Commentary

Republicans engage in Holocaust revisionism to justify their pro-gun platform

Man holding My Gun, My Country, handwritten cardboard sign, gun laws, second amendment rights, NRA, mass shootings, freedom, liberties,
Photo: Shutterstock

The Democratic-controlled Michigan state Senate recently passed a series of 11 gun-related measures. These included expanded background checks and safe storage laws for guns that can be accessed by minors.

In response, the Michigan state Republican Party posted a tweet comparing gun reform to the Holocaust. The tweet included a photo of wedding rings that had been removed from Holocaust victims with text overlay stating, “Before they collected all these wedding rings… they collected all the guns.”

The tweet then said, “#History has shown us that the first thing a government does when it wants total control over its people is to disarm them. President Reagan once stated, “if we lose #freedom here, there is nowhere else to escape to. This is the last stand on Earth.” #2A #GOP”

The chair of the Michigan Republican Party, Kristina Karamo, defended the tweet, saying people get “way too offended” and that the posts were not meant to instigate controversy. Rather, the purpose was to “point to history.” Unfortunately, they used their middle finger in pointing to false and revisionist history.

2016 Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson also seemed obsessed with stretching himself into a pretzel to fabricate links between gun-related conditions, the rise of Nazi Germany, and conditions in contemporary America.

In Carson’s 2015 book, A More Perfect Union: What We The People Can Do To Reclaim Our Constitutional Liberties, which he co-authored with his wife Candy, the couple misrepresents Nazi Germany’s weapons confiscation policies.

The Carsons argue that an armed citizenry is needed to protect the people against “tyrants” and “radicals.” They assert that our country must never impose restrictions on firearms since “our founders recognized that ‘we the People’ could represent a significant fighting force if necessary to repel an invasion by foreign forces. They also knew that an armed population would discourage government overreach.”

“The founders feared an overbearing central government might attempt to dominate the people and severely curtail their rights,” the Carsons write. “This, in fact, is the primary reason that the Second Amendment was included in the Bill of Rights.”

The Carsons anticipated that many people might charge that it is “ludicrous to imagine our federal government trying to seize unconstitutional power and dominate the people.” By referring to James Madison, the Carsons said the founder “could foresee a day in America when radicals might assume power and try to impose upon America a different system of government.”

They continued, “His hope was that the establishment of such a different way of life would be difficult in America, because American citizens, having the right to keep and bear arms, would rebel.”

And in this context, they referred to Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany, writing how “German citizens were disarmed by their government in the late 1930s, and by the mid-1940s Hitler’s regime had mercilessly slaughtered six million Jews and numerous others whom they considered inferior.”

“Only law-abiding citizens are affected by legislation imposing gun control,” the Carsons write. “The criminals don’t care what the law says, which is why they are criminals. Confiscating the guns of American citizens would violate the Constitution as well as rendering the citizenry vulnerable to criminals and tyrants.”

When being interviewed by Wolf Blitzer on CNN, Carson said that Jewish people under the Nazi regime might have prevented the Holocaust if they had been armed.

Blitzer asked Carson, “Just to clarify, if there had been no gun control laws in Europe at that time, would six million Jews have been slaughtered?” 

Carlson replied, “I think the likelihood of Hitler being able to accomplish his goals would have been greatly diminished if the people had been armed. I’m telling you that there is a reason that these dictatorial people take the guns first.”

According to the conservative website, Breitbart, Carson received a standing ovation from conservative crowd during a 2014 speech in which he said the current state of American government and institutions is “very much like Nazi Germany.”

“You had the government using its tools to intimidate the population. We now live in a society where people are afraid to say what they actually believe.”

He blamed the U.S.’s Nazi-like conditions on so-called political correctness and government intimidation by the left.

And in a September 2014 interview with J. D. Hayworth of Newsmax, Carson advised people to read Hitler’s manifesto, Mein Kampf (My Struggle) and also to read the works of Vladimir Lenin to draw their own parallels with President Obama and the United States.

Carson is completely misguided, as are other activists against gun regulations, regarding Hitler’s actual policies. University of Chicago law professor Bernard Harcourt investigated this myth in his article titled On Gun Registration, the NRA, Adolf Hitler, and Nazi Gun Laws: Exploding the Gun Culture Wars (A Call to Historians) published in the Fordham Law Review.

He discovered that the Weimar Republic, the German government immediately preceding Hitler’s, enacted tougher firearms restrictions than the Nazis. After its defeat in World War I, under the terms of the Treaty of Versailles, in 1919, the German legislature passed a law banning all private firearms, and the government confiscated guns already in circulation.

According to Harcourt, however, “The 1938 revisions [signed by Hitler] completely deregulated the acquisition and transfer of rifles and shotguns, as well as ammunition.”

Under this 1938 law, many additional categories of people, including Nazi party members, were excused from all gun ownership regulations, and the legal age to purchase firearms was lowered from 20 to 18.

Also, the length of time the permits were in effect increased from one to three years. Yes, the law did prohibit Jews and other oppressed groups from firearms ownership, but the vast majority of Germans were free to purchase weapons.

In the past, Carson all but blamed the victims of a tragic shooting for their own murders at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, which killed nine parishioners, and at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, which also killed nine.

Carson asserted that instead of merely succumbing to threats by shooters brandings firearms, people must stand up and aggressively confront shooters.

Referring to the shooting in Oregon, Carson said, “If everybody attacks that gunman, he’s not going to be able to kill everybody. But if you sit there and let him shoot you one by one, you’re all going to be dead. And, you know, maybe these are things that people don’t think about. It’s certainly something that I would be thinking about.”

The Michigan state Republican Party, Ben Carson, and so many other conspiratorial right-wing pro-gun rights advocates distort and revise history to conform to their political agendas. Holocaust revisionism is as cynical and vile as Holocaust denialism.

Young LGBTQ+ people fear homelessness if Uganda’s “Kill the Gays” bill is signed into law

Previous article

Library board stands up to transphobes & keeps LGBTQ+ books on the shelves

Next article