gestapo knocking on doors, rifling through attics and closets, requisitioning handguns. America isn’t Nazi Germany, and it cheapens the experience of Holocaust victims to suggest otherwise. By all means, let the debate on gun control roil, but for once, let’s leave Hitler out of it.”

    My goodness are you ill-informed sir.

      Godwin’s Law is supposed to apply to inappropriate Hitler analogies. If you’re talking about the Holocaust or genocide, nothing wrong with making one.

        westlafadeaway says:

        Godwin’s Law does apply because nobody asked these gun lovers about the Holocaust. Napalitano is saying you better let us keep our guns or else…you know…Holocaust…Hitler, etc…

    and I still wonder, even without weapons, why they went so easily to their deaths

      socialismisevil says:

      great point

      b/c people in general want to live and they believe that its better to live another day than die (possibly) at that moment

      even when you KNOW FOR A FACT THAT DEATH IS INEVITABLE ( be it by n a z i s or natural causes) the above holds true

      thats why we praise those who are willing to sacrifice their time and possibly their lives

      look at people who willingly give in to current day thugs

      its not so much about apathy but just the hope that they will “go away”

      they will in fact go away but at what cost??

      you’re life?

      From all I have read in survivor accounts,etc. many could not believe until it was too late that what they heard from the SS about where they were going was a lie even though the rumors flew.Also, everyone in authority well armed killing anyone who looked the slightest bit resentful may have deterred all but the most brave from fighting back. Much like abused and battered woman and children obedience unto death can become an inescapable mindset and the Nazi’s were very experienced at mind manipulation. I will never second guess them only remember them and ask that their reward for such awful treatment is lavish and eternal.

        That’s why the Israelis are so paranoid. “Ah, last time they told us we were just being moved, and look what happened…”

      Susanne says:

      Actually, there was a lot of resistance, especially in Poland and Russia. As for the German Jews, they tried to get out, and a lot did.

    Barry_D says:

    Read the article, please. The author covered that.

      wildjew says:

      What is your postion? Do you support the right of the people to bear arms in order to protect themselves from a potential tyrannical government?

        westlafadeaway says:

        If we’re talking against the US government and the US military I think your handguns and rifles won’t mean squat. I support your right to bear arms against home intruders more than that nonsense.

          You are making an argument for US citizens carrying the equivalent to whatever firepower the US military, under direction of the POTUS, would use. Do you believe the POTUS would place any limits on military weaponry applied to US citizens?

    Susanne says:

    If people living under those conditions turn their weapons in because they are afraid of law enforcement, do you think they would have mustered the courage to actually shoot at an SS officer? That was a fucking crime.

jcarpenter says:

The U. S. is not Nazi Germany and never will be. Nor is the U.S. to be schooled by Israel or Switzerland, who apparently issue guns to the populace at birth. Our cultures, our histories, our persona are different as night and day. The second amendment has been taken to beyond extreme, much like the first amendment, and the paranoid ‘moderate’ the debate.

    wildjew says:

    How do you know it will never be? Are you one of those who says, “it could never happen here.” (?)

    You speak of American culture like it is permeable by one or two incidents. American culture includes guns, which can’t always be understood by those who have not had any exposure to it. That is part of the zeitgeist of a free people. Change will not be easy and it can’t be done suddenly. If you don’t approach it in a rational way, conceding the need to allow the use of handguns with restrictions, you will force an underground gun culture that will dwarf anything you ever seen with previous alcohol and drug prohibitions.

    Further, Jews in Israel now understand the necessity of fighting back. Guns protect that society in ways we in America can never understand.

      jcarpenter says:

      I absolutely agree with you about American culture including guns, as in my grandfather’s shotgun and .22 rifle for plunking varmints on the farm, and as in my father’s deer rifle; I can understand the perceived need for handguns for protection and armed guards for public venues. Golem, I think you misunderstand me. What I don’t get is the assumption that military grade weapons need to be available to the public at large, especially since the same have been used for the recent mass murders since Columbine. “It could never happen here”—would it be more likely that our govt. comprised of duly elected (and defeated in elections), in a democratic system based on a constitution that has lasted for over 200 years, would overnight turn sour (“change will not be easy and it can’t be done suddenly”) —or would it be more likely that the cultural paranoia that acquires and stockpiles weaponry will go berserk? Where is their tradition, where is their sense of order, of checks and balances? There already is an underground gun culture—the stockpilers, the apocalyptics.

        We may be in agreement already!
        Very few places in the US allow military grade weapons, legally.  Which does not stop some gun owners from illegally altering their guns.  Or buying fertilizer to make bombs…or…a lot of other things that are probably illegal.  I wouldn’t call all of these people dangerous, either, but..well..they could be, given the right circumstances. And I don’t think there’s an imminent danger of a fascist takeover of America, a civil war, or, G-d forbid, a nuclear holocaust-end-of-the-world-hey-the-Mayans-were-right-after-all-thing happening… But American culture has a deep distrust of government, and it doesn’t surprise me when individuals store weapons because of that distrust.  On the plus side, it is the sign of a free people.  Of course there are many minus sides to this, as well.  But fascism isn’t one of them.

          jcarpenter says:

          How much of American culture has a deep distrust of the government? There is a lot of frustration with the government, and a disillusionment with the government, but I think the majority of Americans see the government as a necessity in one way or another (hopefully in ways that “don’t limit me.”) My issue with the paranoid stockpilers is that their apocalypse they envision (and I dare say _prefer) will be nothing but a chaotic free-for-all, a law unto themselves.

          No question, the majority…the vast majority, only want to live their lives, raise their children..etc. and yes, there are those on the fringe who are wacky. However, American culture has a lot of variance within it. And when things get tough for Americans, there are a lot of different reactions. I trust most Americans. They will do the right thing, most of the time. But gun ownership is a value that is like TV ownership. Most accept it as a fact, a part of the culture. Unlike TV ownership, it is not something discussed every day.
          As long as things don’t change much (gun ownership), no problem. And no chaos, either.
          Sent from my iPad

    Yea, lets do away with the first amendment to. Oh wait! They already have on college campuses

      No other nation has our 2nd amendment yet there are LOTS of free countries. To argue than an outlier idea like the 2nd is a component of freedom, when it’s completely absent from traditional moral values, is bizzare.

The Second Amendment to the US Constitution was designed to allow American citizens to arm themselves against agressors, including their own government if necessary. This is a fact. If we stand back from the original intention of our foundational governmental document, and look carefully at the current arguments about gun control, especially since the recent tragedy at Newtown, it should bring our fear and strong emotions into sharp perspective. Guns are not the problem, people are the problem. Hungry, jobless people suffering after WWI were an easy target for an evil dictatorship that offered food and jobs for the task of carrying guns and using them against Jews and others. From this perspective, it is not hard to see potential similarities to our circumstances in the US today. Specific details regarding the build-up to the Holocaust may not be as significant as the big picture reality. It is certainly something to consider. I have heard more than one Holocaust survivor sounding deep, empassioned warnings about these similariies now. I, for one, am listening to them.

    “The Second Amendment to the US Constitution was designed to allow American citizens to arm themselves against agressors, including their own government if necessary. ”

    The Second Amendment was to allow state governments to call upon a “well-regulated militia” drawn from the citizenry to deal with all sorts of threats. It’s right there in the text of the Amendment. It was drafted in response to Shays’ Rebellion in Massachusetts, not in support of it.

