Talk:Gun control/Archive 15

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Authoritarianism and gun control RFC

Procedural close. See my comment at the bottom.
The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

  1. Are authoritarian uses of gun control (in particular Nazi, but others as well) sufficiently sourced by reliable sources (See list of possible nazi sources [[1]])
  2. Is coverage of such gun control appropriate for inclusion in the Gun Control article


  • Yes and yes, as nominator. Gaijin42 (talk) 16:26, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Yes to both, at least a paragraph. With all those refs it could have it's own article. Though a lot more links to (or, if not available, quotes from) sources on your talk page would help advance your argument. Carolmooredc (Talkie-Talkie) 16:35, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
  • 1. Yes and 2. Yes - Well sourced examples of gun control in authoritarian and totalitarian regimes (all regimes for that matter), both present and historical, are appropriate in an article of this nature.-Justanonymous (talk) 16:32, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Yes and yes. Well sourced and relevant. --GRuban (talk) 16:38, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Nein & Nyet. SPECIFICO talk 16:42, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
Comment This is the english language Wikipedia. Please use english language. Also the use of German and Russian in a topic that touches the holocaust could seen as an affront and be misconstrued or construed as a hate speech. We might want to remove this vote in a non English language. -Justanonymous (talk) 16:44, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
That's ridiculous. It would take a seriously warped mind to construe an emphatic "nyet" as "hate speech". No one is being oppressed here. Drmies (talk) 17:58, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
Ditto. Chill out. a13ean (talk) 19:08, 18 December 2013 (UTC)
  • No. Wikipedia is not a platform for propaganda put about by fringe elements of the NRA. The suggestion that firearms regulation was in any way a significant issue in the establishment on Nazi control of Germany is entirely rejected by all serious historians - and the efforts of crude pro-gun propagandists to imply a linkage should accordingly be treated as the pseudohistorical fringe viewpoint it is. Which is to say, ignored entirely. AndyTheGrump (talk) 16:52, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
gee, look at all those contemporary news sources like the new york times and le monde discussing jewsish disarmament. I had no idea the NRA had such influence back then! Gaijin42 (talk) 16:54, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
Why is the NRA being mentioned? Andy you wouldn't be looking to suppress historical facts just because you don't agree with them would you? THis is not about politics. It's about an article, the facts, notability, and Wikipedia. If you have an agenda, please leave it hanging on the hook by the door when you came in.-Justanonymous (talk) 17:05, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
Yes, I have an 'agenda' - to see that Wikipedias coverage of firearms regulation issues isn't abused by factions of the U.S. gun lobby, as has repeatedly been the case here. And as for history, you appear not to know the slightest thing on the subject, otherwise you wouldn't be repeating the falsehoods already made regarding Nazi Germany - where the Nazis actually relaxed firearms regulation, except as part of a general process of removing citizenship rights from specific sectors of the population. That is the real history, as written by real historians, rather than by pro-gun propagandists. AndyTheGrump (talk) 05:54, 17 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Yes & Yes It should be straightforward coverage of history and situations. North8000 (talk) 17:01, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Obviously not. Anyone remotely familiar with the topic can see that the "History" section was put together in order to paint supporters of gun control in the worst light possible. This is not how Wikipedia should be written. The section clearly needs to be completely re-written from beginning to end with the goal of neutral description and the use of good sources rather than the indefensible hack job we have now. — goethean 17:04, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
The need for a rewrite and editing is an entirely different topic than that under discussion in the RFC which is if the information should be included (or as you argue, excluded by policy). That the current content may be poor is not a valid reason the say the information cannot be included in some other form. Gaijin42 (talk) 17:08, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
Well, what we have here is a piece of shit article written with the very worst of intentions and which flagrantly violates Wikipedia's core policy. You insist that the very worst part of it must stay. Your insistence on keeping the very worst of a very bad article is what is standing in the way of a better article. — goethean 17:27, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Yes - and so noted in many reliable sources [2], not even listed so far and Yes for that same reason. Ascribing scholarly articles and authors to being from "fringe elements of the NRA" would require specific and strong sourcing per WP:BLP. Collect (talk) 17:13, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
    • Collect, you know who Stephen Halbrook is, right? (...not really considered to be a neutral player in this game, to put it mildly.) Drmies (talk) 18:02, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
Welcome to the discussion Drmies ;) As you are no doubt aware, reliable sources are not required to be neutral or objective, but in any case, per the link in my RFC post halbrook is but one of the many sources discussing this topic :) Gaijin42 (talk) 18:05, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
...and you seem to have deliberately avoided using neutral sources when plenty are available, instead using one which supports an extreme political ideology. — goethean 18:15, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Thanks Gaijin. But let me note that my "opposite" of "the Nazis used gun control to oppress the Jews" isn't "the Nazis didn't use gun control to oppress the Jews, but rather "I don't see how it matters". For starters, wouldn't we need to know what gun ownership among German Jews was, relative to that among non-Jewish Germans, so we could figure out if any of that mattered in the first place? One of your sources in that list notes that Nazis went around doing house searches for "guns and papers"--wanna guess what they were most likely to find, and what was more dangerous to own and to be caught with? (And seriously, published in a real journal or not, we should avoid citing clearly and self-identified partisan sources.) Drmies (talk) 18:52, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
It is not up to Wikipedia to say why something matters or does not matter to any observer -- only that if a scholarly source states that it appears to matter to the source, and that such a position is given due weight in the article. In the case at hand, the person does not appear to be an "NRS nutcase", and thus the claim must be presented in the article. And IIRC Wikipedia does not require all sources to be "neutral" so if you find that a strong reason, then I suggest you try amending WP:RS - I think the exercise might have interesting results. [3] presents the view that Hitler actually eased gun restrictions ("The law did prohibit Jews and other persecuted classes from owning guns, but this should not be an indictment of gun control in general. " sure looks like a large percentage of the population was outright banned from gun possession from here, but YMMV). The comment about the Versailles Treaty-imposed confiscation of guns seems a tad useless in this argument, to be sure. Cheers -- WP:RS is policy whether one likes an author or not. Collect (talk) 21:03, 16 December 2013 (UTC)

