Why do I consider the topic of gun control to be a moral, rather than a political, issue? Because genocide IS a moral issue, and gun control advances have a reliably distinct pattern in history of leading to restriction of freedoms, tyranny and genocide. Gun control is a moral issue, and it is an anti-American one.
Down through history, governments have disarmed their citizens only to tyrannize those citizens once they were disarmed.
“Gun control” promoted at least seven other major 20th Century genocides, including those in Rwanda, Cambodia, and the ex-Soviet Union. In just 103 days, 800,000 Rwandans were murdered in 1994, including several hundred thousand thanks to “gun control” (laws of 23 November 1964 and 1 May 1979). In these eight major genocides, a total of 57 million children, women, and men were murdered by officials of governments “gone bad,” thanks to “gun control.” Rabbi Yoffie’s advocacy of “gun control” — a euphemism for the step-by-step total disarming of civilians — directly promotes genocide.
Ottoman Turkey | 1915-1917
Gun Control Scheme:
Permits required, Government list of owners, Ban on possession.
Targets: Armenians (mostly Christians)
Civilians Killed: 1 – 1.5 Million
In 1911, Turkey established gun control. From 1915 to 1917, 1.5 million Christian Armenians were rounded up and exterminated.
After the government of the Ottoman Empire quickly crushed an Armenian revolt in 1893, tens of thousands of Armenians were murdered by mobs armed and encouraged by the government. As anti-Armenian mobs were being armed, the government attempted to convince Armenians to surrender their guns. A 1903 law banned the manufacture or import of gunpowder without government permission. In 1910, manufacturing or importing weapons without government permission, as well as carrying weapons or ammunition without permission was forbidden.
During World War I, in February 1915, local officials in each Armenian district were ordered to surrender quotas of firearms. When officials surrendered the required number, they were executed for conspiracy against the government. When officials could not surrender enough weapons from their community, the officials were executed for stockpiling weapons. Armenian homes were also searched, and firearms confiscated. Many of these mountain dwellers had kept arms despite prior government efforts to disarm them.
The genocide against Armenians began with the April 24, 1915 announcement that Armenians would be deported to the interior. The announcement came while the Ottoman government was desperately afraid of an Allied attack that would turn Turkey’s war against Russia into a two-front war. In fact, British troops landed at Gallipoli in western Turkey the next day. Although the Anglo-Russian offensives failed miserably, the Armenian genocide continued for the next two years. Some of the genocide was accomplished by shooting or cutting down Armenian men. The bulk of the 1 to 1.5 million Armenian deaths, however, occurred during the forced marches to the interior. Although the marches were ostensibly for the purpose of protecting the Armenians through relocation, the actual purpose was to make the marches so difficult (for example, by not providing any food) that survival was impossible.
The Armenian genocide differs from the six other genocides detailed in Lethal Laws in one important respect. Although many Armenians apparently complied with the gun control laws and the deportation orders, some did not. For example, in southern Syria (then part of the Ottoman Empire), “the Armenians refused to submit to the deportation order. Retreating into the hills, they took up a strategic position and organized an impregnable defense. The Turks attacked and were repulsed with huge losses. They proceeded to lay siege.” Eventually 4,000 survivors of the siege were rescued by the British and French. These Armenians who grabbed their guns and headed for the hills are the converse to the vast numbers of Armenian and other genocide victims in Lethal Laws who submitted quietly; although many of the Armenian fighters doubtless died from lack of medical care, starvation, or gunfire, so did many of the Armenians who submitted. As was the case of the Jewish resistance during World War II, armed resistance was enormously risky, but the resisters had a far higher survival rate than the submitters.
Soviet Union | 1929 – 1953
Gun Control Scheme:
Licensing of owners, Ban on possession, Severe penalties.
Targets: Political opponents; Farming communities
Civilians Killed: 20 Million
In 1929, the Soviet Union established gun control. From 1929 to 1953, 20 million dissidents were rounded up and murdered.
An account by Gabriella Hoffman, who writes “My Family Fled Communism. Stop Pushing Soviet-Style Gun Control Here,” highlights this history.
Compared to the United States, Soviet-occupied Lithuania was gun-free except for those in elite governmental positions. My dad always said the Soviets succeeded in oppressing Lithuanians and others by first disarming them. I always knew he was right, but aimed to confirm his assertions. Low [sic] and behold, he was right about gun confiscation as a pretext to installing tyranny in a country.
Here’s a case study from Firearms Possession by Non-State Actors: The Question of Sovereignty (2004) published in the Texas Review of Law & Politics.
Indeed, the best testimony to the power of an armed populace is the vigor with which the Warsaw Pact dictatorships enforced gun control. When the Communists took over Bulgaria on September 9, 1944, they immediately confiscated every weapon in private possession.
