COMMENTARY | Stephan Halbrook is the author of a new, very important book called “Gun Control in the Third Reich: Disarming the Jews and ‘Enemies of the State” about how the confiscation of private firearms in Nazi Germany was a prerequisite to the Holocaust.
In a Washington Times oped, Halbrook describes how the Nazis used a Weimer era gun registration law to confiscate firearms owned by Jews and other alleged enemies of the state in advance of Kristallnacht, or “night of the broken glass,” a carefully planned and executed assault on the Jewish community by the Nazi regime considered the beginning of the Holocaust. Jews had been disarmed and were therefore not able to resist the thugs that smashed their shops, burned down their synagogues, and beat and killed their people.
Later, Jews were rounded it and sent to concentration camps to be killed.
To be sure one can always make the argument that the Nazis would still have been able to wage their war against the Jews even if they had been as well armed as – say – the average Texan. But history suggests that it would have been a lot messier and bloodier for the Nazis. The Warsaw Ghetto uprising showed the Nazis the cost of molesting Jews who had gotten weapons. The process of reducing the ghetto, which had been planned for three days, took over a month. It inspired other uprisings and acts of armed resistance to the Nazi regime.
The 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is what the ultimate enforcement mechanism for all of the other parts of the Bill of Rights. Liberals who use the latest mass shooting to insist on “common sense gun control” tend to roll their eyes at the idea that private gun ownership is the ultimate check on tyranny. Earlier in 2013, HBO ranter Bill Maher used the anniversary of Waco to point out that the government has superior fire power and would always prevail in any conflict with armed citizens. It’s a kind of bone chilling argument, in effect that you had best give up your guns because we can kill you anyway. Never mind that the folks at Waco were burned to death in a fire they started.
The point of course is not that private ownership of guns would prevent the establishment of a fascist regime in America, as unthinkable a prospect in 2013 as doubtless it was in Germany 80 years ago. The point is that it makes the cost of doing so unacceptably high.Any potential tyrant has to think long and hard about pushing an armed citizenry too far.