Was Hitler Really Anti-Gun Control?

by Anthony Gregory

Was Hitler Really Anti-Gun Control?

A Salon.com article by Alex Seitz-Wald called “The Hitler Gun Control Lie” is making the rounds, purporting to challenge a myth Second Amendment enthusiasts spread that blames the Holocaust on Hitler’s policies of civilian disarmament. The thrust of the argument is that Hitler’s 1938 firearms law indeed ratcheted back restrictions from the Weimar era. But here is the most telling paragraph:

The law did prohibit Jews and other persecuted classes from owning guns, but this should not be an indictment of gun control in general. Does the fact that Nazis forced Jews into horrendous ghettos indict urban planning? Should we eliminate all police officers because the Nazis used police officers to oppress and kill the Jews? What about public works — Hitler loved public works projects? Of course not. These are merely implements that can be used for good or ill, much as gun advocates like to argue about guns themselves. If guns don’t kill people, then neither does gun control cause genocide (genocidal regimes cause genocide).

As a libertarian, I actually would argue that the violence of Hitler’s statism can be seen in such areas as his militarized police forces, and the totalitarian potential of a heavily policed society is one reason I’ve been so critical of America’s police.

Honing in on the gun rights issue, we see a most curious argument: Hitler was actually pro-gun rights—except for the minor issue of the Jews. We can get the same nuanced information from Wikipedia, which cites work by Stephen Halbrook and sums up Hitler’s gun control policy in this seemingly important area:

On November 11, 1938, the Minister of the Interior, Wilhelm Frick, passed Regulations Against Jews’ Possession of Weapons. This regulation effectively deprived all Jews of the right to possess firearms or other weapons.

Yes, Hitler did loosen some restrictions on firearms—except for the people he exterminated! The Seitz-Wald pieces relies heavily on a University of Chicago working paper by Bernard Harcourt, which includes this seemingly cursory dismissal of Hitler’s disarming of the Jews in the context of the Holocaust:

How to characterize their treatment of Jewish persons for purposes of gun control—banning the possession of dangerous weapons, including guns, in 1938, and subsequently exterminating Jewish persons—is, in truth, an absurd question. The Nazis sought to disarm and kill Jews, and their treatment of Jews is, for all intents and purposes, orthogonal to their gun-control tendencies.

Even if you don’t accept the standard “gun control = genocide” line coming from gun-rights advocates, this passage is just bizarre. If the question being debated is whether Hitler enacted gun control that enabled his murderous policies, it seems rather odd to me to concede that the “Nazis sought to disarm and kill Jews” yet assert in passing that genocide was “orthogonal to their gun-control tendencies.” Within a couple days of Kristalnacht, Hitler disarmed the very group he was most determined to eliminate. Even if this correlation is not causal, there is a relationship here. It is not random. It is not “orthogonal.”

Harcourt continues, writing that “if forced to weigh in, it actually seems, somewhat surprisingly, that the white supremacist Pierce may have the better of the argument: the Nazis were probably more pro-gun than their predecessors.”

He’s referring to one of the primary scholars behind the thesis that Hitler was pro-gun—William L. Pierce, “a pro-gun white supremacist” whose ”ideological commitments are so flagrant” that he cannot be “trusted entirely in these historical and statutory debates.” Harcourt says the same about Halbrook, “a pro-gun litigator.”

This raises interesting questions. Surely we could expect someone with a soft-spot for white supremacy to be at least as biased as a pro-gun lawyer like Halbrook. This is not to say that a writer with extreme views is incapable of producing useful scholarship. Yet I would suspect that Pierce’s efforts to vindicate Hitler as a gun-rights champion in Gun Control in Germany, 1928–1945 might suffer from a fatal flaw, if indeed the gravamen that has made its way from that book to the Harcourt piece to the Salon.com article is: Hitler supported the right to bear arms. . . except for the Jews and other people he wanted to kill, but that’s a minor detail.