  • Yes --but it would have to be rewritten to include non-authoritarian regimes that practice gun control. Markewilliams (talk) 17:41, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Clearly not Wikipedia is not an advocacy platform for fringe NRA elements trying to sell historical revisionism about gun control. MilesMoney (talk) 17:40, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Yes & Yes. There are two approaches to gun control. One approach would be to simply outlaw types of firearms much as land mines are being outlawed. The second is to restrict ownership and/or use of such firearms to a privileged class of individuals. Where the second type of gun control is utilized, it is entirely appropriate to describe the origins of the class differentiation and any subsequent class behavior modifications of the armed and disarmed populations. The second type of gun control will inevitably generate divergent points of view depending upon perception of the privileged class by the person stating that point of view.Thewellman (talk) 17:44, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
  • No and well that depends. See below. Drmies (talk) 18:06, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Recuse: My only previous involvement on this topic was as a Dispute Resolution Noticeboard Volunteer, and I only volunteer to work on cases where I am neutral. I really do not favor one side or the other in this dispute. I do, however, insist that whatever the result of this RfC is, all sources used must conform to WP:RS and the article must conform to WP:NPOV and WP:WEIGHT. These are community standards and can not be overridden by an RfC on a particular dispute.
I would also strongly suggest that this should be evaluated and closed by an uninvolved administrator with experience in closing controversial RfCs, and that the closer also look at Talk:Gun control/Archive 3#RFC: Section on Association of Gun control with authoritarianism, Wikipedia:Dispute resolution noticeboard/Gun Control, Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Archive251#Conflict around Gun control, and Wikipedia talk:Dispute resolution noticeboard/Archive 13#Gun Control DR/N in order to get a fuller picture of what the community consensus is. --Guy Macon (talk) 19:07, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
In addition to the list of discussions given by Guy Macon I would recommend the previous RFC on almost the same topic Talk:Gun_control/Archive_5#RFCGaijin42 (talk) 02:16, 19 December 2013 (UTC)
Good catch. I missed that one. Yes, it should be looked at as well. --Guy Macon (talk) 07:27, 19 December 2013 (UTC)
  • No Gundamentalists in the U.S. routinely bring up the false view that the nazis came to power through gun control and people who support gun control are therefore like nazis. WP:FRINGE dictates that we do not provide parity of this view with what informed sources say. TFD (talk) 19:24, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
That's a very strong bias you have. I agree in part that there is a nuanced and complex story to be told regarding Nazi-ism and their slaughtering of 6million souls. We can't keep one aspect of this out just because it doesn't line up perfectly with our agenda.-Justanonymous (talk) 19:27, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
  • No. Goethean's first comment in the threaded discussion pretty much sums up my thoughts on this matter. Gamaliel (talk) 19:46, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Yes the use of gun control by Nazi Germany (and other authoritarian regimes) is a historical fact, and we shouldn't censor history in order to try to paint gun control in a more positive light. Hitler and Mao are both on the record stating that the disarmament of their opposition was an important means to their political ends. ROG5728 (talk) 00:36, 17 December 2013 (UTC)
    • Please cite that record, if you can. Drmies (talk) 04:38, 17 December 2013 (UTC)
I already cited both of those quotes earlier in this discussion. ROG5728 (talk) 09:26, 17 December 2013 (UTC)
You're citing table talk there, for Hitler. And it works both ways: you focus only on denying guns to certain parties, where it's just as valid to point at the other side--allowing guns to other parties. On that same talk page you said "The fact that the Nazis relaxed their gun laws for the rest of the population is not relevant to the issue of the Holocaust or the massacre of the Jews," which is nothing but an opinion, and a rather baffling one at that. You'd have to prove, if you wanted to make this stick, that disarming Jews had some kind of relevant impact on the Holocaust. Drmies (talk) 16:20, 17 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Duh and duh, otherwise known as yes and yes. Seriously? Nazis rather famously restricted the availability of guns, right? So is that not relevant to an article on policies restricting the availability of guns? Red Slash 01:09, 17 December 2013 (UTC)
    • They didn't--at least not as verified by reliable sources. Drmies (talk) 04:38, 17 December 2013 (UTC)
    • Red Slash, even the sources cited here make it clear that the weapons were seized by pogrom, not "policy" in any civic sense related to what we call "policy". SPECIFICO talk 19:23, 17 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Yes and yes per nominator Chris Troutman (talk) 19:02, 17 December 2013 (UTC)
  • 1: No as regards Nazi Germany (as regards "other authoritarian regimes" see my comment immediately below). Any and all sources that I have seen refer to the restriction of the possession of guns by Jews in Nazi Germany, not to a general gun control policy. This is, of course, what is dealt with in the article, and this is reflected in the section heading: "Nazi disarmament of German Jews". 2: No. Keeping guns out of the hands of an ethnic minority for the purpose of their repression does not fall within the remit of the article as spelled out in the article lead. Scolaire (talk) 19:24, 17 December 2013 (UTC)
    • So it is your position that in general, laws about X that are discriminatorally targeted at group Y are not actually laws about X? Gaijin42 (talk) 19:28, 17 December 2013 (UTC)
      • That's a leading question and I decline to answer it. If you want to take it up in the discussion section, feel free. Scolaire (talk) 20:23, 17 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Comment: The inclusion in the RfC questions of the phrase "in particular Nazi, but others as well" is a red herring. The ongoing discussion has hinged on Nazis and Jews, not on some vague all-encompassing concept of authoritarianism. In the article as it stands, Tsarist Russia is dealt with very differently to Nazi Germany. Whether the treatment of Tsarist Russia is appropriate is a question worthy of discussion, but the two should not be linked as they are in the two questions. Scolaire (talk) 19:24, 17 December 2013 (UTC)
  • No Coverage of Nazi gun laws is inappropriate in this article per Drmies and others. GabrielF (talk) 05:46, 18 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Yes - We've had this discussion before (I've lost count) and there are clearly reliable sources that talk about it. That there's a debate about the causal link between these regimes and their policies is not a reason to remove all mention of them, which is apparently the goals of some. Shadowjams (talk) 06:12, 19 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Yes and yes. Documented well enough to include and relevant enough. Niteshift36 (talk) 13:48, 19 December 2013 (UTC)
  • No and No This is a mischaracterization of gun control laws. The aim of the Nazis was to deprive American German Jews of all rights, not to restrict gun ownership among its population (it generally relaxed gun control laws). This is like saying that the Founding Fathers were adamant advocates of gun control because they deprived blacks of gun ownership. The issue is the ant-Semitism, not the guns. Steeletrap (talk) 19:55, 19 December 2013 (UTC)
    • Did you mean to say "deprive German Jews of all rights"? Scolaire (talk) 20:14, 19 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Strong yes to both Meets all relevant criteria for inclusion, the sourcing is especially solid, and would make a useful addition to this topic area. Roccodrift (talk) 23:21, 19 December 2013 (UTC)