In East Germany, private gun ownership was outlawed, though selected members of agricultural collectives were allowed to possess hunting weapons while participating in government-organized collective hunts, under immediate government supervision.
Immediately after World War II, Hungary was governed by a coalition of democrats and Communists. Preparing the way for a total Communist takeover, Laszlo Rajk, the Communist Minister of the Interior, ordered the dissolution of all pistol and hunting clubs, as well as of other organizations which might prove a threat to government power. Rajk claimed he acted ‘in order to more efficiently protect the democratic system of the state.’
Poland … did initially allow limited ownership of registered target guns with a license from the so-called ‘Citizen’s Militia.’ However, in December 1981, Poland’s dictator, General Jaruzelski … declared martial law, arrested all the pro-democracy leaders he could find, and ordered all firearms and ammunition be turned over to the government.
As the authors note, the Bolsheviks were a minority of Communists in a vast and disparate nation where Communists themselves were a tiny minority. It should not be surprising that the Bolsheviks worked hard to ensure that any person potentially hostile to them did not possess arms.
The first Soviet gun controls were imposed during the Russian Civil War, as Czarists, Western troops, and national independence movements battled the central Red regime. Firearm registration was introduced on April 1, 1918. On August 30, Fanny Kaplan supposedly wounded Lenin during an assassination attempt; the attempted assassination spurred a nationwide reign of terror. In October 1918, the Council of People’s Commissars (the government) ordered the surrender of all firearms, ammunition, and sabres. As has been the case in almost every nation where firearms registration has been introduced, registration proved a prelude to confiscation. Exempt from the confiscation order, however, were members of the Communist Party. A 1920 decree imposed a mandatory minimum penalty of six months in prison for (non-Communist) possession of a firearm, even where there was no criminal intent.
After the Red victory in the Civil War, the firearms laws were consolidated in a Criminal Code, which provided that unauthorized possession of a firearm would be punishable by hard labor. A 1925 law made unauthorized possession of a firearm punishable by three months of hard labor, plus a fine of 300 rubles (equal to about four months’ wages for a highly-paid construction worker).
Stalin apparently found little need to change the weapons control structure he had inherited. His only contributions were a 1935 law making illegal carrying of a knife punishable by five years in prison and a decree of that same year extending “all penalties, including death, down to twelve-year-old children.”
This chapter of Lethal Laws summarizes the genocide perpetrated by Stalin from 1929 to 1953, starting with his efforts to collectivize farming by destroying the class of property-owning farmers. Altogether, about twenty million people were murdered, worked to death in slave labor camps, or deliberately starved to death by Stalin’s government. From 1929 to 1939, Stalin killed about ten million people, more than all the people who died during the entirety of World War I. Stalin’s successful campaign of genocide against the Kulaks and against dissident Communists served as a model for similar campaigns in China and Cambodia.
China, Nationalist | 1948 – 1952
Gun Control Scheme:
Government permit system, Ban on private ownership.
Targets: Political Opponents; Rural populations; Enemies of the State
Civilians Killed: 10 Million
In 1935, China established gun control. From 1948 to 1952, 20 million political dissidents were rounded up and exterminated. These rules were based on Articles 186-7, Penal Code; Article 9, Security Law.
Nazi Germany | 1939 – 1945
Gun Control Scheme:
Registration & Licensing, Stricter handgun laws, Ban on possession.
Targets: Jews, Gypsies, Critics
Civilians Killed: 6 Million
In 1938, Germany established gun control. From 1939 to 1945, an estimated 6 million Jews and others were rounded up and exterminated.
It is critical to note that gun control began with the liberal, democratic Weimar Republic. In Control: Exposing the Truth About Guns, Glenn Beck states that” 1931 Weimar ’emergency decree’ authorized the German states to register all firearms, which could be confiscated if ‘public security and order so requires.’ The interior minister warned the states to provide ‘the secure storage of the lists of persons who have registered their weapons,’ so that they would not ‘fall into the hands of radical elements.'”
So the liberal Weimar Republic began gun control “in the hope of taking back the streets from the right- and left-wing brawlers of the 1920s and 1930s.” But when the National Socialists (Nazis) took over, it suited them that Germany’s laws regarding gun ownership were left to the administrative discretion of the state. The only change that the Nazis made “was to forbid Jews from owning guns and exempting members of the SA and other Nazi party officials from the law’s strictures”.
German gun control laws are the authors’ area of expertise. Mr. Simkin and Mr. Zelman have previously written a book analyzing the Weimar and Nazi gun laws in great detail. The German chapter in Lethal Laws contains the most relevant statutes and regulations, but does not include gun registration forms and similar materials found in the previous book. Because Lethal Laws does contain more analysis of the German gun laws in their social context, Lethal Laws is the more valuable book to anyone except a specialist in German law.
