Gun Control in the Third Reich: News Releases: The Independent Institute

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News Release
November 1, 2013

Gun Control in the Third Reich
New Independent Institute book presents the definitive, yet hidden history of how the Nazi regime used gun control to disarm and repress its enemies and consolidate power.

November 1, 2013 Oakland, CA – Gun control crusaders reject America’s heritage of liberty as enshrined in the Second Amendment but they also ignore the lessons of history, according to GUN CONTROL IN THE THIRD REICH: Disarming the Jews and “Enemies of the State,” by Stephen P. Halbrook, the first book to address the Nazi firearms laws and policies that disarmed German citizens, in particular political opponents and Jews.

Based on newly discovered secret documents from German archives, diaries, and newspaper reports, Gun Control in the Third Reich shows how disarming political opponents was a categorical imperative of the National Socialist regime. Nazi officials consolidated their power by disarming those they dubbed “enemies of the state” and ruthlessly suppressed firearm ownership by all groups the National Socialist regime disfavored.

Author Stephen P. Halbrook, Research Fellow with the Independent Institute, shows how Adolf Hitler, Heinrich Himmler, Werner Best, Wilhelm Frick, and other members of the Nazi hierarchy were deeply involved in this process. National Socialist firearms laws and policies, together with hysteria created against Jewish firearm owners, played a key role in laying the groundwork for the eradication of German Jewry.

Gun Control in the Third Reich shows how the liberal Weimar Republic adopted Germany’s first comprehensive gun control laws in 1928 and soon required registration of all firearms – followed by a campaign to confiscate unregistered guns. After taking power in 1933, the National Socialist Party seized firearms from political opponents and raided Jewish quarters. The Gestapo, the German secret police, banned independent gun clubs and denied firearm permits to Jews.

Halbrook shows how Hitler’s 1938 gun control law benefitted Nazi Party members but denied firearm ownership to opponents of the National Socialist regime. Himmler decreed punishment of twenty years in a concentration camp for possession of a firearm by a Jew.

Gun Control in the Third Reich shows how the systematic disarming of Germany’s Jews preceded the demolition of synagogues and businesses, and the incarcerations of Kristallnacht in November 1938. Halbrook poses crucial questions about events during World War II. Did the disarming of Germans prevent an armed partisan movement against Hitler?

Did the prior disarming of the Jews facilitate the Holocaust? In the nations they conquered, the Nazis decreed the death penalty for possession of a firearm. But Halbrook also notes cases of heroic armed resistance by Jews, particularly the Warsaw ghetto uprising. The National Socialist experience, Stephen P. Halbrook argues, confirms that totalitarian governments will disarm their subjects to extinguish any ability to resist crimes against humanity. Dictators do not respect constitutions or human rights, but an armed populace with a culture of constitutional and natural rights is less likely to fall under the sway of a tyranny. If they do, they are more likely to offer armed resistance.

Today gun control crusaders such as Barack Obama and Dianne Feinstein ignore the Second Amendment and exploit tragedies from Columbine to Sandy Hook to promote their agenda of gun bans, restrictions, and registration regimes. Gun Control in the Third Reich provides a timely and long overdue historical perspective on the disastrous effects of disarming a population.

To arrange an interview with the author of Gun Control in the Third Reich, please contact Kim Cloidt at 202-725-7722, or 510-632-1366, ext. 116, or [email protected] For more information, go to:

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The Independent Institute is a non-profit, non-partisan, scholarly research and educational organization that sponsors in-depth studies of critical social and economic issues. For more information, visit

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