*Yes...sort of ... Some, at least, of the secondary sources listed, principally, Halbrook, meet Wikipedia's low threshold for consideration as reliable sources. The mass of other primary documents (including contemporary newspaper reports) really don't belong in that list and are not useful in this context. However, the interpretation of Halbrook has to be treated with extreme care especially as it has not been published in any peer-reviewed history journal and it has not been examined by those with true expertise in the history of the holocaust and independent of the US gun control debate. Nor can one find Halbrook's work, or that of any other author advancing such an analogous theory, cited in any significant treatment of the holocaust. This is not surprising as Halbrook's work is not really an engagement with the history of Nazi Germany and the holocaust so much as its instrumentalisation to meet present-day political needs in an American context. For what its worth, his thesis looks extremely weak to me as, so far as I can determine, it doesn't seem to provide a realistic estimate of the actual amount of firearms surrendered by German Jews following the enactment of the 1938 law nor the likihood of an uprising or of its success in a period well before the actual genocide had commenced. As to the second question, No, unless or until ... it can be properly determined what the actual subject of this article is and, if included, these sources can be properly contextualised. While the title seems clear enough, the actual content doesn't appear to correspond. If you consult a scholarly citation database like Web of Knowledge, the most significant publications in this area deal with topics like the impact of gun control on suicide and homicide rates (fairly recent studies available for the US and Austria) or various social and cultural correlates with advocacy for "gun rights". So I think the first thing that should be done is a weighting of the sources, especially scholarly sources, to determine the proper content of this article (once it is worked out what the actual subject is). Also, Halbrook et al., and the general invocation of Nazism as a historical analogy for proposed US firearm regulation should be understood and contextualised as a relatively parochial debate with limited application outside of the US (some limited applicability in Brazil and Switzerland, perhaps). In most other countries it just doesn't have the same political saliency and is largely irrelevant to the question of gun control in these regions. It would seem to me, therefore, to be most appropriate for an article on the US gun control debate rather than anything else. Further, if these sources are to be included they need proper contextualisation in terms of the US gun control debate (e.g. when did the Nazi historical analogy first enter the American debate - 1968?) they need to be attributed to specific authors and, where appropriate, advocacy groups. That would mean locating reasonable neutral independent sources that evaluate the whole gun control debate in the US (and elsewhere where appropriate - can't really think of anywhere else barring Brazil) that would guide editors in constructing content. The current placement of this historical material in the article is really inappropriate. Saying it is "factual" misses the point that the way facts are assembled, contextualised (or not) and related presents a certain interpretative narrative of events in what is an argument about gun control (rather than the holocaust or whatever). FiachraByrne (talk) 00:35, 20 December 2013 (UTC)