After Germany’s defeat in World War I, the democratic Weimar government, fearing (with good cause) efforts by Communists or the militaristic right to overthrow the government, ordered the surrender of all firearms. Governmental efforts to disarm the civilian population–in part to comply with the Versailles Treaty–apparently ended in 1921.
The major German gun control law (which was not replaced by the Nazis until 1938) was enacted by a center-right government in 1928. The law required a permit to acquire a gun or ammunition and a permit to carry a firearm. Firearm and ammunition dealers were required to obtain permits to sell and to keep a register of their sales. Also, persons who owned guns that did not have a serial number were ordered to have the dealer or manufacturer stamp a serial number on them. Permits to acquire guns and ammunition were to be granted only to persons of “undoubted reliability,” and carry permits were to be given “only if a demonstration of need is set forth.” Apparently police discretion cut very heavily against permit applicants. For example, in the town of Northeim, only nine hunting permits were issued to a population of 10,000 people.
In 1931, amidst rising gang violence (the gangs being Nazi and Communist youths), carrying knives or truncheons in public was made illegal, except for persons who had firearm carry permits under the 1928 law. Acquisition of firearms and ammunition permits was made subject to proof of “need.”
When the Nazis took power in 1933, they apparently found that the 1928 gun control laws served their purposes; not until 1938 did the Nazis bother to replace the 1928 law. The leaving of the Weimar law in place cannot be attributed to lethargy on the Nazis’ part; unlike some other totalitarian governments (such as the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia), the Nazis paid great attention to legal draftsmanship and issued a huge volume of laws and regulations. The only immediate change the Nazis made to the gun laws was to bar the import of handguns.
Shortly after the Nazis took power, they began house-to-house searches to discover firearms in the homes of suspected opponents. They claimed to find large numbers of weapons in the hands of subversives. How many weapons the Nazis actually recovered may never be known. But as historian William Sheridan Allen pointed out in his study of the Nazi rise to power in one town: “Whether or not all the weapon discoveries reported in the local press were authentic is unimportant. The newspapers reported whatever they were told by the police, and what people believed was what was more important than what was true.”
Four days after Hitler’s triumphant Anschluss of Austria in March 1938, the Nazis finally enacted their own firearms laws. Additional controls were layered on the 1928 Weimar law: Persons under eighteen were forbidden to buy firearms or ammunition; a special permit was introduced for handguns; Jews were barred from businesses involving firearms; Nazi officials were exempted from the firearms permit system; silencers were outlawed; twenty-two caliber cartridges with hollow points were banned; and firearms which could fold or break down “beyond the common limits of hunting and sporting activities” became illegal.
On November 9, 1938 and into the next morning, the Nazis unleashed a nationwide race riot. Mobs inspired by the government attacked Jews in their homes, looted Jewish businesses, and burned synagogues, with no interference from the police. The riot became known as “Kristallnacht” (“night of broken glass”). On November 11, Hitler issued a decree forbidding Jews to possess firearms, knives, or truncheons under any circumstances, and to surrender them immediately.
Nazi mass murders of Jews began after the invasion of the Soviet Union. Extermination camps were not set up until late 1941, so mass murder was at first accomplished by special S.S. units, Einsatzgruppen, on June 22, 1941. Working closely with regular army units, the Einsatzgruppen would move swiftly into newly-conquered areas, to prevent Jews from fleeing. In some cases, Jews were ordered to register with the authorities, an act which made them easy to locate for murder shortly thereafter. As noted above, most of the Soviet population had been disarmed by Lenin and Stalin or had never possessed arms in the first place. Raul Hilberg, a leading scholar of the Nazi military, summarizes that
The killers were well armed, they knew what to do, and they worked swiftly. The victims were unarmed, bewildered, and followed orders. It is significant that the Jews allowed themselves to be shot without resistance. In all reports of the Einsatzgruppen there were few references to “incidents.” The killing units never lost a man during a shooting operation. The Jews remained paralyzed after their first brush with death and in spite of advance knowledge of their fate.
How could Jews with “advance knowledge of their fate” allow themselves to be murdered? The authors suggest that
These Jews’ passivity doubtless was the result of centuries of victimization in Russia. They had come to believe that being victimized was normal. In most cases in Jewish experience, the victimizers were satisfied after the first few victims. In such situations, resisting was likely to prolong the victimization, and thus to increase the number of victims. Most Jews did not realize that the Nazis were different. Most Jews did not realize the Nazis had no use for living Jews.
On top of this tendency to accept being victimized, twenty years of Communist rule–of which Stalin’s terror had occupied ten years–had shown Jews that failure to obey orders was a fatal mistake.