Harcourt weighs the evidence and argues that Pierce’s account is more accurate than Halbrook’s, but I think this all turns on a question of emphasis. Consider this revealing paragraph:

To be sure, the Nazis were intent on killing Jewish persons and used the gun laws and regulations to further the genocide. But it appears that the Nazis aspired to a certain relaxation of gun laws for the “ordinary” or “law-abiding” German citizen, for those who were not, in their minds, “enemies of the National Socialist state.” Stephen Halbrook, in fact, seems to acknowledges as much.

Yes, Halbrook does admit it—because Halbrook’s point isn’t that Hitler disarmed everybody; it’s that he disarmed the people he wanted to exterminate. We can glean this from the very title of his paper: “Nazi Firearms Law and the Disarming of the German Jews.”

I hate seeing poor history used in defense of liberty, and I hate seeing the false Nazi and Hitler quotes floating around. On the other hand, it seems to me that disarming Jews was indeed clearly one of the precursors to the Final Solution, as Harcourt admits, and as Seitz-Wald mysteriously ignores by dismissing the importance of Hitler’s prohibition of “Jews and other persecuted classes from owning guns.” If the only revisionist response to the core thesis that disarming the Jews facilitated the Holocaust is something like “Hitler only disarmed the Jews and his enemies,” one wonders what the policy implication is, especially considering that most people happily citing the Salon.com piece without reading it carefully or digging deeper seem to want to go even further and disarm the general population.



  • A good post.

    The claim by the collectivists that Hitler was not pro “Gun Control” is shockingly dishonest.

    Of course a collectivist (such as Hitler) has no problem at all with their own supporters having weapons (Castro and Chevez are quite happy with that also) – but they do not want their FOES to have weapons.

    That is the test of feedom – will you allow people you do NOT like to have weapons. Would Jefferson have said “everyone may be armed – bar Federalists”, would John Adams have replied “everyone may be armed – bar Jeffersonians”? Of course not – both parties (even in times of intense hatred – and the Alien and Sedition Acts) understood that private people must be allowed to be armed. That is the very definition of a freeman – as much in the Classical tradition of Ancient Greece and the Roman Republic as with the Germanic tribes – or the Maccabees.

    It reminds me of Michael Moore and his statement that the KKK and the National Rifle Association were founded at about the same time, “coincidence?” the collectivist says rasing an eyebrow. No it was not a coincidence – because these two organisations were set up, in part, to FIGHT EACH OTHER.

    The National Rifle Association was set up by ex United States Army officers for such things as opposing groups of ex Confederates (such as the KKK) who wished to carry-on-the-war-by-other-means.

    “Gun Control” was of the chief weapons of the KKK – trying to forbid black people owning firearms. Thus making them defenceless victims who could be attacked at will (beaten, castrated, hanged, burned alive….)

    The KKK was founded by General Nathen Bedford Forest (an ex slave master) – a man whose defence at his warcrimes trial (for the murder of U.S. Army soldiers – for the “crime” of being black) was that he had not murdered prisoners, as no black soldiers had ever tried to surrender to him (a blatent lie).

    However, the cruelity and sadism of the organisation (rather far removed from the propaganda film “Birth of a Nation” that the utterly vile man Woodrow Wilson pushed) eventually disgusted even Forest so he resigned.

    It must also be remembered that the KKK hated “big business” and anyone who cooperted with big buinessmen, as well as black people. They were statists they stood for an active government to “help the ordinary people” (the ordinary white people in their case). Nor is it a thing of the distant past. Senator Byrd (ex head of the West Virginia KKK) died only a couple of years ago – and his death was marked by tears of praise of the media (yes I did say “praise”), after all he was Democrat, and a wild spending Populist, so what is a little thing like his KKK past in comparison with his “virtues”.

    Governor Lestor Maddox of Georgia (supporrted by the young James Earl Carter in 1966) was also as much a big spending statist as he was a racist – the two sides of his collectivism walked hand in hand. As they did with Governor Wallace of Alabama.

    Yet the collectivists have managed to rewrite history in order to associate racism with support for limited government – a fundementally false view of the past (sarting with Woodrow Wilson’s academic propaganda in the 19th century) is pushed (and, sadly, some libertarians fall for it – and have an utterly false view of what Jefferson Davis and the Confederate leadership were really like).

