It has been a popular argument for pro gun advocates that during his tyrannical reign, Adolf Hitler had also outlawed all firearms in Nazi Germany. And that any attempt by the US Congress or the Obama Administration to enact the same policies would be akin to the United States turning into an extreme National Socialist state.
The association of Hitler and the Third Reich came to the forefront when website Drudge Report posted this photo in response to Vice President Biden considering using executive orders to bypass congressional opposition.
So can all things that are associated with Gun Control in America be in turn associated with the Nazi policies during the 1930s? Ofcourse the answer is clearly no! While Hitler did have a gun control policy in Germany, it was merely an extension of the Treaty of Versailles imposed on Germany by the victors of WWI.
In 1919, the German Weimar government passed the Regulations on Weapons Ownership, which declared that “all firearms, as well as all kinds of firearms ammunition, are to be surrendered immediately.”
Article 169 of the Treaty of Versailles stated, “Within two months from the coming into force of the present Treaty, German arms, munitions, and war material, including anti-aircraft material, existing in Germany in excess of the quantities allowed, must be surrendered to the Governments of the Principal Allied and Associated Powers to be destroyed or rendered useless.”
Outright confiscation would be a pro-gun advocates worst nightmare. But that is not what Congress is looking to do at the present time. In fact, The proposed Feinstein assault weapons ban itself doesn’t call for confiscation, and would in fact allow owners of any banned guns to keep their weapons when/ if the bill goes into effect.
The 1938 German Weapons Act superseded a 1928 law in Germany. As under the 1928 law, citizens were required to have a permit to carry a firearm and a separate permit to acquire a firearm.
Furthermore, the law restricted ownership of firearms to “…persons whose trustworthiness is not in question and who can show a need for a permit.”
With Hitler’s revisions, gun restriction laws applied only to handguns, not to long guns or ammunition.
The 1938 revisions completely deregulated the acquisition and transfer of rifles and shotguns, as well as ammunition.
Holders of annual hunting permits, government workers, and Nazi party members were no longer subject to gun ownership restrictions. The age at which persons could own guns was lowered from 20 to 18. The firearms carry permit was valid for three years instead of one year.
Under both the 1928 and 1938 acts, gun manufacturers and dealers were required to maintain records with information about who purchased guns and the guns’ serial numbers. These records were to be delivered to a police authority for inspection at the end of each year.
But of course under Hitler’s rule, Jewish people were forbidden from the manufacturing or dealing of firearms and ammunition.
In 1945, after the Nazis surrendered, Allied forces commanding Germany completely disarmed the country. Private ownership of firearms in Germany was not allowed until after 1956.
Present day Germany has comparatively much stricter controls on gun control in their country, brought on as the result of several school shootings in past decades in Erfurt, Emsdetten and Winnenden.
The shocking events led to various debates on what was the source of the extreme violence. From violent video games, movies and television to the advocacy for deregulated private ownership of guns. Hmm, this sounds familiar.