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The Second Amendment “right of the people to keep and bear Arms,” controversial enough as a domestic constitutional issue, becomes an extraordinarily provocative enigma when viewed in light of historical experiences of foreign governments. This is particularly the case when the state analyzed is Nazi Germany, which invariably (and justifiably) gives rise to negative comparisons.

A revisionist view now has been boldly asserted that Hitler was friendly to perhaps the most dangerous freedom in the Bill of Rights. The Fordham Law Review recently published a provocative Second Amendment Symposium issue which included three articles suggesting that Nazi Germany had liberal policies toward firearm owners and that the National Rifle Association (NRA) promotes a myth of Nazi repression of firearms owners as part of a cultural war. This author is taken to task as a leading perpetrator of this alleged myth.

In response, I wish to suggest why the study of Nazi firearms policies is a legitimate and timely topic of scholarly analysis in the studies of totalitarian legal systems and of the Holocaust. Presumably a justification for the study of tyranny in history is to help ensure that such events never take place again, whether in toto or in less oppressive but still not negligible contexts.