Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Bob Schieffer And Godwin's Law

Cam Edwards of NRA News fisks Bob Schieffer of CBS News and his attempt to invoke Godwin's law with regard to the NRA. Godwin's Law states that the longer an online discussion goes on that the likelihood of someone invoking Hitler or the Nazis approaches one.

Schieffer said that if we could find and kill Osama bin Laden, pass civil rights, and defeat the Nazis then America surely could take on the easier task of defeating the gun lobby. The only problem is that as Cam points out the gun lobby isn't a bunch of gun manufacturers - it is you and me. So what Bob Schieffer really wants to do is to take away the civil rights of gun owning Americans just like that other group did in 1930s Germany.


  1. Or an apparently more saintly group did 10-15 years earlier in a much larger nation to the east.

    1. Windy,

      I'm not sure exactly what you're trying to point to, but just like the Nazis, if you're wanting to indict the Soviets and Stalin in particular for their gun-control laws, you need to be careful of your history.

      In October 1918, the Red government ordered the surrender of all firearms, ammunition and sabers. In 1920 they formalized a minimum penalty for unauthorized possession of a firearm to six months in prison. In 1925 that was modified to three months of hard labor and a 300 ruble fine, equivalent to about 4 months wages.

      Stalin made NO CHANGES to those laws.

      So, if you're talking about the 1920 laws, there's a serious historical problem in trying to use them as a basis for Stalin getting away with the Gulags. That wasn't the source of his success, nor was it preventable without the 1920's disarmament since so few Russians owned guns anyway.

      It's like saying that the 6 million Jews were killed by the Nazis because they took away the Jews's guns. The Jews never -had- guns to take away, and most German Jews were pacifists who wouldn't have owned a gun if you had handed it to them. The gun laws had little, if any, effect.

      When you are considering invoking any historic example of genocides, be it Germany or Russia or the killing fields of Cambodia or Uganda in the 1970's or Rwanda in the 90's, remember this very important point.

      In none of these was there a history of civilian firearms ownership.

      Historically, tyrants are tyrannizing populations of peasants. Peasants are seldom, if ever effectively armed, they are too poor.

  2. When you invoke the Nazi gun laws of 1938, it's one of the things you need to be very very careful of.

    In 1919, under the terms of the treaty of Versailles, the Weimar government passed a law that "all firearms, as well as all kinds of firearms ammunition, are to be surrendered immediately." Under the regulations, anyone found in possession of a firearm or ammunition was subject to five years' imprisonment and a fine of 100,000 marks.

    in 1928, they eased those restrictions and put into effect a strict firearm licensing scheme. Under this scheme, Germans could possess firearms, but they were required to have separate permits to own or sell firearms, carry firearms (including handguns), manufacture firearms, and professionally deal in firearms and ammunition.

    the 1938 Nazi firearms law --- INCREASED --- the access to guns for most Germans. It completely deregulated rifles, shotguns, and ammunition.

    It lowered the gun ownership age from 20 to 18.

    It extended permits validity from 1 to 3 years.

    It greatly expanded the list of people who did not NEED a permit.

    The absolutely --only-- thing that it did that is what gun folks keep talking about is that it totally forbid Jews from the manufacturing or dealing of firearms and ammunition.

    The thing to realize is, prior to the Nazi 1938 act, the 1928 law granted permits only to "...persons whose trustworthiness is not in question and who can show a need for a (gun) permit."

    For all practical purposes, no Jews were allowed guns PRIOR to 1938. The 1938 act just formalized them as a group, it didn't take guns away.

    That makes invoking it dangerous. Doing it wrong causes you to get back-slapped by history buffs.