Republican lawmakers are refusing to support universal background checks, the cornerstone of the Senate’s gun violence prevention package, for fear that the measure will lead to a national gun registry the government will use to confiscate guns from legal gun owners. On his Wednesday radio show, former Arkansas governor and Fox News host Mike Huckabee fanned the flames of the confiscation conspiracy, suggesting gun regulation is a ruse to enact a dictatorship akin to Nazi Germany. Media Matters flagged the exchange:
CALLER: I’m very concerned, it seems like there’s so many people who have not read and do not understand how quickly Germany was turned into, it was a democracy, then turned into a dictatorship by everyone having to register their guns and then they went door to door and collected them.
HUCKABEE: People do forget that. And by the way, [caller] know, that when you bring that up you get people who get crazy on us, and they’ll start saying, “Oh there you go comparing to the Nazis.” And I understand the reaction, but it’s the truth. You cannot take people’s rights away if they’re resisting and if they have the means to resist, but once they’re disarmed and the people who are trying to take over have all the power, not just political, not just financial, but they have the physical power to domesticate us and to subjugate us to our will there’s not a whole lot we can do about it other than just plan to die in the course of resistance. It’s very true [caller], and I appreciate you bringing it up. I know that people are probably calling and saying you know you shouldn’t have brought that up. In every society and culture where dictators take over, one of the things they have to do is get control of the military and the police and ultimately all of the citizens and make sure the citizens are disarmed and can’t fight in the streets. Gosh I hope it doesn’t come to that.
Since calls for stricter gun regulation have increased after the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, the gun lobby has deployed the Nazi comparison frequently. However, under Nazi rule, gun laws were actually relaxed. While Jews were banned from owning any weapons, the legal age to own a gun was lowered, while rifle and shotgun possession was deregulated. Experts say gun policy had little effect on Nazi power either way.
Even with no evidence to back up the confiscation conspiracy, gun advocates and Republican lawmakers have embraced rhetoric comparing President Obama to Hitler and Stalin. Meanwhile, 92 percent of the public supports mandatory background checks for all gun purchases, including overwhelming majorities of gun owners and NRA members.