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Hullabaloo


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

 
Isn't this special?

by digby
The Jewish Federation of Seattle demanded a representative of the National Rifle Association step down Monday, after video claiming to show him comparing a statewide initiative increasing background checks for gun purchases to Nazi Germany surfaced online.

The video, first posted by Horsesass.com, purports to record Brian Judy, an NRA liason, speaking at an event last week in Silverdale against I-594.

The comments veer towards Seattle entrepeneur Nick Hanauer, a major supporter and financial contributor to the I-594 campaign, and his Jewish faith.

"He's put half-a-million dollars towards this policy," the video stated, "The same policy that led to his family getting run out of Germany by the Nazis.

"It's like, any Jewish people I meet who are anti-gun, I think, 'are you serious,'" the recording continued, "(Nazis) registered guns and then they took them. Why did you have to flee this country in the first place? Hello, is anybody home?"
Uhm, well, "fleeing the country" is a rather odd way of describing it don't you think?

And this stale old trope is misleading at best, a steaming pile of excrement at worst:
So did Hitler and the Nazis really take away Germans' guns, making the Holocaust unavoidable? This argument is superficially true at best, as University of Chicago law professor Bernard Harcourt explained in a 2004 paper (PDF) on Nazi Germany's impact on the American culture wars. As World War I drew to a close, the new Weimar Republic government banned nearly all private gun ownership to comply with the Treaty of Versailles and mandated that all guns and ammunition "be surrendered immediately." The law was loosened in 1928, and gun permits were granted to citizens "of undoubted reliability" (in the law's words) but not "persons who are itinerant like Gypsies." 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. Jews, however, were prohibited from owning firearms and other dangerous weapons.

"But guns didn't play a particularly important part in any event," says Robert Spitzer, who chairs SUNY-Cortland's political science department and has extensively researched gun control politics. 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. If Jews had been better armed, Spitzer says, it would only have hastened their demise. Gun policy "wasn't the defining moment that marked the beginning of the end for Jewish people in Germany. It was because they were persecuted, were deprived of all of their rights, and they were a minority group."

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."
It's not amenable to idiots.


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