RABBI DEMANDS: Let Jews Defend Themselves from Terrorism.

The recent atrocities remind of us of a time in Europe when Jews were prohibited from mere possession of a firearm. In response to street fighting in Germany in the 1920s, the Weimar Republic enacted stringent gun laws that gave the government discretion to deny permits to “untrustworthy” persons and to register and confiscate guns for “public safety.”

Adolf Hitler conveniently inherited this gun control scheme when he seized power in 1933. He quickly disarmed and crushed his political enemies, notably the Social Democrats.

As the Nazi dictatorship consolidated its power, anti-Semitic measures followed. In 1935, the Nuremberg Laws were adopted, depriving Jews of the rights of citizenship. Shortly thereafter, Werner Best, second in command to the Gestapo, issued a directive to all police authorities stating that “firearms in the hands of the Jews represent a considerable danger for the German people,” and thus no gun permits should be issued to them.

By the autumn of 1938, Hitler’s henchmen were preparing to launch a major pogrom. Jewish assets were confiscated. To ensure that they could not resist the onslaught that was to come, police throughout Germany ordered the Jews to surrender all firearms. Since the firearms were registered, the police knew who had them. The many who complied lined up at police stations to turn in their guns, after which they were interrogated by the Gestapo. Those who did not had their houses searched and were arrested.

Rather than surrender their guns, they should have opened a no-limit hunting season on Nazis. People who want to take your guns away aren’t doing it for your benefit.