  • No & No (change of vote from above). I now regard this RFC as specifically addressing the use of the Hitlerian historical analogy in relation to gun control rather than the wider topic of authoritarianism and gun control (see [4]). I can no longer regard Halbrook as in any sense a reliable source for this topic as: a) his thesis constitutes an exceptional claim which requires the support of high-quality reliable sources; b) the works cited appear in non-peer reviewed US law journals [5] (I would regard these sources as RS for aspects of US law but not for subjects such as the Holocaust) and hence this work was not vetted by experts in the history of the holocaust prior to publication; c) Halbrook's publications have had no impact on the scholarly literature on the holocaust where he is entirely uncited [6] (a point Halbrook acknowledges in his statement that gun control is: "a topic in Holocaust studies that has been assiduously avoided or neglected" p. 115; d) as his historical thesis is so fringe as to have no presence in the relevant scholarly literature editors cannot relate this fringe view to the mainstream history of the holocaust as they are directed to do in the guideline on fringe topics which states: "For a fringe view to be discussed in an article about a mainstream idea, reliable sources must discuss the relationship of the two as a serious matter." It is my opinion, therefore, that neither Halbrook's reductio ad Hitlerum should be included in the article nor should a selective, decontextualised presentation of facts relating to Nazi Weapon Laws in the late 1930s be allowed to stand which might suggest without explicitly stating Halbrook's theory (which is the current case and should be regarded as a circumvention of the WP guideline relating to fringe and the WP policy on neutral point of view). FiachraByrne (talk) 02:52, 2 January 2014 (UTC)
  • Comment- Issue 1:- Question one seems to make little sense in light of the use of the Nazi state as the example. It appears from the sources that the Nazi's liberalized gun laws; rather, the Nazi state would be an example, in this sphere, of being less authoritarian but racist -- in the extreme -- in thier poilcy. Issue 2: For issues of weight, we generally turn to high quality WP:Tertiary sources to come to some consensus on weight. Unfortuantely, I see little discussion of such literature above. Note, there is at least one general audience encyclopedia article [7]; the editors here might want to find other tertiary sources (high quality general reveiw articles, general histories and the like) and particiapte at the dispute resolution noticeboard to come up with something you can all live with. Alanscottwalker (talk) 17:56, 20 December 2013 (UTC)
Actually we assign weight based on all reliable sources, not by attempting to mirror other encyclopedias. Gaijin42 (talk) 18
17, 20 December 2013 (UTC)
And tertiary sources are used as reliable sources, to among other things come to consensus on undue weight, per WP:Tertiary sources. Alanscottwalker (talk) 21:58, 20 December 2013 (UTC)
  • No. The article has broader problems; this cherrypicking of history to fit a contemporary POV is just one of the more obvious symptoms. bobrayner (talk) 16:23, 21 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Do you know who also banned guns? The Nazis. That this kind of reasoning isn't something we should have should be obvious. The sources are pretty good, and inclusion is ok, but it is a question of due weight. If we don't apply due weight, we're pushing a POV - and the way it looks now is almost as I just phrased it. Martijn Hoekstra (talk) 16:59, 21 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Comment - The Jews' weapons and other property were confiscated by force. To call that "gun control" policy is like calling referring to abortion as "birth control". Anyway, could you please indicate your yes or no for this poll? Thanks. SPECIFICO talk 17:20, 21 December 2013 (UTC)
  • not really, because this is not a simple yes or no answer. Would you prefer it if I moved it down to threaded discussion? Martijn Hoekstra (talk) 18:52, 21 December 2013 (UTC)
Well, keep in mind that although it may not be simple, the WP:BURDEN is on those who would vote "yes". Thanks. SPECIFICO talk 18:59, 21 December 2013 (UTC)
Polls may be evil, but if you ignore !votes such as this one, the article's content may be determined by those who do not ignore them. — goethean 19:31, 21 December 2013 (UTC)
That's a big if. I am going to assume that the poor sod who's going to have to close this discussion is going to read what is written, and not ignore !votes like this one. Martijn Hoekstra (talk) 19:38, 21 December 2013 (UTC)
