Letter: Myth of Nazi Gun Control
To the Editor:
Misrepresentations of historical “fact” have a funny way of showing up in fevered letters to the editor. Marc G. Roy offers a nice example in his rant over the “assault being waged against our Constitution” (“I’m Hanging on to My Guns,” Jan. 17.) Roy asserts that “Hitler imposed the Gun Control Act of 1938, making it easier for him to tyrannize and kill.” This canard has been passed around the Internet by Second Amendment absolutists for quite some time. Just Google “German Gun Control Act of 1938” to see how widely.
Fortunately for the truth, Bernard Harcourt, professor of law and criminology at the University of Chicago Law School, has written extensively on German gun control. His lengthy 2004 essay, “On Gun Registration, the NRA, Adolf Hitler, and Nazi Gun Laws,” is fascinating reading, at tinyurl.com/Hitler-gun-laws. A short citation will have to suffice here: “The history of general gun control in Germany from the post-World War I period to the inception of World War II seems to be, in general, a history of declining, rather than increasing, gun control. ... The 1938 law ... completely deregulated the acquisition and transfer of rifles and shotguns, as well as ammunition.” An exception, of course, was the Jews, who were “prohibited from acquiring, possessing, and carrying firearms and ammunition, as well as truncheons or stabbing weapons.”
It’s so ridiculously easy these days to corroborate or debunk information of any kind with a simple web query that no one need be caught spreading semi-truths or outright falsehoods. Unless he wants to.