Although many Jews remained passive throughout the Holocaust, some did not. In 1943, the Nazis attempted to commence the liquidation of the Warsaw ghetto. But as the Nazis moved in, members of the Jewish Fighting Organization opened fire. “The shock of encountering resistance evidently forced the Germans to discontinue their work in order to make more thorough preparations.” The revolt continued, leading Goebbels to note in his diary: “This just shows what you can expect from Jews if they lay hands on weapons.” Although the Jews of the Warsaw ghetto were eventually defeated, the Warsaw battle was perhaps the most significant ever for the Jews, according to Raul Hilberg: “In Jewish history, the battle is literally a revolution, for after two thousand years of a policy of submission the wheel had been turned and once again Jews were using force.”
There were other Jewish uprisings; even in the death camps of Sobibor and Treblinka, Jews seized arms from the Nazi guards and attempted to escape. A few succeeded, and more significantly, the camps were closed prematurely. The authors do not attempt to tell the complete story of Jewish guerilla resistance during World War II.
The German chapter is the most successful in the book. The perpetrators and the victims of Naziism both left extensive written records, allowing Simkin, Zelman, and Rice to integrate their always-strong textual analysis of the gun laws with a discussion of the actual impact of the laws on the lives of victims.
China, Red | 1949 – 1952 | 1957 – 1960 | 1966 – 1976
Gun Control Scheme:
Prison or death to “counter-revolutionary criminals” and anyone resisting any government program, Death penalty for supplying guns to such “criminals”.
Targets: Political Opponents; Rural populations; Enemies of the State
Civilians Killed: 20 – 35 Million
The China chapter is much less enlightening, mostly because the victims of Mao’s genocide, unlike Hitler’s, left much less of a record for Western historians to uncover. While many scholars agree that about one million people were murdered during the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), the number of people who were starved to death by Mao’s communization of the economy from 1957 to 1960 (“the Great Leap Forward”) might be as low as one million, or as high as thirty million.
Mao, like Hitler, inherited gun control from his predecessor’s regime. A 1912 Chinese law made it illegal to import or possess rifles, cannons, or explosives without a permit. The law was apparently aimed at the warlords who were contesting the central government’s authority; Chinese peasants were far too poor to afford guns. Communist gun control was not enacted until 1957, when the National People’s Congress outlawed the manufacture, repair, purchase, or possession of any firearm or ammunition “in contravention of safety provisions.”
Cambodia | 1975 – 1979
Gun Control Scheme:
Licenses for guns, owners, ammunition & transactions, Photo ID with fingerprints, License inspected quarterly.
Targets: Educated Persons; Political enemies
Civilians Killed: 2 Million
Historical data has demonstrated that every nation in the twentieth century which has perpetrated genocide has chosen a victim population which was disarmed. If the intended victims were not already “gun-free,” then the murderous governments first got rid of the guns before they attempted to begin the killing.
According to the American Civil Rights Union, “the Khmer Rouge never bothered to write their own gun control laws, relying instead on a number of statutes left over from the French colonial government. A series of 1956 laws, Articles 322-28 of the Penal Code, required licenses for ‘guns, owners, ammunition, and transactions,’ complete with photo ID and fingerprints.” In fact, “[g]un confiscation was at the top of the agenda for the Khmer Rouge. As soon as the Khmer Rouge took power, they immediately set out to disarm the populace.”
Also enjoying a comfortable post-genocide life is Pol Pot, the perpetrator of the best known mass-murders of the post-World War II era.
Cambodian gun control was a legacy of French colonialism. A series of Royal Ordinances, decreed by a monarchy subservient to the French, appears to have been enacted out of fear of the Communist and anti-colonial insurgencies that were taking place in the 1920s and 1930s throughout Southeast Asia, although not in Cambodia. The first law, in 1920, dealt with the carrying of guns, while the last law in the series, in 1938, imposed a strict licensing system. Only hunters could have guns, and they were allowed to own only a single firearm. These colonial laws appear to have stayed in place after Cambodia was granted independence. The Khmer Rouge enacted no new gun control laws, for they enacted no laws at all other than a Constitution.
Cambodia was a poor country, and few people could afford guns. On the other hand, the chaos that accompanies any war might have given some Cambodians the opportunity to acquire firearms from corrupt or dead soldiers. There is no solid evidence about how many Cambodians, with no cultural history of firearms ownership, attempted to do so.