    Now the American collectivists are trying to pretend that Adolf Hitler was not pro Gun Control.

    Next they will claim that Nelson never went to sea.

  • Julie near Chicago

    So-called “gun control” is really a form of “people control,” of course. So the issue of “gun control” really is the question of what group of people you want to control.

    With that squared away, Hitler’s version of “gun control laws” as being a way of “controlling,” specifically, Jews (and other unfortunates, according to his calculus) makes sense vicerally.

    And whom do our current gun-controllers want to control? Virtually everyone.

    And not just by controlling who can have guns, either.

  • Julie near Chicago

    “viscerally.” Dam keyboard…keys…won’t take orders…type whatever they please…mumble mumble….

  • Yes Julie – and now New York State is as bad as Illionis (demented regulations passed under the cover of darkness).

    Just hearing a Democrat on the O’Reilly Factor saying that Barack Obama “believes in the Second Amendment”.

    Comrade Barack no doubt believes that the Second Amendment EXISTS (just as I believe that Hamas exists), but he does not SUPPORT the Second Amendment.

    “President Obama believes that the Second Amendement exists – which is why he working to undermine and destroy it, along with any other limit upon government power”.

    That would be the truthful way of putting the matter.

  • Interesting article, on hitler, I have an extensive collection of books on European History for this period, of course Hitler like all despotic dictators did indeed disarm anyone who were fought to be a threat to the Third Reich, it is well known that during the Blitzkrieig priroty was given to destruction of weapons facilties, many prisoners and civilians were stipped of weapons, to eliminate any resistance reactions, hence why many resistance movements used weapons confinscated from the germans themselves, of course there has been much controversy about the trials of suspect Nazies, particularly those initiated by Jack Straw, however in truth if you disobeyed orders you were put to death, I have read several cases where those who had committed some minor disciplinary offence, were sentenced and executed within a few minutes, despite fighting and securing victory in horrific conditions a few day’s before, the effectiveness of Hitlers ability to control such an effective military machine relied on such methods for it’s effectiveness, of course the police killed Jews under order,but in reality if they refused orders they would be shot or in some cases hung from the nearest tree, not just the German Police killed Jews, but also the French, Polish, as most states controled by the germans, the local police would be actively involved, in fact in some cases committing the most disgusting murders, in fact in france the guilotines were commisioned and altered by engineers to speed up the execution process, to kill Jews from local areas. Hitler was not a good man, he fits the discription of Demonic Evil, and with good justification, Although people today stand up and defend him, the reality is,never has the planet witnessed such horrific crimes initiated and executed under his direct control, I have seen many classified photographs, the public would probably never see, or be able to stomach, he was responsible for some of the most horrific murders in the history of all mankind.

  • It’s a fact that the world jewry declared war against Germany.
    So what should they have done?

  • Good point ethnonation, but I beg to differ if I going to war to victory, I would
    certainly have drawn up a better battle plan, Blitzkrieig, is only effective in
    limitation, forces on the ground need constant back up as proven in russia,
    once you leave a vacume, the enemy will soon oblige by filling it!

  • As any good knight may tell you, don’t just armour the heads hourse, think
    of the left and right flanks as well.

  • Anyway I think now such topics are unfair on the Germans, it is irrespective
    social justice, it time we put history to bed on this one, we in england are
    certainly not saints, look what we did to the jews, burned them alive, the
    english indeed have short memories, although of course I am one. We do
    not have any right to stain the new generation of germany with a past that
    is long behind us.Or nothing to do with them.

  • “It is a fact that world Jewry {whatever that is supposed to be] declared war against Germany”.

    Jews had many different political opinions – but culturally most Jews were closer to Germany than to any other nation (the love of reading and so on).

    The antisemitic person is beyond evidence and reason. Jews dying for Germany in the First World War (all those Iron Cross holders)? Ignored.

    What possible gain could “the Jews” make by the economic destruction of Germany? Just ravings as a reply.