  • No and no. It would have been better to raise the sourcing issue at WP:RSN. The sources listed are virtually all primary ones. Due weight would need to be shown and I can't see that this is relevant. Itsmejudith (talk) 18:16, 21 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Yes and yes. The first question in this RFC is: "Are authoritarian uses of gun control (in particular Nazi, but others as well) sufficiently sourced by reliable sources?" Let's consider this sentence: "Gun regulations were among the anti-Semitic laws, regulations, and acts of civil violence enacted by the Nazi regime against Germans whom it considered Jewish,[20][21][22] and were used by Hitler's government to disarm the Jewish population.[21][22][23][24][25][26][27]" That's certainly a lot of sources, but let's look at the sources specifically:
  • Bernard E. Harcourt, April 5, 2004: Hitler and Gun Registration p671 Retrieved 2012-12-16
  • Rummel,RJ, Death by Government (1994) Transaction Publishers, New Jersey, pp. 111-122, ISBN 1-56000-145-3.
  • Stephen Halbrook, 17 Arizona Journal of International and Comparative Law, 2000: Nazi Firearms Law and the Disarming of the German Jews p509-513 Retrieved 2012-12-16.
  • Courts Law and Justice. p. 119. Retrieved 2013-06-18.
  • A Complete History of the Holocaust. Retrieved 2013-06-18. page68.
  • Geoffrey, Mitchell. 48 Hours of Kristallnacht.pages 9,33,82.
  • Polsby, Daniel. "Of Holocausts and Gun Control". Washington University Law Quarterly.p1237.
  • Guns in American Society, An Encyclopedia of History, Politics, Culture, and the Law. Sec 2.
Most of these seem like reliable sources. The most interesting and controversial question would be: "Was the Nazi disarmament of the Jews a significant factor contributing to the holocaust?" That question does not seem to be addressed by the present Wikipedia article, nor by this RFC, so I venture no opinion about it.Anythingyouwant (talk) 20:15, 21 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Yes and no The sources seem fine, but to me, it's a question of due weight. Given the length of the section already, and the apparent number of interested editors, I think someone should consider starting an article on the history of gun control, where discussion of Nazi Germany laws would of course be totally appropriate. On another note, one thing that I think would help the current article would be to switch the first two sentences of the Nazi Germany section. Orser67 (talk) 15:52, 22 December 2013 (UTC)
  • No and No What the Nazis did is not what is generally considered to be gun control - it was restricted to one persecuted section of society. And No to its inclusion for the obvious reasons so well stated above - basically this article shouldn't be used to push the NRA position in this way. Dougweller (talk) 16:07, 22 December 2013 (UTC)
The gun restrictions of the Nazis were certainly not what we today would consider acceptable gun control, but nevertheless they were literally the "control" of "guns". I don't see any reliable sources that say that a law isn't "gun control" as long as it allows someone to still carry a gun. I must also say that I find it rather propagandistic to suddenly adopt some extremely narrow definition of gun control just so that the Nazi actions don't fall under it. (This is quite similar to Wikipedia's decision to adopt an unusually narrow definition of "abortion" that excludes post-viability abortions from the definition.) Make no mistake, there is propaganda coming from both sides of this gun control thing. The best solution here ultimately will be to have a comprehensive article on the History of gun control that takes a thorough approach with appropriate balancing of POVs, and then this article can have a brief summary of that article, with or without a mention of the Nazis. And, incidentally, I do think it's very plausible that more Jews would have assassinated more Nazi officials if they had not been disarmed, but it's impossible to say with certainty whether that would have even slightly reduced the Jewish bodycount.Anythingyouwant (talk) 09:11, 23 December 2013 (UTC)
  • No and No. Having now perused a couple of recent books specifically about gun control none of them mention Nazi germany with more than a sentence. There is a lot more information about contemporary gun control policies in Germany and other European countries. User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 19:34, 22 December 2013 (UTC)
  • No, No and No Responding to the invitation to participate in this discussion, I was appalled by the insistence of some editors that a comment about Nazi Germany and gun control be included. Godwin's Law lives, it appears. When I just searched I found there wasn't a single reference to Native Americans or Indians in the comments, though that disarmament was far more germane than what the Nazis did to Jews, which was an insignificant feature of the Holocaust. Most Native American tribes were dependent on firearms for food, clothing and housing, especially the Plains tribes, yet had them confiscated by the U.S. Army. It didn't take a second to find this cite: Activist (talk) 08:21, 23 December 2013 (UTC)

