It's long been a meme of the NRA and their enablers (e.g., Alex Jones' tirade shown in the Daily Show clip I posted Wednesday) that an armed populace is the only thing standing between us and tyranny, and that Hitler "confiscated" all the privately-owned guns in Germany.
But did he really? I always "knew" -- without really knowing -- that it didn't happen that way, but Mother Jones has an article, Was Hitler Really a Fan of Gun Control? on that very subject:
As World War I drew to a close, the new Weimar Republic government banned nearly all private gun ownership to comply with the Treaty of Versailles and mandated that all guns and ammunition "be surrendered immediately." The law was loosened in 1928, and gun permits were granted to citizens "of undoubted reliability" (in the law's words) but not "persons who are itinerant like Gypsies." In 1938, under Nazi rule, gun laws became significantly more relaxed. Rifle and shotgun possession were deregulated and gun access for hunters, Nazi Party members, and government officials was expanded. The legal age to own a gun was lowered. Jews, however, were prohibited from owning firearms and other dangerous weapons.Read the whole thing for a healthy shot of historical reality. I'm sure I'll have a lot more to say on the issue as attempts to regulate firearms unfold.