Gun Advocates Continue To Misappropriate The Holocaust » ADL Blogs
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January 17, 2014

Gun Advocates Continue To Misappropriate The Holocaust

The heated political debate over gun control continues to be tainted by the inappropriate use of Holocaust imagery by some gun advocates.nugent-weinstein-gun-control-hitler-nazi

One such analogy suggests that those who support stronger gun control are akin to Hitler or other Nazi figures. Most recently, rock musician and gun advocate Ted Nugent compared film producer Harvey Weinstein to a Nazi propagandist, stating that those who watch Weinstein’s planned film about the National Rifle Association (NRA) “will see that Joseph Goebbels and Saul Alinsky is [sic] alive in the form of a fat punk named Harvey Weinstein, and as he tries to destroy the NRA, it will backfire on him.” He also said that “you have to be brain-dead to believe that the gun-free zones of Chicago and Nuremberg in 1938 are a desirable condition.”

Another historically inaccurate analogy suggests that if those who perished under the Nazis had better access to guns, the regime would not have been able to systematically murder so many Jews and others. For example, in response to Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop’s efforts to improve gun safety in December 2013, NRA board member Scott Bach said, “…if you’re going to be a Jersey City mayor you have to by default be anti-gun…His grandparents were Holocaust survivors according to Wikipedia. So you’ve got to wonder why he is not getting it.”

It must 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.

Invoking offen­sive Holo­caust analo­gies in discussions of controversial issues is nothing new. Such comparisons have been used by both Democ­rats and Repub­li­cans on a num­ber of issues, and by numerous pub­lic fig­ures when dis­cussing top­ics rang­ing from abor­tion to ani­mal rights to the Israeli-Palestinian con­flict to LGBT rights. A spike in offensive Holocaust analogies also followed the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.