I keep seeing a post on Facebook titled “A Little Gun History” and ignored it while at the same time wondering if there was any truth to it. The post lists several countries that confiscated firearms from citizens and then murdered millions of them during the 20th century. I decided to see if I could find the truth of the information.
I found a report by Snopes that listed the claim as follows: “Internet list accurately cites historical facts and figures proving that the worst mass exterminations of civilian populations in the twentieth century were the result of gun control laws.”
Snopes says this is true: “Mass killings of civilians by military dictatorships in the 1900s were more often than not preceded by the confiscation of firearms from targeted populations, a task made easier by laws requiring the registration and/or licensing of privately-owned weapons.” Since Snopes acknowledges that the claim is true, I will share the information.
In 1929, the Soviet Union established gun control. From 1929 to 1953, about 20 million dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
In 1911, Turkey established gun control. From 1915 to 1917, 1.5 million Armenians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
Germany established gun control in 1938 and from 1939 to 1945, a total of 13 million Jews and others who were unable to defend themselves were rounded up and exterminated.
China established gun control in 1935. From 1948 to 1952, 20 million political dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
Guatemala established gun control in 1964. From 1964 to 1981, 100,000 Mayan Indians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
Uganda established gun control in 1970. From 1971 to 1979, 300,000 Christians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
Cambodia established gun control in 1956. From 1975 to 1977, one million educated people, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
Defenseless people rounded up and exterminated in the 20th Century because of gun control: 56 million.
Further in the article, Snopes gives more information on the above notes. There appears to be some question as to the exact number of people who were killed, but there is no doubt that the number is in the millions and that the murders came after gun confiscation.
The only problem that Snopes seems to have with the information is the claim that “gun control” equals “gun confiscation.” “`Gun control’ isn’t synonymous with gun confiscation; in some cases where genocides took place, the gun laws in force had existed for years, even decades; evidence does not demonstrate a causal link between gun control and mass exterminations.”
The Snopes argument seems to me to be a parsing of the words “gun control” and the length of time between the passing of the gun laws and the actual confiscation. Sometimes it did take years or decades, but other times it was only months. Snopes admits that the “confiscation of firearms” was preceded by “laws requiring the registration and/or licensing of privately-owned weapons” – which is part of “gun control” but further down the road. We all must recognize that it is easier for government agents to go from house to house collecting firearms if they have already been registered. Here is Snopes conclusion to their article.
Based on the actual evidence at hand, we find it reasonable to conclude that gun confiscations, facilitated by laws requiring the registration and/or licensing of firearms, played a crucial role in the carrying out of twentieth-century genocides. However, gun control per se – properly defined as a set of laws regulating gun ownership that can range from minimally restrictive to outright prohibitive – is neither a cause nor even a reliable predictor of mass exterminations, whereas the presence of a repressive military dictatorship most certainly is.
Snopes agrees that gun registration and/or licensing can lead to gun confiscation, but he is not concerned about laws that merely restrict ownership. Despite the fact that mass murders followed gun confiscation in numerous countries, Snopes does not seem to fear gun control in the United States. Even though there are no laws requiring gun owners to register their guns or to have licenses to use them, I believe that there is cause for concern. I believe that the United States Government is far down the road toward having a list of all firearm owners because of required background checks for potential purchasers. A list of gun owners is the first step toward confiscating them. The information at this site about background checks should concern all gun owners.
Background checks identify individuals who are ineligible to purchase firearms and prevent those persons from obtaining them [apparently there is a list of these ineligible individuals], making them a key element in preventing tragic and unnecessary gun deaths in the United States.
Enacted in 1993, the Brady Act is a federal law that requires federally licensed firearms dealers (FFLs) to conduct background checks on potential firearm purchasers. In order to comply with the Brady Act, the FBI created the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), a centralized catalog of records comprising three separate national databases. Among other things, NICS contains information about individuals’ criminal and mental health histories and any civil orders entered against them that might affect their eligibility to purchase or possess a gun, such as domestic violence restraining orders.
I want to believe that background checks protect us from criminals and violent people without infringing on our Second Amendment rights. I want to have faith in my government and believe that all of our laws are there to protect us. However, I do not have that faith because of events that have taken place in past years. The attack on Waco is just one example of times when the government was in the wrong. I am concerned that a government that knows the locations of all the guns might start confiscating them in an effort to control the populace. Under a law-abiding administration, there would be no problem. Under an administration that wants total control of the citizenry, there would be a huge problem. This site voices some of my fears.
Certainly however the biggest reason gun rights advocates oppose the idea of Universal Background checks is because Firearm Registration takes us one step closer to firearm confiscation. It would be nearly impossible for the government to confiscate guns without knowing who owns what guns. The easiest way to create that database is by making all transfers of firearms require a background check both because it creates the SYSTEM by which the database can be built and it creates the NEED for Firearm Registration in order to enforce the law.
While you may have been told that the Federal government doesn’t keep a database of gun buyers you have been misled. Yes, the FBI does destroy the paperwork and evidence of a background check shortly after it is performed, but the ATF requires that FFLs keep detailed paper records of every background check performed. These records must be made available to the government without notice; and should a FFL decide to close up shop the records must be turned over to the ATF. So, yes, there is a paper record of every background check performed and the government has access to it. That record includes the date, the name and address of the buyer, the make/model of the firearm, the serial number, the type of firearm, and the caliber/gauge of the firearm….
This information tells us that the government does have ways to track the firearms that have been purchased legally since background checks have been required. If there is ever an administration in place that wants to have total control over America, the stage is set for confiscation of firearms. This is a time for Americans to be very careful. If we give up our freedoms for security, we deserve neither of them. Maybe there are other solutions.
Kevin McCullough and his staff looked at the issue and suggested seven steps that can be taken to protect the children without touching the rights of gun owners. Their suggestions are: (1) Put metal detectors in every school. (2) Enforce every existing law. (3) Perform active shooter drills just like some schools do earthquake drills and teach the students to fight for survival.
(4) Reinforce doors, windows, buses, and locks to make them as bullet proof as possible.
(5) Recruit retired military and law enforcement personnel who already have the expertise to do the job. (6) Arm and train all appropriate personnel. (7) Publicize the consequences by every way possible, including big signs stating that armed personnel are on the campus.
As we can see from the above list, there are several precautions that can be taken without calling for new gun laws or banning certain firearms. We must remember that it is the evil person behind the gun and not the gun itself that poses the danger. If someone wants to commit mass murder, they will find a way no matter what law is on the books. By finding common-sense solutions, we can better protect the rising generation without infringing on anyone’s rights.