In a Nov. 26 Newsmax column, Stephen P. Halbrook goes Godwin by likening restrictive gun laws in Israel to, yes, Nazis:
Restrictive gun laws, imposed by a well-meaning government, deprive people of the means of self-defense. So say Second Amendment advocates. Modern history and recent headlines alike support their argument.
The recent atrocities in Israel, where terrorists slaughtered four unarmed Jewish citizens at prayer — three of them rabbis — have led that nation’s government to peel back some of its draconian laws restricting the private ownership of firearms.
The new proposals do not go nearly far enough, extending only to a small group of Israelis already licensed to carry firearms, such as security guards. It’s doubtful that such a reform would prevent a repeat of this week’s slaughter.
With all due respect to a grieving, embattled nation, Israeli lawmakers — and freedom-loving Americans — should remember some tragic events of history.
In 1943, Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels fulminated, “The Jews have actually succeeded in making a defensive position of the Ghetto . . . It shows what is to be expected of the Jews when they are in possession of arms.” He was outraged at the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, which impeded deportations to the death camps and allowed partisans to escape and fight from the forests.
One of Weimar’s emergency decrees imposed strict registration of firearms, and gave the state authority to confiscate them if “public security” so required. But the decree backfired: Law-abiding citizens had duly registered their guns, while the private armies maintained by the Nazis and communists had not. Worse still, this decree put obedient citizens at risk.
As the Weimar Interior Minister warned about the registration records: “Precautions must be taken that these lists cannot . . . fall into the hands of radical elements.”
Just a year later, in 1933, the worst “radical elements” in Germany indeed came to power.
Curiously, Halbrook never explains which Israeli gun laws are so "draconian" as to be Nazi-esque. In fact, those laws appear to be quite commonsensical. The Washington Post summarizes:
Israel limits gun ownership to security workers, people who transport valuables or explosives, residents of the West Bank, and hunters. People who don't fall into one of those categories cannot obtain a firearm permit. Moreover, Israel rejects 40 percent of firearm permit applicants, the highest rejection rate in the Western world. Both Switzerland and Israel require yearly (or more frequent) permit renewals to insure that the reasons are still applicable.
Janet Rosenbaum, an assistant professor of epidemiology at the School of Public Health at the State University of New York (SUNY) Downstate Medical Center School, explained: "Ten years ago, when Israel had the outbreak of violence, there was an expansion of gun ownership, but only to people above a certain rank in the military. There was no sense that having ordinary citizens [carry guns] would make anything safer."
Halbrook doesn't explain how anything he proposes for Israel -- by way of invoking Nazis -- would change that.