    Paul Johnson (in “A History Of The Jews”) shows just how successful Nazi lies were. He quotes President Franklin Roosevelt repeating TOTALLY FALSE figures for the percentage of various top jobs held by Jews in 1920s Germany.

  • Yes, this is true, I did my own research, this concluded the lies of the BNP
    and NF, in fact they only have a tiny percentage of jobs, other immigrants
    such as muslims hold greater numbers, Of cousre hitler lied, but most of
    those in politics do, I lived in east london with jews, even worked with some
    on agency, and went into their houses, some are indeed very poor.Hitler
    even lied to his own armies and people, ironically they believed him, but
    let’s be truthfull, we all believe politicians at some time, this is our folly, especially if we take their words and retoric
    as god’s truth. I have read where his hate eminiated from, I had a
    very big library several years ago, will write something on this and what I
    established at a later date, but as I recall the hate of his social circumstances at that particular
    time, turned nasty, he deluded the facts causing something of a hate obsession, that he then directed at jewish people in particular, and then
    somehow managed to brainwashed people into thinking the same.

  • Yes Karl – but the way to deal with lies is not by legal bans (as, alas, Germany and other places use). What should be done is to expose lies by counter publicity.

    For example, someone should be quite free to say there were no gas chambers – as long as other people are free to point out that the person who says that is a lying scumbag.

  • This is some very naive remarks on your part,speaking of both of you.
    Is this of ignorance or a more cynical and deceptive agenda?
    And to the last comment by Mr.Marks,can you prove,with name,one person who was killed in a gaschamber.(Bradley Smith-CODOH)

  • It’s the first time I’ve seen the word ‘orthoganal’ used to mean ‘divergent from’ or at variance with.’

    Not very successfully, in my opinion.

  • Incidentally, I thought disarming the population was one of the first things any dictator did on assuming power.

    • Not necessarily. You only need to disarm your potential opponents. Saddam Hussein seemed fairly relaxed about guns in Sunni hands. My wife tells me that guns were common things in Communist Czechoslovakia. At school, she even had compulsory target practice.

  • Yes, you’re right, dictatorships do disarm the population, just look at the
    gun law’s in the UK, all dictators use this principle to retain a none
    democratic power base. The teachings of North Korea, none democratic
    control of the masses, point of fact, they are the gun criminals, they use
    them to control democracy.

  • If you look at the history of the French Resistance, you will see why the germans attempted to cinfiscate all weapons, it a point of fact that the french resistance were of grave concern to the germans, with intelligence lead ambush techniques they inflicted deadly blows to the germans, confiscating weapons as the went, with only a few guns and box of amunition, they were able to cause havoc on the german war machine and take out and disrupt german operations and officers, this worried the germans as they could never effectively fight the resistance, they were able to melt away without trace and co-ordinate further successful attacks, hence the german concerns.

  • Of course what concerned the germans was the fact they were aware that
    one engaged by a resistance unit thier fate was sealed, the resistance did
    not take prisoners.

  • What would the world have said if 6,000,000 Germans were put to death as soon as it would have been established how many Jews were butchered to death by the NAZIS. What was good for the Goose should have been good for the Gander!!! or would that have been too cruel. Whereby it was ok to have murdered two thirds o European Jewry, however not to murder the same amount o germans in retaliation, whether or not they were guilty or not, whether they be the elderly, the young, the infirmed or babes in arms.
    The Nazis didn’t care who the Jews were, they were just vermin to them, so why should I care which Germans were killed in retaliation.
    Dierence is of cause that would have been a crime against mankind, therefore you simply wouldn’t repeat the crimes that those filthy Nazis committed. Those bastards were conditioned to carry out that plan o genocide/annihilation against mankind.

  • Firstly, it was the british who invented the “Concentration Camp” read history, south Africa for instance, the genocide effectively statrted in Russia before Hitler cpoied the idear, it you kill mass numbers of people in retaliation, for their mass killing of people, “Point Of fact” you are no better then they, why do you pick on the Germans, every state in Europe were involved in the genocide, even England in the middle ages, even in Norfolk the jews were attacked as it was thought they became to powerfull, many germans had no knowledge about what went on, you would not be talking like this if you knew the full facts of history, nobody would sanction such things, if we have an eye for eye, the whole world end’s up blind.

