Deer In Headlines
By Gery L. Deer
This picture couldn’t be more inaccurate. Hitler was a strong advocate of gun deregulation.
It’s an unfortunate fact that many high-profile politicians only speak out about issues like gun control when devastating events like mass shootings hit the headlines. Suddenly, people shift to one side of the debate or the other; with conservative Republicans typically taking the defensive, pro-gun position.
Unfortunately, most of this issue is argued, not from factual evidence or statistics, but from the standpoint of emotion, religious dogma and political position. If that isn’t enough, conservative extremists hoping to insight fear seem to always cite Hitler’s Nazi Germany as an example of what could happen to America if guns are taken away. Sadly, people rarely do any research before they start spewing nonsense like this; again, why let facts get in the way of a good scare tactic?
In fact, Adolf Hitler did have a gun control policy, one that many on both sides of the debate say looked a lot like that proposed by California Senator Dianne Feinstein. But Hitler’s policy was an addition to gun control acts set up by the Allied powers after World War I to prevent Germany from regaining a military presence.
Quoting Cris Miles, editor of PolyMic.com, “The German (gun control) regulation was in response to the Treaty of Versailles and the Weimar government passed the legislation (not the Nazis).” Article 169 of the Treaty of Versailles stated, “Within two months from the coming into force of the present Treaty, German arms, munitions, and war material, including anti-aircraft material, existing in Germany in excess of the quantities allowed, must be surrendered to the Governments of the Principal Allied and Associated Powers to be destroyed or rendered useless.”
As Mr. Miles points out in his own article on the subject, the wording of this policy must sound like the nightmare of every pro-gun activist in the country. So far, there is no national legislation being proposed promoting confiscation of personal firearms. Keep in mind that the German regulations were put into effect nearly a decade and a half before Hitler’s Fascist party took control of the country in 1933. In a strange twist of irony, pro-gun advocates might be surprised to learn that they had something in common with the vile German dictator.
As it turns out, Hitler was a strong supporter of gun deregulation. In 1928, German citizens were granted the right to carry a firearm (applying only to handguns at that point) with a permit but where ownership was restricted to, “Persons whose trustworthiness is not in question and who can show a need for a (gun) permit.” (That had to be interesting to enforce before the days of the Internet).
The 1938 German Weapons Act effectively removed most other barriers to gun ownership, deregulating the acquisition of rifles, shotguns and ammunition. It also lowered the gun ownership age to 18 and forbid Jews from manufacturing or selling firearms. It wasn’t until the Nazi surrender after World War II in 1945 that the country was once again disarmed.
So, in effect, it was the United States and the Allies that disarmed Germany each time, not the Nazis. In 1956, German citizens were once again allowed to own firearms, but gun laws in that country are far more restrictive than those in America. The point is that America’s leaders are not trying to circumvent the Constitution but are desperately faced with the seemingly insurmountable problem of rampant gun violence against innocents.
Comparing President Obama, or any other U.S. leader, to one of the most notorious mass murderers in the history of the world is, to put it mildly, disrespectful and unpatriotic. Such statements only further demonstrate the ignorance of a few gun-obsessed people trying to make a point from an uneducated, feeble position.
Any fruitful debate on gun control must originate from facts and effective solutions will have to include some better method to keep deadly weapons from the hands of career criminals and the mentally ill. The idea that weak arguments can be made stronger simply by citing events from Nazi Germany is foolish, to say the least, and just weakens the position of the debater, particularly when the history being quoted is so inaccurate.