      Kaka DeVaka says:

      That’s right, the government needed a law to raise an army. Give me a break. Look at the obvious.The Bill of Rights delineates the rights of individuals, not the government. Every single one protects the people, not the frigging government. Even the 10th amendments states that all rights not specifically delegated to the government by the constitution belong to the States or the people. Read the actual Constitution before you say something you haven’t a clue about.

      If you want to change the constitution then say so. Don’t try and contort it into saying something it never did just to hide your real intent.

        And note that in the language of the Second Amendment “the people” is meant collectively, since the rationale for the right to bear arms is to protect a free state by means of a regulated militia (or in modern terms, a state national guard, or state police– who, assuming the state is “free,” are representatives of “the people.”) If there were a situation where the state had become a tyranny, then the Second Amendment would not apply, since the Constitution would not be operative.

        It’s not a license for any group to overrule a /lawful/ act of the state or federal government through force of arms, just because they don’t like it. That said, the Second Amendment hasn’t overthrown any tyrannies lately.

          you are seeing things the way you want to see it. the language speaks for itself. the Constitution has been interpreted as the people having the right to arm since the beginning. your theory based on history that is any opinion is mere conjecture.

          MondaysChild76 says:

          From Justice Scalia’s ruling opinion in D.C. v. Heller:

          “The unamended Constitution and the Bill of Rights use the phrase “right of the people” two other times, in the First Amendment’s Assembly-and-Petition Clause and in the Fourth Amendment’s Search-and-Seizure Clause. The Ninth Amendment uses very similar terminology (“The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people”). All three of these instances unambiguously refer to individual rights, not “collective” rights, or rights that may be exercised only through participation in some corporate body.

          Three provisions of the Constitution refer to “the people” in a context other than “rights”—the famous preamble (“We the people”), §2 of Article I (providing that “the people” will choose members of the House), and the Tenth Amendment (providing that those powers not given the Federal Government remain with “the States” or “the people”). Those provisions arguably refer to “the people” acting collectively—but they deal with the exercise or reservation of powers, not rights. Nowhere else in the Constitution does a “right” attributed to “the people” refer to anything other than an individual right.”

    American Jews (I am one) live in a bubble. We are safe, clean, well-fed, and have too much time on our hands. We have not been exposed to the struggles of our ancestors, struggles for existence. America is a great country, with a culture of freedom never seen before in history.

    Yes, some mentally unstable people have gone off the deep end and killed innocents, using guns. We might be able to tweak the gun control laws some, without diminishing the rights of a free people, but we’d better be careful not to go too far. Otherwise, we risk driving a safe and healthy behavior underground. That will create a problem bigger than we have now with unstable people once in a while acting out with firearms.

    Also, Israelis are fighting for their existence, right now, as we Americans enjoy our leisure lives. They know that to give up their guns is to surrender their future. We don’t understand that in America-the-spoiled.

      Uri Russak says:

      You obviously do not know much about Israel. We do have an extremely strict gun control law. They are strictly enforced. You cannot, though, include members of the armed forces include into that. Reserve soldiers get their arms when on reserve duty and give them back, when it is over. The the excessive preoccupation with having to possess arms, as it is apparently the case in the USA, is very foreign in other free western countries. Even in Switzerland, where I was born, Soldiers take their arms home, but are not allowed to own ammunition, as this is considered dangerous. Now many of these Swiss reserve soldiers have begun to refuse even to take the their rifles home.

      Out of fairness to the American people it should be stated, however, that Europa has its own mass murders – it is not, as some people seem to believe, an American speciallity. Thinks of the 80 kids murdered in Norway by a right wing Nazi sympathizer.

        You misunderstand my comment.  It is a matter of culture.  Israelis have a different attitude, or differing attitude, regarding guns.  It’s not the wild west, but it is accepted that guns are for protection, and must not be banned.  A very strong stream of American culture is trying to stop gun ownership, outright, and has no connection to self-preservation, self-defense.  I was trying to demonstrate the need to move slowly in changing the rules of gun ownership, since the times will affect the culture.

          foonman64 says:

          Name one credible person who’s called for an outright ban on gun ownership. This is sheer paranoia, bought and paid for by the Gun Lobby.

          Is sheer paranoia different from any other kind?[just kidding]We need a calm, dispassionate discussion regarding gun ownership.  It can happen, but only after the emotions have dissipated.  From both sides. My hunch is that gun laws are adequate, but are not adequately enforced.  It’s just my opinion, but I think we need to start with the existing laws, and work from there. Just like I don’t think gun confiscation (a radical view) is the solution, I don’t think locking up all the mentally unstable is an answer, either. Somewhere in the middle lies a workable, practical solution to this problem. And, let’s get the politics out of this discussion.  Just sayin’

        HannaH43 says:

        in this matter. I really do not care what Israel’s laws are. The United States is the oldes Democratic Republic in the world. our Constitution states you have a right to bear arms. Because an insane person does something is sad. But it does not change the Constitution and its benefit

          Amen Hanna. Israel would have the second Amendment, but it has a unique situation with Muslims trying to kill Jews. All Jews serving in the military is the closest Israel could come. If in America there were a creed of people that wanted to kill the majority it would have to end the second Amendment for that portion of the population as well. Many would object, but there would be no choice.

          As someone pointed out, the nazis had their own private army of armed citizens. Didn’t work out so well for Jews, did it?

          PhillipNagle says:

          No! They had a state sanctioned army that was able to bully an unarmed population.

          Nope. The Sturmabteilung was a private nazi army.

          Susanne says:

          Technically, the SS was a bunch of mercenaries, but they were integrated in the regular army later.

          davids64 says:

          Wait a minute there, Noah. Are you saying that Israel WOULD HAVE a second amendment except for the fact that they don’t want to permit Muslims to own guns within Israel?

          As a Jew, I must say that I find such a suggestion grossly offensive. YOU might hate and distrust all Muslims, and determine that fundamental human rights can arbitrarily be revoked if you happen to be a member of a particular group. But there is NOTHING moral about that opinion, make no mistake about it.

          In fact, I would guess that that is precisely the sort of argument made by the Nazis when pushing for the law prohibiting Jews from owning weapons in 1938! They claimed that all Jews were dangerous, and therefore should be disarmed! How’d that work out? Would you have ISRAEL as the next Nazi Germany? With the Muslims as the next Jews?

          Peter_Akuleyev says:

          Ironically that describes Nazi policy in a nutshell. Hitler believed the Jews wanted to destroy Germany, so he took the guns away from the Jews and armed and militarised the goyim majority.

          How, exactly, is a policy that enables mass slaughter of children a ‘benefit’? Just wondering.

    Oh this is precious nonsense. No armed population can hold out against a well armed and trained army. If guns aren’t the problem then it’s just a miracle the most heavily armed nation on earth has the highest murder rate in the western world.

    Yeah you’re listening alright…to the voices in your head. You’re another reason guns don’t belong in society

      PhillipNagle says:

      The Afghans are doing a good job as they did against the Russians and British.

        Nope. They’re hiding in Pakistan. If they were fighting against the US army without the redoubt, they’d be getting killed.

