Confiscating Liberty

I first came upon Stephen P. Halbrook in 1984 when the University of New Mexico Press published his first book,That Every Man Be Armed: The Evolution of a Constitutional Right.  Since Halbrook had both a Ph.D. in philosophy and a law degree, my expectations were high.  I was not disappointed.  Moreover, by the time I had finished reading Halbrook, I was certain that he would become one of the leading authorities on the armed citizenry.  Time has proved that assessment correct: Not only is Halbrook now one of the most respected of gun-rights scholars in America, but he has also successfully argued Second Amendment cases before the U.S. Supreme Court.

In Gun Control in the Third Reich Halbrook takes us overseas to see how the Nazis used gun-restrictive laws to oppress people they deemed “enemies of the state.”  Halbrook is quick to point out something I learned from my older brother when I was still in high school: It was not the Nazis, as most people think, who instituted gun control in Germany during the 1930’s, but the Weimar Republic, beginning in December 1918 when it issued a decree authorizing the German states to set deadlines for surrender of arms.  Anyone in illegal possession of a firearm after his state’s deadline would be subject to five years’ imprisonment and a fine of 100,000 marks.  Another decree, issued in January 1919, declared that...

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