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New Book Contains Lessons from History on Civilian Disarmament

Friday, January 31, 2014

Author, attorney, and eminent Second Amendment scholar Stephen P. Halbrook has released an acclaimed new book that documents with painstaking detail perhaps the most diabolical gun control effort of the 20th Century. Dr. Halbrook is also a research fellow as the Independent Institute, which published this latest volume in his considerable body of work.

Based on newly-discovered, secret documents from German archives, diaries and newspapers of the time, Gun Control in the Third Reich presents the definitive, yet hidden history of how the Nazi regime made use of gun control to disarm and repress its enemies and consolidate power. While voluminous scholarship has documented the Third Reich and the Holocaust, this is the first thorough examination of the laws restricting firearm ownership that rendered Hitler's political opponents, as well as the Jews, defenseless.  It also makes a compelling case that the National Socialist regime considered suppression of firearm ownership by disfavored groups a critical element of achieving its objectives.

Gun Control in the Third Reich spans the two decades from the birth of the Weimar Republic in 1918, through Kristallnacht in 1938. The book then presents a panorama of pertinent events during World War II regarding the effects of the disarmament policies. And even though in the occupied countries the Nazis decreed the death penalty for possession of a firearm, there developed instances of heroic armed resistance by Jews, particularly the Warsaw ghetto uprising.

While the United States remains free and prosperous after its pivotal role in defeating Nazi Germany in World War II, it cannot take for granted the safeguards built into its constitutional system to deter the rise of unchecked power.  Even if the threats to liberty that contemporary Americans face are different from those posed by the Third Reich, the lessons of history remain instructive.  Not every person who seeks disarmament is a dictator, but without question, dictators abhor an armed populace.

Gun Control in the Third Reich:

Disarming the Jews and "Enemies of the State"

By Stephen P. Halbrook, Ph.D., J.D.

Hardcover • 280 Pages • 8 Pages of Photographs • Index

Published by The Independent Institute

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.