        ZPT205 says:

        Are you kidding? They’re taking far more casualties than coalition forces are. The only reason they’re continuing to fight is because they know the US public has a low casualty tolerance. Dictatorships don’t have that problem.

        Susanne says:

        You cannot compare an occupied people fighting against relatively small bunch of occupiers with a ethnic minority driven out by the majority. Ask the Apache.

    You’re full of it. Simple as that. If you know anything about Weimar Germany, the parallels are non-existent.

    L C, you are correct. Guns are also a form of self-protection. Slaves do not own guns or weapons – only a free people own a weapon or gun. During the medieval time when Jews were not allowed to own or carry weapon they were all too far frequent victims of attacks by others – how quickly people forget the pogroms and slaughter in Europe. Once guns are outlawed will they also want to outlaw my big dogs out of fear someone somewhere may fear that they may get hurt? After all I have wolf-hybrids – yup my dogs (I have more than one) are part Arctic Wolf and yet my family also has four cats that my children play with. Will they also be confiscated due to the fact they once killed a rabbit in my backyard? What else will get taken from me? Once my freedom is gone it will never be returned. Which would I rather have – A gun and my wolf hybrids or a cell phone when a burglar(s) comes into my house? Should I do nothing and agree to be tied up while a burglar with an illegal gun or knife as he/they rape my wife and devastate my family and wait until the for the police arrive or would I rather have my wolf’s teeth on them while I shoot them dead? In Nazi occupied Europe first they took the guns, and then they said get into the trains! No thanks I rather not surrender my freedom to anyone! How hard was it to get alcohol during prohibition or today how difficult is it to bet illegal drugs? The laws will only disarm honest law abiding people making them an easier target for the criminal element. Chicago has some of the strictest gun laws as does Washington D.C. – how is that working out? So far 500 murders in Chicago. Here in Montana almost everyone has a gun, – there is very little crime and you hardly ever hear or read of a murder. When I go to sleep at night I know my wolf-hybrids are protecting my family, When I am away from my wife and children my wolf-hybrids are also there to protect them. My wife and children know how to use guns too. There is very little chance my house will be broken into. I would wonder who will get to the criminal first a bullet or one of my wolf’s teeth? I know a criminal won’t be walking out!

PhillipNagle says:

The author of this article settled nothing. Clearly the Germans disarmed the Jews before killing them.. It Cetertainly would have been much more dangerous and costly (perhaps prohibitively so) to try to commit genocide against an armed people.

    How’d that work out for the Poles?

      PhillipNagle says:

      The “armed rebellion” did not take place until the Poles thought they were about to be liberated by the Russians, who stood by to watch the Poles being slaughtered. The same strategy worked for the French because they were not being stabbed in the back by their allies. If the Russians had advanced, which they were certainly able to do, the Polish uprising would have worked.

        So the Poles went up against the Germans and got massacred

        Yeah. Thanks. I already knew that. So much for an ‘armed populace’.

          Were the Poles armed with equal weapons and did they know how to use them? Many armed folks in the US have been in the army or hunt. Now I don’t expect that they could beat our army, but they would make it very costly for anybody who wanted to take over our country or groups to take our freedoms.

          Susanne says:

          In any case, the Poles were not subject to German gun control laws.

          Tom Bosworth says:

          Alex Lester: Exactly. The original argument above seems to amount to: “The Jews were not well armed, therefor they were ineffective at resisting the Nazis. They were ineffective at resisting the Nazis, therefor there is no reason to be well armed.”

          In 1913, what sane German would have claimed that within the remaining lifetime of a middle-aged person the German government would build extermination factories and use them to murder millions?

          The time to resist is not after you have smugly eliminated all of your children’s options. It is time to resist when the smug try to eliminate your options, and all of your children’s options, and your grandchildren’s. The intent of those eliminating options for resistance is irrelevant. Their intentions can be the very best, the most benign possible. All that matters in the future is the effect.

          All of this debate is over sad circumstances, but the numbers pale beside what unleashed governments can do. Look at the FBI homicide data for 2011. All homicide deaths by rifle (All, not just “assault rifles”): 323.


          How does one say “It cannot happen here” in German? In Polish? In Chinese? In Khmer? Who are we to say it cannot happen here? Cannot? “This is America” is not a magical incantation.

    Susanne says:

    Then again, we always hear that gun control does not work because people buy guns anyway, if they really need them.

It should also be noted that most of the six million Jews murdered by the Third Reich did not reside within Germany at the outbreak of WWII, most were citizens of countries that fell under German occupation, and, in general, Jews had served in the militaries or police of these countries where they would have had access to weapons and otherwise have the same rights to possess firearms as any other citizen– still, France, Poland, and other countries fell to the military might of the Third Reich, despite having standing armies.

    Susanne says:

    That is true. In addition, German Jews had the biggest chances to get out, as opposed to Polish Jews.

Perhaps if African-Americans had possessed arms after the Civil War, their social emancipation would been speedier! However, in practice, Martin Luther King, Jr. didn’t think so . . . he emphasized the opposite; peaceful resistance. I resent and object to the simpletons who propose the idea that owning automatic weaponry will preserve our freedom or save in the event of a mass shooting. This line of thinking only shows how dangerously co-opted some of the public already are. i have seen the idea addressed in this article repeated over and over on the internet. I resent entirely that the sacred dead of the Shoah are being used in such a low argument with such facility.

    new records show that MLK was organizing a militia. not saying I blame him, but that is what has come out. he also was according to Jackie O tapes acting as pimp for his soldiers

    and I resent that you think people that don’t agree with you are “simpletons”; but then again, you are a liberal , so by definition you are right. and the sacred dead are not being used. pretty foolish statement.

    Nylund says:

    On the other hand, Malcom X was all about guns. That’s, in part, what inspired the Black Panthers to follow the police around openly carrying loaded firearms. California Governor Ronald Reagan thought there was no reason any citizen should ever need to walk around with a loaded weapon though, so he signed the Mulford Act, making that illegal in California. The Black Panthers did their best to protest the Mulford Act by showing up at the California Statehouse carrying loaded .357’s, .45’s, and 12-gauge shotguns, but that didn’t stop Ronald Reagan from denying them what they considered to be a clear constitutional right to openly bear arms in public.

    Given the politics of today, especially in the era of Fox News, it’s sort of funny to think that many conservatives are basically saying that, on an issue like the Mulford Act, the Black Panthers were right and Ronald Reagan was wrong.

      socialismisevil says:

      proving that the conservatives so believe in their ways that they dont fear the truth

      whereas the liberals use political correctness to shut down all sorts of debate

      not to mention their attacks on conservative speakers at college campus etc

      Im a conservative and I think Ronald Reagan was wrong on this point. The Black Panthers should have been allowed exercise their 2nd Amendment rights.

    Susanne says:

    Sure, and if the Sioux had possessed arms, they would have kicked out the U.S. Army … oh, wait!

    “co-opted” that is a term from the radical left of the late ’60’s and early ’70’s. Only folks that use that term. Just saying.

ronpies says:

This is a valuable article, but I’m surprised it doesn’t take note of the work of attorney and scholar, Joshua Horwitz, co-author of, Guns, Democracy, and the Insurrectionist Idea
(University of Michigan Press, 2009).

