Rich Gardner | 01.19.2013
Okay, so we get this statement: "Experts Agree Gun Control Works! The Experts Hitler, Stalin, Castro, Qaddafi And More." How historically accurate is this?
Also, noted Civil Rights Movement veteran Representative John Lewis (D-GA) responds to Rush Limbaugh's question that "If a lot of African-Americans back in the '60s had guns and the legal right to use them for self-defense, you think they would have needed Selma?" Lewis' answer is that using guns was contrary to the purpose of the movement and would have accomplished nothing. The head of the Independent Women/s Forum, Gayle Trotter, testifies to women using guns to defend themselves. Slight problem, all of the guns used were traditional weapons with small magazines. None of them were rapid-fire assault weapons with large magazines.
Well, a website run by National Vanguard says:
Adolf Hitler has been vilified continuously for the past 60 years or so by the mass media in America, and certainly no politician or officeholder wants to be compared with him. If the gun-confiscation effort can be portrayed convincingly as something of which Hitler would have approved, it will have been effectively tarred.
Okay, sounds like a pretty pro-Hitler site to me, but let's look at a statement of theirs concerning der Fuhrer and gun control:
The National Socialist government of Germany, unlike the government in Washington today, did not fear its citizens. Adolf Hitler was the most popular leader Germany has ever had. Unlike American presidents, he did not have to wear body armor and have shields of bulletproof glass in front of him whenever he spoke in public. At public celebrations he rode standing in an open car as it moved slowly through cheering crowds. Communists made several attempts to assassinate him, and his government stamped down hard on communism, virtually wiping it out in Germany. Between upright, law-abiding German citizens and Adolf Hitler, however, there was a real love affair, with mutual trust and respect.
So they're saying that even though he was a totalitarian dictator, der Fuhrer did not fear the German people and so didn't have any desire to pass strict gun control laws. Can we test that statement? Actually, we can.
It's hard to tell here whether he's receiving accolades from soldiers or civilians, but yes, he's clearly in an open car (unlike those wimpy Western politicians of today, the piece suggests).
But here, he's very clearly in an open car and in easy reach of civilians who could very easily pop off a shot at him (Obviously, doing that would be a suicide mission, but the point is that he's very unprotected by today's standards). So, I find it quite credible when the piece says that der Fuhrer didn't fear civilians having guns. He felt that they weren't going to shoot at him anyway.
The left-wing magazine Mother Jones also looked at Nazi Germany and gun control:
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.
Gun ownership in Germany after World War I, even among Nazi Party members, was never widespread enough for a serious civilian resistance to the Nazis to have been anything more than a Tarantino revenge fantasy
Gun enthusiasts often mention that the Soviet Union restricted access to guns in 1929 after Joseph Stalin rose to power
. But to suggest that a better armed Russian populace would have overthrown the Bolsheviks is also too simplistic, says Spitzer. "To answer the question of the relationship between guns and the revolutions in those nations is to study the comparative politics and comparative history of those nations," he explains. "It takes some analysis to break this down and explain it, and that's often not amenable to a sound bite or a headline."
What about this other statement from National Vanguard?
At the end of the Second World War, American GIs in the occupying force were astounded to discover how many German civilians owned private firearms. Tens of thousands of pistols looted from German homes by GIs were brought back to the United States after the war.
There's a comment in a Straight Dope thread that doesn't quite confirm that, as captured Lugers could just as easily have come from soldiers, but several other comments made in that thread confirm that it wasn't at all difficult to bring home captured German booty:
The book Band of Brothers (link
) details quite a bit of looting by the WWII airborne soldiers it covers. Until I had read that, I think I was seriously underestimating how much looting they were doing. Basically they grabbed anything of even the slightest value from both civilians and killed and captured soldiers. Booze, jewelry, weapons, silverware, furniture, even autos were seized and kept or sent back home. The Luger pistol was a particularly sought after item. And I know several people who still have dad's or granddad's souvenir Lugers.
So, between the comment made by National Vanguard and the evidence that, yes indeed, Amercian soldiers took home lots and lots of souvenirs, it sounds awfully credible to me that no, Nazi Germany did not confiscate guns from civilians.
BTW, Hitler has also been condemned as pro-choice on the abortion issue, so the concept of connecting him to other people's political causes is hardly restricted to guns. Actually, he was strongly "pro-life," if only for women of "good Aryan stock." As to those of other races, sure, he had no problem with those women having abortions.
On an Art of Manliness thread:
Guatemala established gun control in 1964. From 1964 to 1981, 100,000 Mayan Indians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
FWIW, my recollection of this situation is that the Mayans in the Yucatan were of the no guns, money, or metal objects variety. Gun control measures on them would have been largely irrelevant.
Did Communist China ban guns? Hardly, as Maoist Rebel News asserts:
The communists gave people guns in order to defend themselves and attack those doing harm to them. In the revolutionary era the people were armed, people carried their guns into work. Some carried them out into the fields as they did agricultural work. Communist China didn’t ban people from having guns they were the ones that gave it out,
Before making that statement, the blogger examines several assertions about China passing laws to control guns and finds that most of these laws never existed or were passed during the post-communist time when capitalists were in power.
A buddy of mine, Deena Stryker, spent several years researching Cuba under Fidel Castro in his early years and returned in 2011 to renew her acquaintances there. I asked her if Cuba banned guns, she replied:
The answer is simple: in no other country do citizens pretend to have a right to carry guns!
In Cuba, the government organized a citizens' militia to guard against sabotage etc., and when I was there two years ago I still saw people in militia uniforms carrying guns, but the point is, the U.S. is unique in its gun culture, supposedly guaranteed by the constitution.
To which I replied:
...yes, I completely agree that Cuba has good reason to fear sabotage from the US. The Frank Church Committee showed that.
There's been a LOT a sabotage over the decades!
Copyright Â© 2006, Deena Stryker. All rights reserved.
Deena Stryker with Fidel Castro and Ctde Rene Vallejo, his aide, 1963.
The Church Committee investigated CIA activities against Castro:
1. THE ASSASSINATION PLOTS
We have found concrete evidence of at least eight plots involving
the CIA to assassinate Fidel Castro from 1960 to 1965. Although some
of the assassination plots did not advance beyond the stage of planning
and preparation, one plot, involving the use of underworld figures, reportedly
twice progressed to the point of sending poison pills to Cuba
and dispatching teams to commit the deed. Another plot involved furnishing
weapons and other assassination devices to a Cuban dissident.
The proposed assassination devices ran the gamut from high-powered
rifles to poison pills, poison pens, deadly bacterial powders, and
other devices which strain the imagination.
So, while Cuba does indeed restricts weapons, I kinda think they have a pretty good reason to see to it that people aren't able to stockpile weapons for use against the government. If an armed insurrection starts against the Cuban government, there's no question that it would have heavy American backing.
So I find good reason to seriously question the idea that the statement that started off this piece is in any way valid. I just don't see much of a connection between how free people are and how much access they have to guns.
Update: The ADL weighs in:
It should be noted that the small number of personal firearms in the hands of the small number of Germany’s Jews (about 214,000) remaining in Germany in 1938 could in no way have stopped the totalitarian power of the Nazi German state. When they had weapons, Jews could symbolically resist, as they did in the 1943 Warsaw Uprising and elsewhere, but could not stop the Nazi genocide machine. Gun control did not cause the Holocaust; Nazism and anti-Semitism did.