There's an old saying: "The road to Hell is paved with good intentions", so wouldn't it be really ironic if a law created with the purpose of cutting back on the number of murders actually had the opposite effect?
Of course, there's another old saying: "Yew-juice is sovereign against snake-bite", which goes to show you that sometimes old sayings are just plain stupid. Sometimes good intentions turn out just fine, and sometimes laws don't have ironic outcomes.
But among the advocates of irony, the leading cause of 56 million needless deaths would seem to be gun control. Here's an account ledger that is reposted at several sites:
CONSIDER THIS... This is just part of the known tally ...
* In 1929 the Soviet Union established gun control. From 1929 to 1953, approximately 20 million dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
* In 1911, Turkey established gun control. From 1915-1917, 1.5 million Armenians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
* Germany established gun control in 1938 and from 1939 to 1945, 13 million Jews, gypsies, homosexuals, the mentally ill, and others, who were unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
* China established gun control in 1935. From 1948 to 1952, 20 million political dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
* Guatemala established gun control in 1964. From 1964 to 1981, 100,000 Mayan Indians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
* Uganda established gun control in 1970. From 1971 to 1979, 300,000 Christians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
* Cambodia established gun control in 1956. From 1975 to 1977, one million "educated" people, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
That places total victims who lost their lives because of gun control at approximately 56 million in the last century. Since we should learn from the mistakes of history, the next time someone talks in favor of gun control, find out which group of citizens they wish to have exterminated.
Well, right off the bat I can see that whoever compiled this tally has a different definition of defenseless than I do. I myself wouldn't declare the largest military machine on the planet "unable to defend itself", but by adding 20 million from the Soviet Union, this list does. After all, Stalin's most infamous terror fell heavily on the Soviet Army, culling tens of thousand of officers, and executing three out of five marshals, 15 out of 16 army commanders, 60 out of 67 corps commanders and 136 out of 199 division commanders. In one bloody year, the majority of the officer corps was led away quietly and shot. It may be one of life's great mysteries as to why the Red Army allowed itself to be gutted that way, but obviously, lack of firepower can't be the reason.
I am not sure that the assumption that Turkey's institution of "gun control" would have helped the Armenians either. One problem with "pro-gun" arguments is that they have the unspoken assumption that people owned guns prior to the enactment of these laws (such as comparisons to England and Australia). Usually, there wasn't wide spread gun ownership prior to the enactment of these laws, which is likely in the case of the Armenian genocide. Additionally, this happened during the First World War. The Armenians who were in the Ottoman Empire (which is now called Turkey) army were disarmed, but again, this sounds like what happened in the Soviet union.
The Third Reich did not need gun control (in 1938 or at any time for that matter) to maintain their power. The success of Nazi programs (restoring the economy, dispelling socio-political chaos) and the misappropriation of justice by the apparatus of terror (the Gestapo) assured the compliance of the German people. Arguing otherwise assumes a resistance to Nazi rule that did not exist. Further, supposing the existance of an armed resistance also requires the acceptance that the German people would have rallied to the rebellion. This argument requires a total suspension of disbelief given everything we know about 1930s Germany. Why then did the Nazis introduce this program? As with most of their actions (including the formation of the Third Reich itself), they desired to effect a facade of legalism around the exercise of naked power. It is unreasonable to treat this as a normal part of lawful governance, as the rule of law had been entirely demolished in the Third Reich. Any direct quotations, of which there are several, that pronounce some beneficence to the Weapons Law should be considered in the same manner as all other Nazi pronouncements - absolute lies.
A more farfetched question is the hypothetical proposition of armed Jewish resistance. First, they were not commonly armed even prior to the 1928 Law. Second, Jews had seen pogroms before and had survived them, though not without suffering. They would expect that this one would, as had the past ones, eventually subside and permit a return to normalcy. Many considered themselves "patriotic Germans" for their service in the first World War. These simply were not people prepared to stage violent resistance. Nor were they alone in this mode of appeasement. The defiance of "never again" is not so much a warning to potential oppressors as it is a challenge to Jews to reject the passive response to pogrom. Third, it hardly seems conceivable that armed resistance by Jews (or any other target group) would have led to any weakening of Nazi rule, let alone a full scale popular rebellion; on the contrary, it seems more likely it would have strengthened the support the Nazis already had. Their foul lies about Jewish perfidy would have been given a grain of substance. To project backward and speculate thus is to fail to learn the lesson history has so painfully provided.
Just a few steps down, we can trim another 20 million from our total. Take a look at China, 1935. Picture, if you will, a long, peaceful line of naive little natives queueing up to dump their guns into an industrial smelter, while off to the side, a bureaucrat with a clipboard checks their names off the list. That's the image this list would like to create. The problem is, in 1935 China was in the midst of the Age of Warlords. Even if you know nothing about Chinese history, just the name "Age of Warlords" should tip you off. It was a pistol packer's paradise, a lawless Wild West where all power flowed from the barrel of a gun.
But it's not just the ready availability of guns in China that contradicts the Big Tally. No, it's just as important what everyone was doing with all those guns -- fighting for supremacy, fighting against the Communists, fighting the Japanese. In other words, gun control or not, everyone who had a side to take had already taken sides. Everyone who wanted a gun already had a gun. The enemies of the state who were killed after 1949 weren't defenseless; they were just plain beaten.
This is what I call the Cold-Dead-Hands Test. If the only way to get someone's gun is to pry it from their cold, dead hands (literally or figuratively), that's not gun control. When Grant disarmed the Confederates at Appomattox, that wasn't gun control; that was taking prisoners. When the Soviets disarmed the remnants of the German 6th Army at Stalingrad, that wasn't gun control either. Mao didn't come to power in China by tricking the populace into surrendering their arms. He pummeled his well-armed opponents in a stand-up fight. There's a big difference between unable to fight back, and fighting back but losing.
It's just as hard to label the Cambodians defenseless when you remember that they had just spent five years and a half million lives trying to stop the Khmer Rouge. It's also hard to call the Guatemalans defenseless when it took a 30-year civil war to rack up their body count. Even most of the victims of Hitler went down kicking and screaming. The majority of the Jews and Gypsies were hunted down in countries like Poland and Russia that had been overrun in open battle, and if they were lacking guns, it certainly wasn't German laws that created the situation.
Frankly, this list is a pitifully weak argument against gun control, simply because most of the victims listed here did fight back. In fact, if there's a real lesson to be learned from this roster of oppressions, it's that sometimes a heavily armed and determined opposition is just swept up and crushed -- guns or no guns.