For more, see:

Mr. Horwitz notes that,

“The comparison of contemporary Americans to the Nazis is not valid.
The experience in Germany before World War II, far from providing
validation to the insurrectionist argument, instead shows the danger
of allowing political violence to influence the political process.
Before Hitler’s appointment as Chancellor, the Nazi party had a larger
body of men under arms than the German military itself, and frequently
used violence to intimidate and kill its political opponents. The Weimar
Republic taught us that if a government cannot maintain its monopoly on
the use of force, then individual rights can be neither protected
nor vindicated. The claim that governments with strong restrictions on firearms
put citizens at risk for government genocide is entirely without
basis. Dictators and strongmen kill their citizens. Democracies
do not—regardless of their gun laws…. Well-developed democracies
remain the most effective means of preventing public and private violence.”

Ronald Pies MD

    Kaka DeVaka says:

    Great article, especially “Well-developed democracies
    remain the most effective means of preventing public and private violence.” The 2nd amendment is there in case someone above changes their mind…

      socialismisevil says:

      I took the “well developed” statement as another excuse

      as I noted above to another poster

      “if” it takes a “well developed” ( progressive???) society to be so enlightened as to not fear a thug on the street or a thug in the Weimar/Congress

      then we are not speaking of humans

      humans are not robots

      sure, many march in lock ( goose) steps to their mastas ( be it conservatives or leftists) but for the other 80% they want to be left alone by both groups

      I say it takes an honest society to realize the above and not allow either side to take over

      and mere talk wont stop them

    Peter_Akuleyev says:

    Exactly right. In fact the Weimar Republic, under right wing pressure, liberalized gun laws in 1928. Obviously the end result was not an increase in civil liberties in Germany.

      ronpies says:

      Thanks, Peter…good point. And to all readers, please, please read Nick Kristof’s superb op-ed, answering critics of gun control, in today’s (12/20) NY Times!

      Regards, Ron Pies

      socialismisevil says:

      liberal or conservative

      it wont matter at the moment the weapons are taken from you

    socialismisevil says:

    “well developed”

    that is another deceptive way of stating the usual leftist approach to another one of their failed acts

    they always say things like that ie

    if we just get more money to DC those kids will do better

    and if we just use more regulations everyone will behave etc etc

    the truth is

    power seekers are a danger to a free society

    the more “moderate” of them will respect and/or fear gun ownership by the people

    the more radical of them will not respect them but do in fact fear them and then either take the weapons away ( think Katrina) of use crisis to justify the take away

1. To make an equivalency between Nazi Europe and the US is a chilul ha-Shem, a desecration of the memories of the 6 million and an insult to the US.

2. As someone wiser than I said, “If you hear people talking about preventing massacres and think that means people are coming for your guns, you’re why people are scared.”

    ronpies says:

    Thank you, Cantor Kessler–It is a shame that the gun lobby uses fear and paranoia to create the obscene killing field that the U.S. has become.

    Please, readers, see the two editorials in today’s NY Times:

    Editorial: Personal Guns and the Second Amendment

    Editorial: In Other Countries, Laws Are Strict and Work

    Ronald Pies MD

      Of course it is the NYT. Now we are not other countries, they don’t have a constitution that allows people to have guns. Gun control by whatever name will not be effective, first because we have many guns in our society and the owners are not (generally) giving them up, second the mass murders will find a way especially if they are smart. So if your idea is to prevent mass murders you would be best to start by enforcing and improving the current law.

        ronpies says:

        Mr. Lester, gun control is only part of the answer to the violence we see across the U.S., but it is nevertheless, an important part. That said, with the more than 200 million guns in circulation, nobody believes that there is any quick solution through new gun legislation. We might hope for progress over a period of perhaps 10-30 years. Nonetheless, the example of Australia–an advanced, democratic, industrialized country, not very different from the U.S.–is very instructive.

        To being with, countries with less stringent gun control laws have been observed to have a higher risk of mass murder than countries with stricter laws. One Australian observational study (Chapman et al) compared mass murders before and after 1996, the year of a widely publicized mass murder in Tasmania. Australia quickly enacted gun law reforms that included removing semiautomatic, pump-action shotguns and rifles from civilian possession. In the 18 years before the gun laws, the Australian authors reported 13 mass shootings. In the 10.5 years after the gun law reforms, there were none.

        Indeed, the authors of the Australian study concluded that “Removing large numbers of rapid-firing firearms from civilians may be an effective way of reducing mass shootings, firearm homicides and firearm suicides.” Contrary to a popular notion that says, “If you remove dangerous firearms, people will just find other ways of killing themselves or others”—the so-called “substitution” hypothesis—these
        authors found “…no evidence of substitution effect for suicides or homicides.” This finding severely undermines claims by some in the gun lobby community.

        It is crucial to note that the Australian firearms regulations were nationally applied and enforced. A piecemeal approach to firearms regulation that affects only some cities or states cannot be expected to produce a robust effect on gun-homicides or mass shootings. For example, the recent spike in gun homicides in Chicago, IL–which mandates strict regulation of firearms–does not prove that firearms regulations are bound to fail. Chicago’s tough firearms
        statutes are seriously undermined by guns brought in from suburban areas; guns from neighboring states with less stringent regulations; and by “…a well-funded gun lobby and an underfunded federal enforcement effort” (16) that impedes crackdowns on Cook County gun dealers who sell to “straw buyers”– people without criminal records who buy guns for felons.

        In addition to reasonable regulations on firearms, we must also look to more societal remedies, such as identifying adolescents at risk for
        violence; reducing school bullying; improving access to mental health services (including, in some cases, “outpatient commitment”), etc.

        Ronald Pies MD


        Chapman S, Alpers P, Agho K, et al: Australia’s 1996 gun law reforms:
        faster falls in firearm deaths, firearm suicides, and a decade without mass
        shootings. Injury Prev 12:365–72, 2006

        Chicago gangs don’t have to go far to buy guns. Chicago Sun-Times. Aug 26, 2012. (

        Call for More Effective Prevention of Violence. Interdisciplinary Group on Preventing School and Community
        Violence Accessed 12/20/12:

    no one is making any such “equivalency” By saying that, and declaring a “desecration” you are switching the transaction.

    julis123 says:

    I beg to differ–America committed genocide on the native americans, enslaved Africans, attacked Vietnam, Panama, Iraq, Afghanistan and is currently killing innocent civilians with drones. What’s to keep America from turning on the Jews?

      And how many people would be killed if the US army decided to get nasty? You think that, if they DID, they wouldn’t re-enact Lidice rather than being restrained by rules of engagement?

      Susanne says:

      So, if the Native Americans had not bowed to gun control laws, they would still be alive?

yes, but imagine if six million Jews had guns, not a few Jews. Also this article fails to mention that the gun control laws were meant to keep the Nazis and Communists out of power…
and history is what happened.

    Susanne says:

    Most of the six million Jews were Polish and Russian, and quite a few were members of the Red Army. The Holocaust happened during WWII, do you thing there were any men at all that were not drafted or partisans?

With respect, your views are quite different from mine, and any assault on a school by someone who had to be mentally deranged (it would seem to be the event itself and the massacre would be prima facie evidence of his mental illness) should not prompt a comparison of American Gun Control laws and Hitler, Pol Pot, Joseph Stalin, and others’ stripping their citizens of the ability to protect themselves from their own government gone wild. I agree on this point it has not a a darned thing to do with the current state of affairs in American Gun Control laws.

