Press Release

ADL Troubled by Participation in House Committee Hearings of Writer Who Draws Parallel Between Nazi Policies and Gun Control

New York, NY, September 12, 2017 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) is troubled by the participation in a House Committee hearing of Stephen Halbrook, author of “Gun Control in the Third Reich,” who has frequently drawn parallels between gun laws in Nazi Germany and firearms legislation in the U.S. to build a case against gun violence prevention.

In a book and in a 2013 op-ed on Kristallnacht, Halbrook wrote:  “Historians have documented most everything about it except what made it so easy to attack the defenseless Jews without fear of resistance. Their guns were registered and thus easily confiscated.” Halbrook was one of the witnesses invited to testify today before the House Committee on Natural Resource as it considers the “Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act,” which, among other things, would remove restrictions on use of weapons on federal lands.

Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO, today issued the following statement:

Whatever the merits of this proposed legislation, the invitation to Stephen Halbrook is a distraction. Halbrook has made the assertion that Nazi laws and policies restricting firearms ownership contributed to the Holocaust.

The national debate over gun violence prevention is a divisive issue with many legitimate policy arguments.  But the notion that Jews could have saved themselves from the Nazi onslaught but for gun regulations in Nazi Germany is not one of them. This argument is historically inaccurate and deeply offensive, especially to Holocaust survivors and their families.  We have long asserted that it is absolutely wrong to bring the Holocaust into this debate where it simply does not belong.


The Anti-Defamation League was founded in 1913 to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all.  Today it is the world’s leading organization combating anti-Semitism, exposing hate groups, training law enforcement on hate crimes, developing anti-bias curricula for students, countering cyber-hate and relentlessly pursuing equal rights for all. Follow us on Twitter: @ADL_National