As soon as the Khmer Rouge took power, they immediately set out to disarm the populace. One Cambodian recalls that
Eang [a woman] watched soldiers stride onto the porches of the houses and knock on the doors and ask the people who answered if they had any weapons. “We are here now to protect you,” the soldiers said, “and no one has a need for a weapon any more.” People who said that they kept no weapons were forced to stand aside and allow the soldiers to look for themselves. The round-up of weapons took nine or ten days, and once the soldiers had concluded the villagers were no longer armed, they dropped their pretense of friendliness. The soldiers said everyone would have to leave the village for a while, so that the troops could search for weapons; when the search was finished, they could return.
People being forced out of villages and cities were searched thoroughly, and weapons and foreign currency were confiscated. To the limited extent that Cambodians owned guns through the government licensing system, the names of registered gun owners were of course available to the new government.
The Cambodian genocide was unique in the twentieth century, in that its target was not a single ethnic, religious, or political group, but rather the entire educated populace. Lacking infrastructure for sophisticated Nazi-style extermination camps, the Khmer Rouge used the genocide methods which had been used by the Turkish government (internal deportations with forced marches designed to kill), the Soviet government (hard labor under conditions likely to kill), and the Guatemalan government (murders of targeted victims).
Like other victims of genocide, the Cambodians forced into slave labor were kept so desperately hungry that revolt became difficult to contemplate, as every thought focused on food. One slave laborer explained that
There was no possibility of an uprising. Contact between many people was made impossible by the chlops [informers]. Besides, we had no arms and no food. Even if we’d been able to produce arms and kill the fifty Khmer Rouge in the village, what would happen to us? We didn’t have enough food to build up any reserves to sustain a guerilla army. In our state of weakness, after a few days wandering in the jungle, death would have been inevitable.
The authors estimate that Pol Pot and his Khmer Rouge murdered about a million people, at least 14% of the Cambodian population. The percentage was about the same as the percentage of the Soviet population murdered by Stalin, except that Pol Pot accomplished in three-and-a-half years what took Stalin twenty.
The mass murders of the Khmer Rouge became well-known in the international community, but no nation made an effort to try to rescue the Cambodian people. Finally, Pol Pot was driven from power by a Vietnamese invasion that was motivated by imperialist, rather than humanitarian reasons.
Pol Pot’s fate was thus similar to Idi Amin’s: the world would tolerate genocide, but threatening the borders of a neighboring country would lead to the regime’s demise. According to the New York Times, “Pol Pot is today a free, prosperous and apparently unrepentant man who, 15 years after his ouster from Phnom Penh, continues to plot a return to power. The calls for some sort of international genocide tribunal for Pol Pot and his aides have not been heard for years.”
Guatemala | 1964 – 1981
Gun Control Scheme:
Register guns & owners, Licensing with high fees, Prohibit carrying guns, Bans on guns & sharp tools, Confiscation powers.
Targets: Mayans & other Indians; Political enemies
Civilians Killed: 100,000 – 200,000
Perhaps the most overlooked genocide of the twentieth century has been the Guatemalan government’s campaign against its Indian population. One reason that the genocide has attracted little attention may be that the Guatemalan government has been friendly to the United States.
Gun control in Guatemala has always been intimately tied to the military’s determination to maintain itself as the dominant institution in society. After taking power with a revolutionary army of just forty-five men, the Guatemalan government of 1871 speedily decreed the registration of all “new model” firearms. Registered guns were subject to impoundment whenever the government thought necessary. In 1873, firearms sales were prohibited, and firearms owners were required to turn their guns over to the government.
Apparently, the enforcement of the 1873 law began to wane. In 1923, General Jose Orellana, who had taken power in a coup a few years before, put into force a comprehensive gun control decree. The law barred most firearms imports, outlawed the carrying of guns in towns (except by government officials), required a license for carrying guns “on the public roads and railways,” set the fee for a carry license high enough so as to be beyond the reach of poor people, and prohibited ownership of any gun that could fire a military caliber cartridge.
In 1944, two officers led a revolt against the military government. “Distributing arms to students and civilian supporters, they soon gained control of the city [Guatemala City, the capital], and two days later Ponce [the dictator] resigned, though not before nearly a hundred people had died in the sporadic fighting.” The first free elections in half a century were held. The new government did not eliminate the gun control laws, but it did regularize the issuance of carry permits by specifying that the permits would be issued to an applicant who could “prove his good character by means of testimonials from two persons of known honesty.”
