The Anti-Defamation League has released a press statement requesting that the debate over responsible gun ownership stop misusing Nazi imagery.
The ADL explained that pundits are mistakenly “relying on factually incorrect premises and exaggerations.” The ADL said the political debate over gun control has been “tainted by inappropriate invocations of Hitler, Nazis, and general Holocaust imagery.”
The gun lobby and its supporters are being taken to task by the ADL for the constant comparison of Obama’s proposed policies to Hitler. Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director and a Holocaust survivor said, "The idea that supporters of gun control are doing something akin to what Hitler's Germany did to strip citizens of guns in the run-up to the Second World War is historically inaccurate and offensive, especially to Holocaust survivors and their families."
The crux of the pro-gun lobby position is that the Second Amendment protects the nation against a tyrannical government. They argue that a well-armed citizenry acts as a check on the potential for violent government overreach. They often cite the disarmament of the Jewish population in Nazi Germany during World War II as an example of what happens when a citizenry is forced to give up its weapons. However the ADL takes issue with this interpretation. They found these comparisons are misplaced and offensive. The ADL notes that there were so few guns in the hands of so few German Jews that any attempt at resisting the Nazi war machine would have been symbolic at best. The ADL explained “the small number of personal firearms in the hands of the small number of Germany’s Jews (about 214,000) remaining in Germany in 1938 could in no way have stopped the totalitarian power of the Nazi German state.”
The ADL describes itself as "the nation's premier civil rights/human relations agency", the ADL states that it "fights anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry, defends democratic ideals and protects civil rights for all," doing so through "information, education, legislation, and advocacy."
The ADL frowns on the usage of Holocaust analogies in general. Foxman once remarked: “The Holocaust and Hitler should not be part of the discussion over which party is best equipped to lead this country for the next four years.” The ADL actively and aggressively fights against the inappropriate usage of Holocaust imagery and analogies. They have taken stands against Democrats and Republicans on a range of issues e.g. abortion, LGBT, and animal rights for offensive usage of Holocaust imagery. The organization wants to remind “while Holocaust analogies generate headlines and get attention, they do little in the service of truth, history, or memory.”
In this press release they specifically cite examples from noted conservative and libertarian pundits and news outlets like Sean Hannity, Andrew Napolitano, and the Drudge Report as being examples of opinions that contain inappropriate and offensive language.
The ADL position is to remind everyone that “gun control did not cause the Holocaust; Nazism and anti-Semitism did.”