If the current set of laws had been enforced, I doubt that the shooter would have been stopped. If the man’s mother (who had to know he was a can or two short of a six pack mentally) hadn’t taken him shooting and allowed him access to her weapons, perhaps it might have been more difficult. It might have been stopped.

Application of a little common sense by parents in teaching their children safety survival skills, and a way to earn a living might prevent a LOT of violence. Since you’re not Jewish, I thought I’d slip that one in. Under the Torah, we Jews are required to teach our children survival skills, a way to make a living, and The Law – Torah.

Applying THAT would stop a lot of violence And yes, I do have great trepidation about the US Government stripping it’s citizenry of weapons to defend themselves, Mostly because those who are law abiding would be as sheep to the wolves that are either criminals or our government gone wild. How many trillion dollars are we in debt before we realize our government has gone as crazy (at least financially) as the shooter in Newtown?

Heard of the UN move to strip small arms from citizens and Secretary Clinton trying to make the US a signatory to that treaty, which is in direct conflict with our Constitution? THAT’S a gun grab on a national level comparable to the Nazis move in Germany.


John Mood
Member, Beth Shalom Synagogue
Columbia SC

    We already are heavily armed and have the highest murder rate in the western world. So your thesis is fatally flawed.

    And, no, your tin foil paranoia about the UN is false. I’m 58 and remember hearing about that ‘treaty’ 40 years ago. If you’re going to accuse this administration of being nazis, at least have the good taste to tighten your bib. Your drooling is embarrassing.

      I don’t have tinfoil paranoia, and flinging pseudo-psychiatric terms around in print may get your sued for libel.

      I’m 56 and I’ve been reading in reliable sources that Mrs. Clinton is pushing for a citizen disarmament treaty ratification by the US via the UN. (Patently un-Constitutional)

      And your rhetoric is way less interesting than having an actual discussion.

      Observe: The three cities in the US with the tightest control over guns and their citizens are New York, Detroit, and Chicago. You COULD look it up, but I did already.

      The three highest murder rate with handguns happens to be in those three cities. Someone forgot to tell the criminals to turn in their guns. Detroit used to have the nickname among cops as “Murder City, USA”.

      And I didn’t compare the US with Nazi Germany, Quite on the contrary, I said and I quote “I agree on this point it [referring to the Nazi arguments] has not a a darned thing to do with the current state of affairs in American Gun Control laws.

      I’m also Jewish, and a retired police officer. Ever had a ‘legal’ gun shoved in your face? I have, and it’s no darned fun either! Ever confiscated illegal weapons? I have, and quite a many.

      I espouse stricter enforcement of current gun laws and laws holding persons who allow access to guns of any type to children, the mentally ill, and felons, be re-written to allow for prosecution of those tho are irresponsible with their guns. Mrs. Lanza was, and she and 26 other people paid the ultimate price. She, for some stupid reason made it known to her son she was going to commit him for mental illness And she didn’t lock up her guns and ammunition? One definition of insanity.

        Hey, go ahead sue. The wife’s a lawyer and she’d enjoy taking your money. Unfortunately ‘tin foil hat’ is not a psychiatric term, rather, it’s term of derision for people like you who are unable to argue without seeing monsters under every bed.

        You might not know, but 10 of the 10 most violent states are in the south. TX among them. And you failed to answer the note about the US having the highest murder rate in the western world. Doesn’t do much for your view, which is why you ignore it.

        If we didn’t HAVE 300 E 6 guns we wouldn’t have people shoving guns in each others’ faces.

          A: You need to learn to read. I didn’t say I’d sue. You get your exercise jumping to conclusions. I also said pseudo- (look it up, I don;’t have time to educate uneducated liberals who cannot read). I DIDN’T say I was suing anyone.

          B: Your logic is as twisted as your apparent public school education, which appears to have stopped at the seventh grade.

          And the reason that Texas has such high gun death rate (I’m NOT referring to the murder rate), to quote Ron White,’ In Texas, if you kill one of us, we kill you back.”.

          C: I spent 14 years working the streets in a Southern city and your opinions, well, are much like the “backsides” everyone has, they (your opinions) stink too.

          You addressed NONE of the facts I made note of, and you attacked me as ignorant when in fact you didn’t even read what I said accurately. Yes we have a high murder rate in the US. We also have a high rate of persons defending themselves and succeeding in defeating their attackers. Those deaths should not be counted as murders, as they are legally “justifiable homicide”, and that’s territory I know pretty well. Subtract self defense justifiable homicides, and your numbers don’t look so bad.

          Your ignorance of the real world appalls me. If you think (and I’m guessing here) it’s all like you see on TV, as on CSI or NCIS, you’re very sadly mistaken. I doubt you know anything about real world law enforcement, and your wife’s law practice may be in tax law…

          I spent 14 years confiscating guns, having guns shoved in my face, and arresting drug runners with automatic weapons.

          How are you going to feel when the only weapon you can legally buy is a six gun dating back to the era of Wyatt Earp, and the criminals are out there with Mac-10’s, Desert Eagle .50 calibers,, and 16 round 9 MM handguns IF you hear a burglar, your average wait time in a really good city (response time may vary) May be 10 to 15 minutes – maybe 5 if you’re lucky. The difference between you being found a dead victim, and you being found standing over the body of the attacker who tried to invade your home and kill you or one of your family members. It will seem like an ETERNAL 5 minutes, And if you’re carrying a six gun, you’ll be ETERNALLY dead..

          Subtract the justifiable shootings from the so called ‘murder rate’ you talk about, and we compare with a lot of countries. Mexico well, I wouldn’t vacation there. You stand 10 times the chance of being murdered or kidnapped there than anywhere on the planet. Mexico WAY outstrips us in the murder with guns department..

          My “view” I’ve seen from up close and personal, you see it on the evening news, and on tv dramas. (Trust the media, right…)

          And where the heck did you get your numbers on 300 E 6 guns, and what the hell is an E 6 gun?

          And for the record, I never had to shoot anyone, though I held a gun on quite a large number of criminals. None got stupid. I had to retire due to on the job injuries and deafness from motorcycle duty.

          Now, the mentally ill community is luring policemen and firemen to their deaths and then killing themselves. I refer to a shooting (quoting Reuters News Service: NEW YORK (Reuters) – A gunman who spent 17 years in prison for murder ambushed and killed two volunteer firefighters and wounded two others on Monday near Rochester, New York, as they responded to a house fire he deliberately set, police said.” Dateline 12/124/2012. The same thing happened to two female “Bobbies” in England in the last six months, and THEY were not only unarmed, but had no ballistic armor to protect themselves.

          Wake up and read not only what’s written but what’s between the lines. You seem only to want to see your own point of view, but you refuse adamantly to even consider someone else’s, even when that person may have practical experience in what he or she is talking about.

    davids64 says:

    Your comment about the “UN move to strip small arms from citizens” is a myth. Oh, a POPULAR myth, to be sure, mentioned on a daily basis by FauxNews during the campaign. But false.

    My recommendation is that you should edify yourself PRIOR to spewing your ignorant opinions on message boards like this one. Jews, you see, value education above all things. Is there anything less Jewish than spewing objective falsehoods at a gullible public?