In 1952, the democratically-elected government of Jacobo Arbenz began an agrarian reform plan that expropriated large uncultivated estates. Compensation was based on the taxable value of the land. The United Fruit Company was angry at the seizure of 386,000 acres of the company’s reserve land in exchange for what the company considered inadequate compensation. In June 1954, a force of Guatemalan exiles, trained by the CIA, invaded Guatemala from Honduras. “Unable accurately to assess the situation in the capital, Arbenz resolved to do as he had done in 1944 and distribute weapons to the workers for the defense of the government. The army refused to obey, and on 27 June, Arbenz resigned . ”
Contrary to the assertion of the authors, it is unclear whether total repeal of the gun controls a decade before would have saved the democratic government. Firearms at a free-market price might still have been beyond the financial reach of the peasants and students in a very poor country. What might have made a difference, however, is the actual distribution of surplus military arms for free to the citizens of Guatemala while the democratic regime was in power. But such a policy was not implemented, and for all practical purposes, the military retained a monopoly of force. As the authors note, the monopoly “made Arbenz, a duly elected President, serve at the Military’s pleasure. When they wanted him to go, he went.”
In November 1960, reformist military officers attempted a coup and garnered the support of about half the army. Peasants, wanting to fight for their own land, asked the rebels for guns so that the peasants could join the battle; the rebels refused. The coup was finally crushed by loyalist forces who were supported by the United States. From the 1960s to the 1980s, the Guatemalan government found itself engaged in perpetual counterinsurgency campaigns. As part of these campaigns, right-wing terror squads were unleashed to murder suspected subversives, although regular army units also participated extensively. Approximately 100,000 Mayan Indians were murdered by the government during this period.
Amnesty International has waged a long and courageous campaign against human rights abuses in Guatemala. The authors reviewing Amnesty International’s proposals for restoring human rights to Guatemala, note that the group nowhere advocates recognition of a strong legal right to arms or the arming of the victim populations. Instead, Amnesty argues that the government should control itself better:
The government should also thoroughly review the present method of reporting and certifying violent deaths, particularly those resulting from actions taken by any person in an official capacity. The aim of such an inquiry should be to create procedures which will ensure that such deaths are reported to the authorities, who then impartially investigate the circumstances and causes of the deaths. All efforts should be made to identify the unidentified bodies that are found in the country and frequently buried only as “xx”, in order to determine time, place and manner of death and whether a criminal act has been committed.
Is the Amnesty proposal realistic? “It seems absurd,” write Simkin, Zelman, and Rice, “to appeal to so blood-drenched a government to ‘impartially investigate’ atrocities its officials have committed.”
The failure of the Guatemalan government to prosecute its agents for perpetrating government-sponsored genocide suggests that hopes for domestic legal reform may be of little use in actually stopping genocide. As the next two chapters illustrate, international law may be of little greater practical efficacy.
Uganda | 1970 – 1979
Gun Control Scheme:
Register all guns & owners, Licenses for transactions, Warrant less searches, Confiscation powers
Targets: Christians, Political enemies
Civilians Killed: 300,000
If international organizations such as the United Nations were ever going to intervene to stop a genocide in progress, Uganda in the 1970s would have been the ideal spot. Ugandan dictator Idi Amin was a world pariah with no powerful allies. He was generally regarded as insane (perhaps from advanced venereal disease) and his army was, by world power standards, pitiful. From 1990 to 1991, the United States assembled and led a worldwide coalition which easily drove Iraqi conquerors out of Kuwait. A multinational coalition conquest of Uganda would have been all the easier, since Idi Amin’s army was tiny compared to Saddam Hussein’s war machine. Kuwait, however, was a strategic oil resource, while Uganda had few resources other than the Ugandan people who were being slaughtered by their government. Although the existence of the Ugandan genocide was well-established as it was being perpetrated, the possibility of a multinational campaign to oust Idi Amin was never even a topic for serious discussion, whereas discussion about the reconquest of Kuwait began days after Iraqi tanks entered Kuwait.
Not once in this century has one nation or a coalition of nations launched a military action to stop a genocide in progress. It is true that wars have sometimes led to a genocidal regime being deposed; Tanzania ousted Amin, and the Allies defeated Hitler. But Tanzania and the Allies acted only because their territory had been invaded, not because they were moved to action by reports of the murders within Uganda or within Nazi Germany.
Notably, even when the Allies were engaged in all-out war against Hitler, they refused to take military action against the extermination camps, such as by bombing the rail lines that led to them. As historian Raul Hilberg writes, “The Allied nations who were at war with Germany did not come to the aid of Germany’s victims. The Jews of Europe had no allies. In its gravest hour Jewry stood alone, and the realization of that desertion came as a shock to Jewish leaders all over the world.” The people of Uganda likewise stood alone from 1971 to 1979, when Idi Amin’s dictatorship killed about 300,000 people, roughly 2.3% of the total population.
The authors began their study of Ugandan gun laws with a 1955 statute promulgated by the British imperial government, although this gun control law may not have been Uganda’s first.  Although the British/Ugandan law had the length and complexity typical of modern statutes, the essence was a provision requiring that a person could only possess a firearm if he had a permit, and the permit would be granted by the police only upon a discretionary finding regarding the applicant’s “fitness” to possess a firearm.
