Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson said recently that the Holocaust could have been “greatly diminished” if people in Europe had access to guns.
“I think the likelihood of Hitler being able to accomplish his goals would have been greatly diminished if the people had been armed,” Carson told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer in an interview on Oct. 8. “I'm telling you there is a reason these dictatorial people take the guns first.”
Carson’s comments came in response to a question from Blitzer asking him to clarify a passage in Carson’s new book, “A More Perfect Union: What We the People Can Do to Reclaim Our Constitutional Liberties.”
In the book, the retired neurosurgeon writes, in part, that “through a combination of removing guns and disseminating propaganda, the Nazis were able to carry out their evil intentions with relatively little resistance.”
“But just clarify, if there had been no gun control laws in Europe at that time, would 6 million Jews have been slaughtered?” Blitzer asked.
Jonathan Greenblatt, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) National Director, quickly responded to Carson’s comments, saying in a statement that, “Ben Carson has a right to his views on gun control, but the notion that Hitler’s gun control policy contributed to the Holocaust is historically inaccurate.”
"The small number of personal firearms available to Germany’s Jews in 1938 could in no way have stopped the totalitarian power of the Nazi German state,” Greenblatt added.
Asked later to respond to Greenblatt’s assertion of historical inaccuracy, Carson told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, “That’s total foolishness.”
“I would be happy to discuss that in depth with anybody,” Carson told Stephanopoulos on "Good Morning America" on Oct. 9. “But it is well known that in many places where tyranny has taken over they first disarmed the people. There’s a reason they disarm people, they don’t just do it arbitrarily.”