Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

German Gun Control

                Many Americans fear that the government of the United States is following the example of Adolf Hitler and the German government.  There are some grounds for these fears because the Nazi reign of terror took place after gun control laws were put in place.  Hitler was well aware that he had to disarm the citizens before he could take control of them as his statement below illustrates.

                “The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to allow the subject races to possess arms.  History shows that all conquerors who have allowed their subject races to carry arms have prepared their own downfall by so doing.  Indeed, I would go so far as to say that the supply of arms to the underdogs is a sine qua non for the overthrow of any sovereignty.  So let’s not have any native militia or native police.  German troops alone will bear the sole responsibility for the maintenance of law and order throughout the occupied Russian territories, and a system of military strong-points must be evolved to cover the entire occupied country.”  Adolf Hitler, dinner talk on April 11, 1942, quoted in Hitler’s Table Talk 1941-44:  His Private Conversations, Second Edition (1973), Pg. 425-426.  Translated by Norman Cameron and R.H. Stevens.  Introduced and with a new preface by H. R. Trevor-Roper.  The original German papers were known as Bormann-Vermerke.

                A review of the history offirearms restrictions in Germany may help us understand our situation better.  The German Weimar government passed very strict gun ownership restrictions in 1919 and 1920 in an effort to stabilize the country and to comply with the conditions of the Treaty of Versailles.  Article 169 of this Treaty stated:  “Within two months from the coming into force of the present Treaty, German arms, munitions, and war material, including anti-aircraft material, existing in Germany in excess of the quantities allowed, must be surrendered to the Governments of the Principal Allied and Associated Powers to be destroyed or rendered useless.”

                The German government passed the Regulations on Weapons Ownership in 1919.  This law declared that “all firearms, as well as all kinds of firearms ammunition, are to be surrendered immediately.”  This means that anyone found in possession of a firearm or ammunition was subject to five years in prison and a fine of 100,000 marks.  Then on August 7, 1920, the German government enacted a second gun-regulation law called the Law on the Disarmament of the People.  This law activated the provisions of the Versailles Treaty with regard to the limit on military-type weapons.

                Another law, the Law on Firearms and Ammunition, was enacted in 1928 to revoke the 1919 Regulations on Weapons Ownership.  Instead of banning all firearms possession, the new law activated strict firearm licensing.  This meant that Germans could possess firearms if they had separate permits to own or sell firearms, carry firearms (including handguns), manufacture firearms, and professionally deal in firearms and ammunition.

                According to Stephen Halbrook who wrote about the German gun restriction laws in the 1919-1928 period:  “Within a decade, Germany had gone from a brutal firearms seizure policy which, in times of unrest, entailed selective yet immediate execution for mere possession of a firearm, to a modern, comprehensive gun control law.”

                A new law in 1938 superseded the 1928 law.  Both the 1928 and the 1938 laws required citizens to have a permit to carry a firearm and a separate permit to acquire a firearm.  It also restricted ownership of firearms to “…persons whose trustworthiness is not in question and who can show a need for a (gun) permit.”  The Nazi Weapons Act of 1938 (translated into English) is as follows:

                . Classified guns for “sporting purposes”.
                . All citizens who wished to purchase firearms had to register with the Nazi officials and have a background check.
                . Presumed German citizens were hostile and thereby exempted Nazis from the gun control law.
                . Gave Nazis unrestricted power to decide what kinds of firearms could, or could not be owned by private persons.
                . The types of ammunition that were legal were subject to control by bureaucrats.
                . Jews were prohibited from manufacturing or owning firearms.
                . Juveniles under 18 years could not buy firearms and ammunition.

                After the end of World War II in 1945, the Allied Forces commanded the complete disarming of Germany, even German police initially.  Private citizens were not allowed to own firearms until 1956.  “The legal status returned essentially to that of the Law on Firearms and Ammunition of 1928.  The regulation of the matter was thoroughly revised in 1972, when the new restrictive Federal Weapons Act (Bundeswaffengeset) became effective, partly as a reaction to the terror of the Red Army Faction.  It was developed in the Federal Weapons Act of 2002 and amended in 2008 and 2009 as a “result of a chain of school shootings.  They led to a public debate, in which blame was attributed to various elements of youth culture and society, including violent computer games, television programs, rock music and private gun ownership.”  Germany has some of the strongest gun control laws in the world today.

                Germany put a vast new gun database into service at the beginning of the year.  The registry lists every gun owner in the nation with all the necessary information, including details about all their firearms.  The registry makes it possible for law enforcement officials to check the lists of owners and their guns in a matter of seconds on their computers.

                The registry shows that Germany has 5.5 million legally registered guns in their country of 80 million people.  The database allows law enforcement officers to know what, if any, guns are in a house before a raid; it also gives them the information to quickly trace any legally-owned gun involved in a crime.

                The interesting tidbit about this registry is that it went into operation without any fuss from the gun industry.  The German people are so used to strict gun control that they willingly and without whimpers gave up more freedom.  They are happy as long as they have guns for hunting.  It is almost like a poker player who gives up a chip here and a chip there until he has no more chips.  Once a nation starts going down the slippery slope of gun control, it is easier for freedoms to just keep slipping away until they are all gone.

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