The Real Resistance-Lessons for America from gun control in Nazi-occupied France

Unlike Americans, Germans had no legal right to keep and bear arms and the liberal Weimar Republic sought to register, regulate and prohibit firearms. When Hitler’s National Socialist (Nazi) Party took power, they used those records to disarm and oppress the people, and that is why there was no armed resistance movement in Germany. That is the story of Stephen Halbrook’s masterful 2013 Gun Control in the Third Reich: Disarming the Jews and “Enemies of the State .” Halbrook’s new book, Gun Control in Nazi-Occupied France: Tyranny and Resistance , charts the same process in occupied France. As he notes, of the many books on the occupation, “not one focuses on the repression of gun owners.” So Halbrook, who earned his JD at Georgetown and taught political philosophy at George Mason University, wrote the first authoritative account. Pierre Laval, prime minister in 1935, decreed the registration of firearms for the first time in modern French history. The registration was “aimed at firearms owners at large and did not focus on those responsible for fomenting political violence.” Halbrook shows how it worked in great detail but the main effect “was to enhance the power of government over the citizens.” Little did anyone anticipate that “just five years later, France would be conquered by Nazi Germany,” and the author provides the back story to that as well. When the Nazi forces attacked France in May of 1940, the Stalin-Hitler Pact was in force. The powerful French Communist party, controlled by Stalin, […]

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