      Your use of “FauxNews” has given you up dixvillenotchka/davids64 . Do you follow me around or am I just a new hobby for you?

      Go and read the : UN info on disarmament and then spew your rhetoric again,.

      Calling others ignorant is INSULTING and soon enough the moderators will remove you here too. Is there anything more offensive than one Jew calling another NOT a Jew because they disagree? “and using ‘objective falsehoods” seems as though you’re trying to appear more educated than you really are. If you disagree disagree, That, I would respect. But using personal attacks to bolster an argument you have no real information on is very childlike.

      No need for rhetoric and name calling. It’s petulant and childish. People who do that aren’t;’t taken seriously. I’m certainly not taking you seriously.l believe you may be a Jew, but you’re not a good example of one. Please, if you disagree, put out your arguments as to why , don’t attack me personally. If you wish to wage a discussion, do so, but if you choose to attack me with your rhetoric, don’t’ bother responding to my posts again, Foxtrot Uniform Alpha to you.

ajweberman says:

All praise to Allah that not many people read this shit. This is a fucking friend of the Jews. You asshole if the Jews had weapons they could have fought back against the Nazis. They were demoralized. They could have improvised weapons but they were unaware of this technology. When the Nazis came to take someone away and were met by gunfire the “pricetag” would have increased. Look at the Warsaw Ghetto. This is not Nazi America but a Nazi was a contender for the Presidency. Ron Paul. And a Nazi was president, Herbert Hoover. Hoover opposed lend lease, was part of America First, met with Hitler and would have made a deal with the Nazis to turn over American Jews in return for a degree of autonomy. So drop dead Moynihan, Colin or Senator you are not.

    The French army was as well equipped and trained as the German army. And MUCH more heavily armed than the Jews. How’d that work out for the French? How about the Poles?

      ajweberman says:

      Dare to struggle dare to win

        Then let us discuss rational strategies, not suicidal ones

          ajweberman says:

          Look, back then no one knew what the Nazis were really about except Zev Jabotinsky. No one believe they were capable of this sort of mass murder. Now we know Nazism is a criminal conspiracy to commit mass murder. You ever hear of revolutionary suicide? Even though you know you are probably going to loose you fight anyway. Case in point Che Guevara. All power to the good shooters, as the Black Panthers once said.

    Peter_Akuleyev says:

    98% of the German population had easy access to guns in 1938, and were in fact encouraged by the Government to own and use firearms. German Jews were not morons – instead of fighting a suicidal battle most of them tried to leave Germany. If Nazi Germany demonstrates anything it’s that arming ethnic majorities tends to undermine democracy and encourage mob violence against despised outsiders. American Jews who support the NRA are basically suicidal.

      ajweberman says:

      But they could not leave Germany. So what was left? To be marched off to their death or fight back? You are a coward and a defeatist. Bet you never popped off a couple of rounds in your life.

        Peter_Akuleyev says:

        Ridiculous character assassination? That’s your argument? Jews could leave Germany, and the majority of them did before 1939. Learn history before spewing your ignorance. Learn the difference between “Poland” and “Germany” – that might be a good place for you to start.

          ajweberman says:

          The majority did not leave before 1941. You are a liar. September 1941 – Jews forbidden to leave Germany and German controlled territory and ordered to wear a yellow Star of David. October – first deportations from Berlin and other German cities to ‘the East’. In practice, this meant that they were taken to ‘killing fields’ in Latvia and Belarus. Some were dumped in ghettos in Poland.

          ajweberman says:

          After 1941 they could not leave. 200,000 German Jews were murdered by the Nazis. That is a small army. Had they armed themselves and fought back at least they might have taken some of these scum with them and made the war effort more difficult for Hitler punk

    davids64 says:

    You lost me at “asshole”. If you cannot discuss your opinions with civility, than nobody should pay attention to you.

Regarding this article and all those who cite the 2nd Amendment as a pretext for owning modern guns, I have to say that the era of a small militia holding off the US Army, or the Wehrmacht for any period of time is patently ridiculous. Even heavily armed American citizens could never defeat a single platoon equipped with modern weapons. One drone could end the affair, one bombing run, one tank attack. The 2nd Amendment must be changed to reflect these realities. If you want to shoot automatic weapons, joined the military. If you want to hunt, you don’t require an automatic weapon. If you want to protect your family, get a dog.

    mark grable says:

    With respect for the portion of truth to the core of your thought, perhaps a few words could be changed. “Patently ridiculous” to “extremely difficult”; “never” to “only with luck and gumption”. The pen is mightier than the sword, true, but why exclude any weapon or tactic to defend your existence? Reducing violence in the world, in America, in my community, is my goal because violence begets violence. How to do this is clear in theory but difficult in practice. Reduce every kind of inequality, to any extent, and you reduce violence. Still, to continue to exist is primary. The purpose of the 10 amendments in the bill of rights was not to insure the flourishing of the economic interests of the propertied class, which were well provided for in the structure of the government, but they were the price paid by the rich to the poor farmers, the “small militia” for doing the Sacrifices involved in holding off the heavily armed Kings army of occupation. This is not the whole story. Still, eventually they left us to govern ourselves. … I own guns, and I know how and how not to use them. I know what they can do, and what they can’t. There are people in my community I do not trust, for various reasons, and am glad they don’t have guns. I’m sure the same thing applies in Switzerland and Israel. Some people should be restricted from driving cars, or owning guns, until they can be trusted by their peers. People who do have guns have to keep them safe, have a lockable steel box. Their peers need to know about the box.

    Guns have emotional weight because the entertainment industry makes so much money stimulating people’s emotions with violence. If you were reared in rural America, guns are not an unknown, and not so emotionally laden. That’s why the kids killed in automobiles are not so mourned, not to mention the adults, about 40,000 people a year. Well, cars and drivers are registered, so we cant get that number down by passing laws, and we won’t give up our cars, so we are just going to live with that number? That’s 10,000 kids, assuming they are one quarter the population. It’s not that I wouldn’t give up my car, it’s just that no one is asking me to do that. Then too, most people never kill anyone with their car, only a few. I’m pretty careful with it. You could trust me with any thing in America’s arsenal, and you have in the past. Unstable people are who we need to be aware of, help, care of, care for, with personal time, tax money, professionals, community time, with tolerance if not compassion.

    The causes of these tragedies are the neglect of and really the exploitation of the weak and unstable. That my friend is the root cause- the deficit of human caring. When we all address that, these things will cease to happen.

Wasn’t Kristalnacht a nazi response to the killing of a German diplomat in Paris by a Jew who wished to make an example of a nazi? The idea that, if you kill one of your well armed genocidal opponent’s henchmen, this will liberate you, seems to be a mainstay of many of those arguing for liberal gun control

    PhillipNagle says:

    No! This is almost an excuse for the Nazis by an appologist. The Nazis had been building up to Kristalnacht for a long time, made possible by disarming the Jews who depended on the government for protection. You are disgusting.

      davids64 says:

      Phillip: The only thing disgusting here is you. Mr. Puharic is asking a question. Now, he may be right and he may be wrong. But there is nothing “disgusting” about asking the question.

      If you have some historical source material on the subject, present it! Or, just post your opinions, as you wish. But if all you have is your desire to namecall people who disagree with you, then the best thing you can do is just shut up.

        davids64 says:

        And, incidentally, I find it very amusing that you would write that Krystalnacht was “made possible by disarming the Jews who depended on the government for protection”, when we just finished reading an article that suggests that this is a mere myth!

