Press Release

ADL Says Nazi Analogies Have No Place In Gun Control Debate

New York, NY, January 24, 2013 ... Concerned over the proliferation of remarks comparing gun control legislation in the United States to policies upheld by Nazi Germany during the Holocaust, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today called on critics of gun control legislation to stop using references to Hitler and the Nazis, saying they are “historically inaccurate and offensive,” especially to Holocaust survivors and their families.

“We know that the national debate over gun control is one of the most divisive issues in the land, and while Americans are entitled to have strong opinions, there is also language that is inappropriate and offensive in any such discussion,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director and a Holocaust survivor. “The idea that supporters of gun control are doing something akin to what Hitler’s Germany did to strip citizens of guns in the run-up to the Second World War is historically inaccurate and offensive, especially to Holocaust survivors and their families.”

Several national pundits and others outside of politics in recent weeks have compared the issue of gun control in the U.S. to actions taken by the Nazi regime. Some have suggested that President Obama’s proposals are reminiscent of Hitler’s gun-control policy. Others have argued that if the victims of the Holocaust had better access to guns, the Nazi regime would not have been able to systematically murder six million Jews and millions of others in the Holocaust.

Some examples of those bringing Nazi and/or Holocaust analogies into the discussion over gun control include:

  • The Drudge Report, under the headline “White House Threatens ‘Executive Orders’ on Guns,” featured photos of Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin (Jan. 9).
  • Former Major League pitcher John Rocker wrote on about what he described as “…the undeniable fact that the Holocaust would never have taken place had the Jewish citizenry of Hitler’s Germany had the right to bear arms and defend themselves with those arms” (Jan. 15).
  • During an interview on the Fox News Channel, Lars Larson suggested that, “…if the president does it that way, everybody in America will be required to go in and give fingerprints…. It will be ‘your papers, please’ like Nazi Germany” (Jan. 9).
  • Ohio State Board of Education President Debe Tehrar reportedly posted a photo of Adolf Hitler on Facebook with a variety of anti-Obama, pro-gun slogans and images (Jan. 23).
  • Sean Hannity, discussing the gun debate, stated that, “We don’t talk a lot about -- what were the intentions of our founders and framers? And we have Stalin, um, we have Hitler, we have countries, tyrannical. They talked a lot about that” (Jan. 23).
  • Judge Andrew Napolitano, senior judicial analyst at Fox News, suggested in a column on Fox that, “If the Jews in the Warsaw ghetto had had the firepower and the ammunition that the Nazis did, some of Poland might have stayed free and more persons would have survived the Holocaust (Jan. 10).

According to ADL, the small number of personal firearms in the hands of the small number of Germany’s Jews (about 214,000) remaining in Germany in 1938 could in no way have stopped the totalitarian power of the Nazi German state. When they had weapons, Jews could symbolically resist, as they did in the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and elsewhere, but could not stop the Nazi genocide machine. Gun control did not cause the Holocaust; Nazism and anti-Semitism did.