George Mason University Civil Rights Law Journal Vol. 2 (1991): 67. GUN CONTROL AND RACISM Stefan B. Tahmassebi*

That all such free Mulattos, Negroes and Indians . . . shall appear without arms (Virginia Colony First Legislature 1619 statutes)

INTRODUCTION The history of gun control in America possesses an ugly component: discrimination and oppression of blacks, other racial and ethnic minorities, immigrants, and other "unwanted elements," including union organizers and agrarian reformers. Firearms laws were often enacted to disarm and facilitate repressive action against these groups.

The first gun control laws were enacted in the ante-bellum South forbidding blacks, whether free or slave, to possess arms, in order to maintain blacks in their servile status. After the Civil War, the South continued to pass restrictive firearms laws in order to deprive the newly freed blacks from exercising their rights of citizenship. During the later part of the 19th century and the early part of the 20th century, gun control laws were passed in the South in order to disarm agrarian reformers and in the North to disarm union organizers. In the North, a strong xenophobic reaction to recent waves of immigrants added further fuel for gun control laws which were used to disarm such persons. Other firearms ownership restrictions were adopted in order to repress the incipient black civil rights movement.

Another old American prejudice supported such gun control efforts, then as it does now: the idea that poor people, and especially the black poor, are not to be trusted with firearms. Even now, in many jurisdictions in which police departments have wide discretion in issuing firearm permits, the effect is that permits are rarely issued to poor or minority citizens.