        PhillipNagle says:

        I answered the question “no”. I found the question disgusting similar to one saying a rape was caused by a woman’s clothing. People who defend that type of reasoning are disgusting.

          Nonsense. I never mentioned ’cause’. The nazis didn’t need an excuse to kill Jews. That’s one of the reasons they WERE nazis.

          The fact they would have used ANY excuse is merely an attempt to cut off debate by calling anyone who questions gun control by the use of historical examples ‘disgusting’. The fact the citizens of Lidice paid with their lives after the assassination of Heydrich is not a justification of the massacre, but it certainly calls into question the effectiveness of an armed populace.

          I’m owed an apology. If you were a gentlemen you wouldn’t need to be told this. The fact you won’t provide one simply confirms my assessment.

          PhillipNagle says:

          I see you dropped paranoid and delusional. Of course the citizens of Lidice who were innocent in the assassination of Heydrich were unarmed. Easy massacre, no price to pay.

          Sorry. You’re still paranoid and delusional. Feel better?

          And I guess you forgot to note that Heydrich was assassinated not by regular army soldiers, but by a couple of armed guys. Seems a well armed army has a pretty effective response to such acts, don’t they?

          PhillipNagle says:

          Fine. And you’re a Nazi appologist.

        PhillipNagle says:

        I answered the question “no”. I found the question disgusting similar to one saying a rape was caused by a woman’s clothing. People who defend that type of reasoning are disgusting.

        Exactly. Thank you. I am not an historian. I think he was seeking to cut off any debate about guns by linking gun control to anti-semitism.

      And, incidentally, I find it amusing that you would insist that Kristalnacht was “made possible by disarming the Jews who depended on the government for protection”, when we just finished reading an article that suggests that this is a mere myth.

      Bizarre. Totally bizarre. The nazis didn’t need an ‘excuse’ to kill Jews. Your reflexive paranoia is delusional and sick. You seek to cut off all debate by asserting some mythological effectiveness of guns when they do nothing but enable slaughter.

      You are nauseating.

        PhillipNagle says:

        Anyone who denies the inherent anti-Semitism of the Nazis and worse yet labels someone who points it out as “paranoid” , is in unquesionably a Nazi appologist and truly disgusting.

          Uh, what? Do you know how to read? You’re a thug so calling me a nazi apologist is merely an excuse to avoid thinking. And yes, my wife is Jewish. She doesn’t think much of your thuggish bullying either. So sorry, sport. You’re not having the desired effect

Bucky in Wisconsin says:

I have guns, many of them. I conceal carry, even on Shabbos. On Shabbos, at shul. Five of us do, every Shabbos we now have armed members, and we have a coordinated defensive plan in case of G-d forbid an attack. Can your shul say that? Can your Temple say that Cantor Kessler? Are you trying to make a cogent argument that this is NOT a good idea? Why not, other than your irrational discomfort with guns. Every Jew a .22 (actually larger caliber is preferred , like my 9mm hollow points, but you get the idea. )

But, I do fully agree with you that to compare the United States and its leaders in any way to the Nazis Yemach Shemom, is obscene and well beyond the pale of reasonable argument.

Am Yisrael Chai

Matunos says:

A citizenry armed enough to overthrow a tyrannical government is a citizenry armed enough to overthrow a democratic government.

    That’s the thing, this citizenry isn’t armed enough to overthrow anyone. Assault rifles wielded by weekend warriors vs. tanks and A-10s? The citizenry is just armed enough to cause infrequent havoc on innocent civilians.

      Matunos says:

      I’m with you on that. But my point is that, even if they did have the equipment capable of resisting or overthrowing the government, we have no more reason to trust unelected armed citizens in rebellion than we do to trust our elected government authorities. Personally, I trust them less.

      clazy8 says:

      Overthrow? When did that become the objective? It’s a straw man. The objective is to preserve democracy by ensuring that any movement in the direction of tyranny carries a cost. It’s the difference between taking the chunnel and swimming the channel.

    Susanne says:

    That is exactly what the Nazis did.

Robert Starkand says:

To not make a comparison to Hitler’s Germany is to treat Germany as an aberration rather than part of the human condition. Persia renamed itself Iran in 1938, Farsi for Aryan, and still does. “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” is a best seller in the Middle East. Chuck Hagel, the ex-senator who said that American support for Israel is due to the Jewish lobby intimidating everybody, is being mentioned as the Secretary of Defense. As for the anti-gun control issue, you can throw in Stalin and Mao into the mix as well. Napolitano does. There is nothing in this article that undermines Napolitano’s argument. There have been genocides throughout the 20th century and throughout history. One thing they all had in common was that the victims were all defenseless. Being armed is not an absolute guarantee of safety. We had a civil war where 500,000 Americans died, But it does increase your chances of protecting your freedom.

If Jews in Europe had even minimal firearms then it wouldn’t have bee cost free for the Germans to do what they did.

While America is not Nazi Germany, we now have search warrants prepared and approved by the same individual or organization. I own no guns but would not hesitate to purchase several if I thought that either individuals or organizations would attempt to remove my freedom. Better to kill several folks and then die than otherwise.

Yefim Feldman says:

The comparison is fare. Democracies can become dictatorships if not today may be
tomorrow. Rome was a democracy that became a dictatorship. Nothing is forever, we must always be vigilant. Any bureaucracy always tries to extend its power.

Guns are profoundly related to resistance. Moynihan does not get it. For one thing, the German Jews in 1% of the German population do not fight the 99% who are not. Second, many Jews would not fight, but many would, and resistance during Kristalnacht may have changed the outcome for the Germans all over Europe. Jewish resistance even earlier than Kristalnacht, formulated as an underground, may have changed the course of Jewish history.

Does anyone recognize Abba’s weapon in the photo? Is it a PPS submachine gun? Abba Kovner, z”l: poet, partisan, hero. Every Jew a .22!

One question that no one addresses, or at least for which no one seems to have objective information, is that of how many Jews had guns and weapons in the first place? The fact that a law was passed banning Jews from owning firearms doesn’t mean that they were armed to the teeth; only that the Nazis didn’t want them to have any weapons. No one has been able to cite anything showing large numbers of guns (or any guns at all, for that matter) being confiscated from Jews or being turned in by Jews. Europeans didn’t have the gun culture that possesses us in the US, which is why even the resistance had to scramble and cobble together the few arms they used against the Nazis. Assuming arguendo that few, if any, Jews in Europe owned guns, it would follow that the passage of these laws made virtually no difference in the outcome of the Holocaust.

Sylvia Mendel says:

Thanks Susan for such an articulate and succinct response to some idiotic and ignorant statements.

I agree that it is disrespectful to use the Holocaust in political debate over gun control in the US..However,In one single statement I must correct the author “But whatever gun legislation Congress is formulating in the aftermath of the barbarism in Newtown, there will be no Gestapo knocking on doors, rifling through attics and closets, requisitioning handguns” …During Katrina the military(not regular civilian police) were sent to homes all over New Orleans and surrounding parishes- many unaffected by the catastrophe and violently and forcefully removed weapons from licensed gun owners leaving them defenseless and at the mercy of armed robbers,murderers,thieves rapists and rogue cops.The only guns removed were from law abiding citizens same as any other legislation does.The criminals will always be armed.There are enough laws on the books it is people’s utter lack of respect for one another and disregard for human life that must somehow be dealt with.