Uganda achieved independence in 1962, keeping the structure of the Colonial gun laws intact. In 1966, Milton Obote assumed dictatorial powers. In 1969, Obote tightened the gun laws, imposing a nationwide ban on firearms and ammunition possession, making exceptions only for government officials and for persons granted an exemption by the government. In 1970, the 1955 British gun law was recodified, with some minor changes.
Idi Amin took power in 1971, and the mass murders began shortly thereafter. The nation’s large Asian population was expelled (not murdered), and in the process the Ugandan government seized approximately a billion dollars’ worth of the Asians’ property. The main targets of the Ugandan government’s mass murders were members of tribes whom Amin perceived as a threat to his power. Because Uganda had far less of an infrastructure than Nazi Germany, the murders were perpetrated mostly by bands of soldiers who shot their victims, rather than through extermination camps.
Amin’s army numbered about 25,000 and his secret police–the “State Research Bureau”–only 3,000. The army was ill-disciplined and incompetent, and collapsed not long after Amin began his ill-advised war against Tanzania in late 1978. How could such a small and pathetic army get away with mass murder against a nation of thirteen million people? Is it possible that a disarmed Ugandan population was easier to murder than an armed one?
Idi Amin, by the way, now lives in Saudi Arabia. As far as I know, there has been no effort to extradite him and put him on trial for murder. With the exceptions of the rulers of the nations that lost World War II, none of the perpetrators of genocide in the 20th century have been prosecuted for crimes against humanity.
Rwanda | 1994
Gun Control Scheme:
Register guns, owners, ammunition, Owners must justify need, Concealable guns illegal, Confiscation powers
Targets: Tutsi people
Civilians Killed: 800,000
More recently, gun control promoted a genocide in Rwanda, where 800,000 were murdered in 119 days (7 April – 19 July 1994). Unlike the Nazis, the Rwandan murderers did not set-up murder facilities. Instead, village-level murder squads – armed with machetes and nail-studded clubs – sought out those, whom they knew to be Tutsi (the target ethnic group), and murdered them on the spot.
All Rwandan adults had to carry a national identity card, which stated the bearer’s ethnicity
The victims were defenseless, because Belgium bequeathed to Rwanda a “gun control” regime. Rwanda enacted its own “gun control” law, Decree-Law No. 12/79, 7 May 1979 published in the “Journal Officiel” (Official Journal), 1 June 1979, pp. 343-346, in French and Kinyarwanda. This law remains in force, as amended by Law No. 13/2000, 14 June 2000.
The intended victims – almost all of the Tutsi ethnicity – had been targeted in prior years. But because they could not get permits to acquire firearms, they were helpless when murder squads arrived.
A “lucky” few, with cash in their pockets, sometimes were able to pay their murderers to expend a bullet. Those without cash were slashed and/or had limbs hacked-off and were left to bleed to death. Many, who took refuge in churches and schools, were incinerated therein.
Rwanda’s post-genocide rulers have learned nothing: they maintain the “gun control” regime that promoted the 1994 genocide.
Australia | 2018
Gun Control Scheme:
Register guns, owners, ammunition, Owners must justify need, Concealable guns illegal, Confiscation powers
Targets: Law-abiding citizens
Civilians Killed: TBD
After any mass shooting someone will invoke the name “Australia” and raise the question, “Can Australia’s gun-control laws be a model for the United States?” This time the honor belonged to CNN’s Laura Smith-Spark, who recounts the circumstances that led to Australia’s current gun-control laws and outlines their provisions. The laws were passed after the Port Arthur massacre, a 1996 mass shooting in which one man killed 35 people. Australia outlawed semi-automatic rifles, certain categories of shotgun, and implemented strict licensing and registration requirements. The cornerstone of its new gun-control scheme, however, was a massive gun buyback program. The Australian government purchased 650,000 to one million guns with funds raised via a special tax.The Australian government purchased 650,000 to one million guns with funds raised via a special tax.
The Australian paradigm became popular in the wake of the Newtown, Connecticut, school shootings in 2012. USA Today, ABC News, Slate, the Washington Post, and the Christian Science Monitor were among the outlets that published articles urging Americans to look closely at the actions their antipodean cousins took after a similar tragedy. Nor are Americans the only ones who think we should heed the Australian example. Numerous Australians have expressed pride in their country’s gun laws by penning columns beseeching Americans to transport America’s gun laws from Down Under.
