Ben Carson’s gun lie debunked

Ben Carson claims Germany’s Nazis “disarmed” the population in the 1930s and that’s what led to the Holocaust.

He’s wrong.

As the Nazi Party rose to power in Germany, it inherited a 1928 gun registration law that had replaced a total ban on gun ownership imposed on a defeated Germany after World War I. The 1928 law created a permit system to own and sell firearms and ammunition.

“But this order was followed quite rarely, so that largely, only newly bought weapons became registered,” said Dagmar Ellerbrock, an expert on German gun policies at the Dresden Technical University. “At that time, most men, and many women, still owned the weapons they acquired before or during the first World War.”

When they came to power, the Nazis used whatever gun records they had to seize weapons from their enemies, but Ellerbock told us the files included very few of the firearms in circulation.

“In my records, I found many Jews who well into the late 1930s possessed guns,” Ellerbock told us.

The Nazis adopted a new gun law in 1938. According to an analysis by Bernard Harcourt, a professor at Columbia University School of Law, it loosened gun ownership rules in several ways.

It deregulated the buying and selling of rifles, shotguns and ammunition. It made handguns easier to own by allowing anyone with a hunting licence to buy, sell or carry one at any time. (You didn’t need to be hunting.) It also extended the permit period from one year to three and gave local officials more discretion in letting people under 18 get a gun.

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