Unfortunately,I believe if you raise a person tell them their entire existence is a chemical error or freak of nature,that there is no right and wrong, all is relative to what you want,and no reward or punishment for proper behavior….what can we expect? We have raised generations of people who care no more for human life than for the life of a fly swatted from a tabletop.

Miss P says:

Lots of valid points here. As a liberal, I like to think that I also have common sense. I support gun rights and the Second Amendment. I won’t repeat many of the great arguments, but want to add one thing. No, little handguns and rifles won’t defeat our military, but what they do is give pause to our leaders. The elite, the plutocracy fears the nut who snaps one day and comes looking for them, because they screwed another hard-working American out of their pension or their home.

We have become a plutocracy slowly without a big war, without military force, but the one thing that is keeping us all from becoming minimum wage slaves is the fact that we still have that tiny little bit of power. They all want us to be unarmed, knowing that they, with their privilege, with their money, they will have protection and firearms. They have stripped the middle class of their financial power, they are chipping away at our rights (Patriot Act, NDAA) and next they want our guns. To surrender our arms is to give away our last chance. There is no guarantee what will happen in the world in 10, 20 or 30 years. No, do not give up your guns.

brian R says:

Mel Gibson: wealthy, Right-wing Irish-American Catholic. Michael Moynihan: wealthy, Right-wing Irish- American Catholic. Draw your own conclusions.

brian R says:

Mel Gibson: wealthy, Right-wing Irish-American Catholic. Michael Moynihan: wealthy, Right-wing Irish- American Catholic. Draw your own conclusions.

RIChris says:

America isn’t Nazi Germany and as long as Americans have the 2nd Amendment, it never will be.

Robert Starkand says:

Articles like this insult the intelligence and just makes the reader feel cheated out of time.

ZPT205 says:

Good article, but the author leaves out some important background– no civilians could legally own guns under the Treaty of Versailles and the Nazis not only repealed the Wiemar Republic’s gun control laws, but encouraged armed (Aryan) citizenship. They were confident not only in their ability to withstand an armed populace, but to use it to their advantage.

Susanne says:

The huge majority of Jews who died in the Holocaust were not German Jews, but Jews mostly from Poland, but also Russia, the Ukraine, and Hungary. The number of German Jews killed was about 150,000 (there were only 600,000 German Jews to begin with). Eastern European Jews were not subject to domestic German gun laws, the same way the Vietcong was not subject to American gun laws. So this whole debate is a moot point.

Susanne says:

In addition, the Nazis came to power on exactly the same talking points than the American rightwing. They were advocating guns and freedom for “real Germans,” as to liberate them from the foreign dictated Versailles treaty and the Weimar Republic, which the Nazi propaganda depicted as being run by liberal Jews, meaning: Russian Bolsheviks. During the Nazi era, Germans were armed like never before and after. Joe Wurzelbacher would have joined then. What name is Wurzelbacher, anyway?

Jerry_Can says:

“But whatever gun legislation Congress is
formulating in the aftermath of the barbarism in Newtown, there will be
no Gestapo knocking on doors, rifling through attics and closets,
requisitioning handguns.”

I wouldn’t bet on it!

Supporters of US gun-control arguing that Nazi gun-control had little impact on the genocide? By implication, Nazi gun-control was not inherently wrong. Any other Nazi law you’d like to adopt as US law?

I, for one, would rather have died in Nazi Germany resisting with a gun in my hand than emaciated, naked, gassed in a shower.

Darrel Dinkens says:

No they should not be using the Holocaust since it is just another Zionist HOAX!

disqus_JGHGHPZBp5 says:

No Gestapo will come knocking because there is no Gestapo, period. It will be the TSA, police, possibly military and other alphabet organizations that come knocking. Putting your head in the sand merely makes it easier for them. Partisans will be needed again if this happens. Pray it doesn’t or they will prey on you.

A law review online ‘Of Holocausts and gun control’ has this paragraph towards the end:
“The claim of futility is of course well-taken if what one has in mind is a

showdown on Front Street between a man with a revolver and a crew with a tank.

But depicting the problem in this way trivializes an important point and is

seriously misleading. An armed citizenry is not an insuperable bar to genocide

any more than an armed policeman is an insuperable bar to crime or a strong

army an insuperable bar to aggression. The real question is whether a generally

armed citizenry is capable of raising the expected cost of genocide (or for

that matter ordinary crime) to a potential predator enough to make such

disasters less likely to occur than would otherwise be the case, or if the

disaster should befall, to make possible the escape of some victims and the

resistance of others.”

Jan Blacha says:

This Moynihan is a complete anti-gun adocate! Here is his give away–“An armed response could have made matters even
worse given that Jews made up only around 1 percent of the total German
population.” So, six million Jews killed and his comment would have made it worse! One needs to read the accounts of the both the Warsaw ghetto and uprising to see how these battles were fought against a well armed German army. They defended themselves with Molotov cocktails and pistols. Would we rather walked to the gas chamber all quiet and passive or be armed and fight for freedom! It can never happen in the US? Sure the SS and Gestapo may not knock on the doors but Obama will twist the laws with either Obama care taxing you more if you have weapons in your house, they may tax the ammo, or go after one type of gun at a time until all guns are banned without anyone noticing. The end result will be the same–no ablity to fight back.
Jan Blacha
Kraków, Poland
My parents were in the camps and remember you said it-history never repeats itself? That is why the founding fathers made this an amendment!

Jan Blacha says:

One more thing that my wife just mentioned–that no one can go back in history and predict what could have and could not have had happened if you had guns or not have had guns. But I want the ability to fight back rather than just watch myself be killed without a fight.

Jan Blacha says:

What happened to my two posts?

Weather3014 says:

Just saw this nonsense or I would have commented earlier. Of course the Nazi’s practiced gun control. They only allowed trusted individuals to have the guns like members of the Party and soldiers who wanted them at home. Hitler knew well that a disarmed population is easier to control. Here is one cite of his famous quote:

The advocates of gun control in this country like to think that there is no Gestapo and no chance of gun restriction that will infringe on minorities with targeted laws. That kind of hopeful thinking is not proof of anything but their optimism. This nonsense about whether or not Jews having guns would have changed the Holocaust is immaterial to whether or not depriving a segment of the population of guns was or was not gun control. Of course it was gun control. It controlled who could own guns. Period.

Lie Fatigue Sufferer says:

there will be no Gestapo knocking on doors, rifling through attics and closets

This was a lie as you typed it, as the Gestapo was bashing in (not knocking) doors in Boston and rifling through closets and pointing machine guns at the helpless citizens. All untermensch I guess.

America isn’t Nazi Germany. It’s worse, thanks to you.

freddy says:

what a bullshit article full of horseshit


Your comment may be no longer than 2,000 characters, approximately 400 words. HTML tags are not permitted, nor are more than two URLs per comment. We reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments.

Thank You!

Thank you for subscribing to the Tablet Magazine Daily Digest.
Please tell us about you.

Gun Control and the Holocaust

Gun-rights advocates cite Nazi laws in their defense of the Second Amendment. Is the comparison fair?