Blacks, and especially poor blacks, are disproportionately the victims of crime. Yet, these citizens are often not afforded the same police protections that other more affluent and less crime ridden neighborhoods or communities enjoy. This lack of protection is especially so in the inner city urban ghettos. Firearms prohibitions discriminate against those poor and minority citizens who must rely on such arms to defend themselves from criminal activity to a much greater degree than affluent citizens living in safer and better protected communities.
  • Yes, and not exactly. The general subject is well-sourced. The problem is with the simplistic term "authoritarian." There is strong evidence that some regimes which enforced discriminatory classifications of their citizens or subjects used selective gun control as one means of subjugating disfavored groups. (eg, This needs to be covered and placed in its appropriate context -- which would probably mean reporting, for example, some of the most strident anti-control segments in the US are historically descended from the movement that advocated and imposed racially selective gun control after reconstruction. Hullaballoo Wolfowitz (talk) 21:33, 28 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Defer and No. Nazi use of gun control is plentifully sourced (the given list seems to be about 98 percent Nazi related), but taken out of context and compared to late 20th and early 21st century efforts is Reductio ad Hitlerum. (That's where it crosses the line into WP:FRINGE.) The subject of Nazi use of gun control should be its own article. Mention of it in articles such as this one should be brief and deep down, or simply in the See also section. Lightbreather (talk) 23:07, 28 December 2013 (UTC)
  • No and No - this is part of a longstanding effort to provide a distorting emphasis on trivial aspects of world history, in furtherance of the falsified narrative currently being pushed by the U.S. gun lobby. --Orange Mike | Talk 07:46, 29 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Abstain and No - In debates, when people start making references to Nazism, it's usually a pretty good indication that the conversation has departed any kind of useful discourse. Wikipedia shouldn't be an outlet for that kind of stunted debating technique. NickCT (talk) 00:59, 1 January 2014 (UTC)
  • No and No. Fringe theories do not belong in this article. QuackGuru (talk) 20:08, 3 January 2014 (UTC)
  • No and No: This article has absolutely no place in covering fringe subjects. The mere fact that Stephen Halbrook was used as a source says more than enough about the agenda behind this RfC. SilverserenC 19:31, 9 January 2014 (UTC)
  • Yes and Yes: And I am a gun control advocate. We have to put Wikipedia ahead of our politics while we are editing. Historical facts should always have a place at the table. I don't think it qualifies as "Fringe" either. It comes up almost every time I have a face-to-face discussion about gun control with a gun-toter. I see it all the time on bumperstickers, etc. Flat earth theory is "Fringe", this isn't fringe, in fact it's not even a theory, it's fact. I don't necessarily like it, but it is what it is, and it needs to be in the article. Again we need to put Wikipedia ahead of our politics. --Sue Rangell 00:50, 10 January 2014 (UTC)
  • Yes and Yes. The literature is full. !19:55, 10 January 2014 (UTC)

Threaded discussion

I have notified previous RFC commenters (both pro and con), and will shortly also notify the relevant noticeboards and wikiperojects so to get a wider audience for this discussion. Gaijin42 (talk) 16:38, 16 December 2013 (UTC)

