After a National Rifle Association lobbyist equated a proposal to expand background checks to the Nazi policies of Adolf Hitler, a prominent guns rights activist defended the offensive comparison and took it further, comparing gun registration to the Nazi practice of tattooing Jews with identification numbers.
The NRA is under fire after its Washington state lobbyist Brian Judy was heard telling opponents of the state's background check proposal that one of the proposal's primary supporters, who is Jewish, is “stupid” because “he's put half-a-million dollars toward this policy, the same policy that led to his family getting run out of Germany by the Nazis.” Judy went on to mock the intelligence of Jewish individuals who support gun safety.
Now Alan Gottlieb, founder of the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) and the chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA), is coming to Judy's defense.
Gottlieb reacted to Judy's comments on Seattle's CBS affiliate, saying “I don't see anything wrong with those remarks,” before comparing the “registration” of Jews with number tattoos during the Holocaust to firearm registration:
ESSEX PORTER, KIRO 7: You're Jewish, are those remarks appropriate?
GOTTLIEB: I don't see anything wrong with those remarks. I mean it's a historical fact that Adolf Hitler registered people's firearms and then confiscated them.
PORTER: Gottlieb says many gun owners see it this way.
GOTTLIEB: Gun owners don't like the idea that Jewish people had to have, you know, numbers tattooed and registered on their arms. They don't like the fact that they have gun owners that get registered either.
To be clear, the background check initiative in Washington state does not include the registration of firearms, and civil rights organization Anti-Defamation League has repeatedly explained that there is no valid comparison between gun safety proposals and the Holocaust.
While lacking the national profile of the NRA's Wayne LaPierre -- other than when he proposed holding a “Guns Save Lives Day” on the one-year Newtown anniversary -- Gottlieb has been involved in the gun rights movement for decades. CCRKBA played a role in the U.S. Senate fight over background checks in 2013 and SAF is prolific in its Second Amendment litigation.
As Alex Seitz-Wald, then a reporter for Salon, noted in an article debunking common claims from the NRA and conservative media about Hitler and guns, “the notion that Hitler confiscated everyone's guns is mostly bogus. And the ancillary claim that Jews could have stopped the Holocaust with more guns doesn't make any sense at all if you think about it for more than a minute.”