These articles all point to the reduction in the rate of gun deaths in Australia after the new system was established as its main achievement. But it is the policy that allowed that system to be established which holds the writers’ and consequently the reader’s attention. That policy is the gun buyback program, which removed up to one million weapons from Australians’ hands and homes. This was, depending on the estimate, a fifth to a third of Australia’s gun stock. The statistic does not seem remarkable as a raw number, but it is quite so when expressed as a percentage. No wonder commentators fixate on it. The problem is the way most of them tell that tale: when they describe Australia’s gun buyback program, almost none of them tell the truth about it.
The crucial fact they omit is that the buyback program was mandatory. Australia’s vaunted gun buyback program was in fact a sweeping program of gun confiscation. Only the articles from USA Today and the Washington Post cited above contain the crucial information that the buyback was compulsory. The article by Smith-Spark, the latest entry in the genre, assuredly does not. It’s the most important detail about the main provision of Australia’s gun laws, and pundits ignore it. That’s like writing an article about how Obamacare works without once mentioning the individual mandate.
Yet when American gun control advocates and politicians praise Australia’s gun laws, that’s just what they’re doing. Charles Cooke of the National Review shredded the rhetorical conceit of bellowing “Australia!” last year after President Obama expressed his admiration for gun control à la Oz:
You simply cannot praise Australia’s gun-laws without praising the country’s mass confiscation program. That is Australia’s law. When the Left says that we should respond to shootings as Australia did, they don’t mean that we should institute background checks on private sales; they mean that they we should ban and confiscate guns. No amount of wooly words can change this. Again, one doesn’t bring up countries that have confiscated firearms as a shining example unless one wishes to push the conversation toward confiscation.
Cooke, of course, is right. When gun control advocates say they want Australian gun control laws in the United States, what they are really saying is that they want gun confiscation in the United States.
It is interesting to note that as of November 2017, only 15 constitutions (in nine countries) “ever included an explicit right to bear arms.” They are from Bolivia, Costa Rica, Colombia, Honduras, Nicaragua, Liberia, Guatemala, Mexico, and the U.S. All of those countries, excluding Mexico, the U.S., and Guatemala, have since rescinded the constitutional right to bear arms.
Ultimately, “even a benign government that disarms its citizens leaves the population at the mercy of any future malevolent dictatorship.” Because of this, “citizens should be on their guard whenever politicians attempt to impose restrictions on gun ownership.”
A Nefarious Reason for Gun Control
As you can see from the data above, all 20th century genocide followed a pattern of gun control followed by various methods of banning. The obvious reason for gun control in these instances were to remove power form the opposition.
The entities who are planning totalitarian rule and/or genocide will ALWAYS take the guns.
Why Our 2nd Amendment Exists
This is the real reason why our 2nd Amendment to the United States Constitution exists. To protect ‘us’ we-the-people from such a government. Whosoever makes any attempt to diminish that defense is in my estimation a traitor to the founding principles of a free people.
I recently read a comment on another site which is related to today’s topic:
You can erase the second amendment from the Bill of Rights, but you cannot disarm the American public. Too many will not comply.
If another gun or another round of ammunition is not manufactured for private use from this day forward it will make no difference what so ever.
Hundreds of millions of guns and trillions of rounds of ammunition are in the hands of millions of people who believe that it is their God given right to be able to defend themselves from the dictatorship of the majority.
These people rightly understand that any effort to shred the Second Amendment breaches the social contract between the federalist and the anti federalist.
When the Constitution was first written, it was published in the nations news papers. It was cussed and discussed in the parlors, porches, pubs and pulpits in every state. It was not well received.
The statist who at the time marched under the banner of the Federalists quickly came to realize that their attempt to centralize power did not have enough support to be ratified if they could not get the anti federalists, the people who believed in state’s rights and popular sovereignty, on board.
It was at that time the statists made a gentleman’s agreement with the anti federalists to amend the Constitution and include a bill of rights protecting the individual from the dictatorship of the majority.
Break that agreement and the social contract is broken.
The only thing that stands between the dictatorship of the majority and the minority is the second amendment. Once the minority is disarmed, genocide is the inevitable consequence.
The Rush to Gun Control After a Shooting
As expected, within minutes and subsequent hours afterwards, politicians use violent people’s actions to further “gun control”. It happens every, single, time.
Reasonable people know and understand that mental, crazy, violent people will be able to get their hands on any weapon they desire, regardless of law.
Most reasonable people also know and understand that there will always be a element within human society which is capable of such things. We must be able to defend ourselves against it. Not to have our tools stripped away.
As a reasonable people we also know and understand history. And so did our fore fathers.
- Major Company Executives Seem to Be Quitting Their Jobs In Fear of the Ghislaine Maxwell Trial - December 1, 2021
- Newsmax Completely Sells Out and Forces Staff to Vaccinate or Be Fired - November 29, 2021
- The Elites Are Retaliating Against South Africa for Refusing COVID Restrictions - November 28, 2021