  • People should stop bubbling up about the Holocaust, it’s just totally un-
    fair on the survivers still living. do they not deserve some peace in life at least, can not be allowed a segment of normal living at least. Irrespective of this the Germans have still made valuable contributions to mankind, firstly, who founded Triumph motorcycles in england, who designed the BSA Bantam, who desined the rocket technology that put man on the moon, the Germans, they have made very important contributions to the evolution of the modern world, they must not be condemed on the actions of one man, this is wrong. Look how many Germans were killed by the Russians, how many German woman raped and in some cases shot, this was a bad period in history, the state had failed and hitler filled the vacume, this could happen again under the right circumstances, anywhere in the world, it is indeed in some places, this very day being repeated in certain parts of the world, just look at the middle east.

  • Firstly on the subject of the Nazi ideology, we must look deeper into the soil prior to it’s germination into a material manifestation, Firstly, both Hitler and the Nazis were in fact obsorbed and heavily influenced by the victorian writer Houston Stewart Chamberlin, it was in fact Chamberlins wrtitngs and meetings with the Germans that in some way created the idea of the pure race, Chamberlin was in fact British, he came up witht he idea Jesus was in fact “Blue Eyed” Aryan and only Germany was entitled to bless any new messiah, in 1899 he published his various theories, and was then elevated to personal spiritual advisor to Kaiser Wilhelm II, in 1923 he met in person Adolf Hitler and proclaimed to him, he was the saviour of the human race and gave his blessing. It was in fact Chamberlin who had the most profound influence on Hitler as the many of the documents for the period conclude. Hitler was also influences by Madame Blavastsky, the occult writer, he kept a copy of her book by his bedside, if you look at the orignal copy, you will see the Swasika, this image was not a Nazi image but one Blavastsky used, which she took from Buddists, when she went to tibet to obtain spiritual knowledge. Although people make claims, the ideological creations of Hitlers Third Reich were primarily German, historically these facts are indeed incorrect, they were in some way’s a creation of outside influence as well, during this period of troubled and turbulent history, many leaders obtained thier ideas from any and many sources to resolve the difficulties facing their countries, Hitler of course also followed this route to the consequence of disaster, I have read history for a great many years, and speak with some confidence on the Nazi era during this period.

  • Your comments on history are accurate Karl – but there is more to the story.

    The volkish movement in Germany was a lot bigger than similar movements in Britain – even before the First World War. That is why British people who were on this wavelength (such as H.S.C.) tended to gravitate to Germany.

    In the early 19th century various German thinkers were looking for alternative to universalism (which they associated with France – the traditional enemy), sadly some German thinkers choose not just statism (a tradition in German political philosophy going back to the 1600s) but also newish “race based” ideas.

    It should be noted that occured before Darwin – and, therefore, the theory of evolution was not the reason for it (although the theory was later perverted to try and “justify” race based politics).

    It should also be pointed out that such bad ideas as race based politics (and economic collectivism – for they went hand in hand, long before Hitler was even born) no longer have much influence in Germany.

    Indeed Germans have gone too much the other way (to the other extreme) in terms of some shame concerning national culture and tradition and a fear of saying anything against the rise of Islam in Germany – for fear of being thought “racists”.

    Bavarians tend to have more common sense – they understand that pride in local culture (and a desire to defend yourself and others) does NOT make someone a Nazi.

  • Of course, what you say it very true, there were many other societies and various political and theological influences, obviously I am not able to accurately name them without consulting my library, but Philip Stauffs group, and the Theosophical Society are also included, I was mearly trying to make a general discription of those who had a deep profound influence on Hitler and the development of his persona though out the period, of course it is to be remebered the TS did in fact meet in London, note the 1907 meeting, and expansion of ideologies. “Love Of The Fatherland, Von Ulrich!

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