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January 17, 2014 6

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.

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