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Did Hitler Really Support Gun Control? NRA Myth Debunked
One of the arguments used by pro-gun advocates is that Adolf Hitler supported gun control (so any form of gun control must be bad). This line has been used by everyone from the NRA to Alex Jones to Matt Drudge.
Alex Jones recently ranted to Piers Morgan: "Hitler took the guns, Stalin took the guns, Mao took the guns, Fidel Castro took the guns, Hugo Chávez took the guns, and I'm here to tell you, 1776 will commence again if you try to take our firearms!"
Matt Drudge published pictures of Hitler and Stalin on DrudgeReport.com with the caption: WHITE HOUSE THREATENS 'EXECUTIVE ORDERS' ON GUNS.
NRA Executive V.P. Wayne LaPierre once claimed in the NRA's Guns, Crime, and Freedom magazine: "In Germany, firearm registration helped lead to the holocaust, leaving citizens defenseless against tyranny and the wanton slaughter of a whole segment of its population."
Mother Jones reports that the "Hitler supported gun control" claim goes back to the "1980s, when opponents of a Chicago proposal to ban handguns invoked it in the largely Jewish suburb of Skokie by reminding village residents that the Nazis disarmed the Jews as a preliminary to sending them to the gas chambers.'"
So how true is this claim that Hitler was a gun control advocate? Mother Jones reports that gun laws actually loosened up in Germany after Hitler took power:
This argument is superficially true at best, as University of Chicago law professor Bernard Harcourt explained in a 2004 paper on Nazi Germany's impact on the American culture wars. As World War I drew to a close, the new Weimar Republic government banned nearly all private gun ownership to comply with the Treaty of Versailles and mandated that all guns and ammunition "be surrendered immediately."
The law was loosened in 1928, and gun permits were granted to citizens "of undoubted reliability" (in the law's words) but not "persons who are itinerant like Gypsies." In 1938, under Nazi rule, gun laws became significantly more relaxed. Rifle and shotgun possession were deregulated, and gun access for hunters, Nazi Party members, and government officials was expanded. The legal age to own a gun was lowered. Jews, however, were prohibited from owning firearms and other dangerous weapons.
Robert Spitzer, who chairs SUNY-Cortland's political science department, told Mother Jones that Hitler's gun policy "wasn't the defining moment that marked the beginning of the end for Jewish people in Germany. It was because they were persecuted, were deprived of all of their rights, and they were a minority group.'
Spitzer added: "The gun lobby has worked to throw a scare into gun owners in order to rally them to the side of the NRA."