I think a survey is a good idea. In addition there is well established policy such as WP:RS, WP:NOTABLE, and many others that support inclusion of relevant content regardless of what a majority survey would return. Frankly it's sad state of sophistry in the Wiki that we're having to talk about this.-16:40, 16 December 2013 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Justanonymous (talkcontribs)
  • Well, gee...let's see. What if we described Italian history by only talking about Mussolini? Would that be neutral? What if we described Spanish history by only talking about Franco? Would that be neutral? What if we described English history by only talking about the Boston Massacre? Would that be neutral? What if we only described the Republican Party by talking about Abu Ghraib? Would that be neutral? What if we described the history of the United States by only talking about My Lai? Would that be neutral? Well here we are describing the history of gun control by talking about gun control in the USSR and when the Nazis took guns away from German Jews before they gassed them in the Holocaust. And you think that that's neutral. — goethean 16:45, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
Are you proposing that we add Nazi Pro Gun Rights for Jews in the 1930s? Can you add some links here to that research please? I think we might be able to get consensus on that but remember this article is about gun control. It might be more appropriate in a gun rights page. Also please remember that 4-6 million jews lost their lives during the holocaust. Let's be respectful in dealing with this subject. It touches the personal lives of many. Joking around and nontopical entries are very inappropriate. Some editors here might have lost a family member to the holocaust and WWII or some other genocide.-Justanonymous (talk) 16:48, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
'Respect' would start by not exploiting the deaths of millions for crude pro-gun propaganda purposes. AndyTheGrump (talk) 16:54, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
The majority of the Jewish community would ask that we remember these atrocities and to write about them so it's not forgotten. Regardless, according to Wikipedia rules, this merits inclusion. So your comment is irrelevant.-Justanonymous (talk) 17:01, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
What rule is that? Please link to the Wikipedia policy you have in mind. — goethean 17:18, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
No, I'm proposing that you consider beginning to follow Wikipedia NPOV policy rather than using this article as a propaganda tool. Get a history of gun control written by a neutral scholar, rather than some NRA-funded hack. Summarize it neutrally. Follow Wikipedia policy rather than taking a dump on it. — goethean 16:59, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
There is one section in the article. It would also be a noticeably lack of NPOV to describe italy WITHOUT mussolini, or spain without Franco, etc. You have repeatedly advocated the complete censorship of this material - there is the lack of NPOV. Gaijin42 (talk) 16:50, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
The section is not neutral. It was designed to propagandize, not to follow Wikipedia NPOV policy. It is unacceptable. Write a neutral history section, don't pick and choose things which support an extremist ideology. — goethean 16:59, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
Disagree, the facts of history are facts and are notable. There is no NPOV violation just because you don't like it or it uncovers some part of history that you don't like or just because it doesn't fit with your little agenda. Noting historical facts are not an NPOV violation in and of themselves.-Justanonymous (talk) 17:04, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
Oh, the facts of history are facts, huh? Mussolini was Italian. That's a fact. Therefore, all of Italian history can be summarized by talking about Mussolini. And that's neutral. No NPOV violation. Okay. — goethean 17:07, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
This article is just about gun control, you can't be serious about summarizing all of Italian history here? And no we are not defining all of Italian history as the history of Mussolini. There were just some things that happened during his time that might be notable here. -Justanonymous (talk) 17:14, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
My analogy is exactly spot on, if you will take the time to read it and understand it. This article attempts to tell the history of gun control. No neutral historian would ever list Nazi Germany in a neutral, balanced overview of the history of gun control. But there it is! Because we want to paint gun control supporters as Nazis! Let's just let Wayne LaPierre write Wikipedia articles, shall we? We'd end up with a better result than this garbage that you call neutral. —goethean 17:38, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
I understand what you're trying to get at here, but just because events in Nazi Germany are an example doesn't make this a case of Godwin's Law. The Germans used gun control to wrestle power away from who they considered "undesirables", the Russians used gun control to make sure that their people couldn't stand up to them in a revolution. Nobody is saying that every instance of gun control is a fascist attempt at a powergrab, but you can't censor the instances where it actually was, you're not the one to accuse others of revisionist history here. (talk) 10:48, 10 January 2014 (UTC)
So add Australia or other places where gun control has brought about a more fruitful society. I don't care. I just don't want us to censor valid history. If there are peaceful stable societies under strict gun control regimes, put it in. Modern day Australia seems to come to mind. Is that in there already?-Justanonymous (talk) 17:52, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
NRA propaganda is not valid history. Start over. Use history books rather than political pamphlets. Stop defending garbage. — goethean 18:04, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
Your garbage is another man's gem, who are you to decide -- who am I to decide. That's why we have WP:RS. If it meets the standard, it can go in.-Justanonymous (talk) 18:46, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
Justanonymous, such a list would include just about every Western country besides the US--all of them with stricter gun laws, all of them with lower gun death numbers, and all of them with better cheese and better healthcare and happier people. Such is not the way to go, esp. not since it just leads to fights over who's got the better cheese. The mention of RS is kind of a ruse--lots of stuff can be reliably sourced, but not all of it is of encyclopedic value. Drmies (talk) 18:47, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
Prove it Drmies, WP:RS statements please and let's make sure that the French aren't running the statistics because we can argue about methodologies, stratified random samples all day long here. You're injecting your limited Eurocentric worldview into this and it's coming across and is not helpful. Everyone knows the best wine is from Sonoma - Stags Leap and everyone knows that Wisconsin cheese is the best. Let's just try to make the article better.-Justanonymous (talk) 18:56, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
Maybe I'm limited indeed, after fifteen years in Alabama. What isn't helpful is this constant and tedious hammering on RS. Of course reliable sources are going to show that the Nazis tried to take guns away from the Jews. Duh. What you need to produce, and that's what Goethean is rightly challenging you to do, are reliable sources (not partisan hacks who have a platform in a peer-reviewed journal) that this is in any way relevant to the topic of gun control. Plus, I haven't seen anyone say anything yet about the rest of that German legislation, though I thought I pointed out clearly enough that this wasn't simply "Nazis are taking Jewish guns". It's also "Nazis are giving everyone else free guns", so to speak. Drmies (talk) 19:02, 16 December 2013 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I certainly have no objection to including that the germans gave weapons to the favored group while taking weapons away from the jews, right before they conscripted all of those favored groups to go genocidal on the jews. Gaijin42 (talk) 19:05, 16 December 2013 (UTC)

Drmies, A lot of smart people in Alabama, no need to bash the state. It's unnecessary, it's small of you - it's a great state filled with wonderful smart people. But, you can go back to wherever place you came from if you think Alabama is beneath you. Goethen is vulgar profane. It's hard to take him seriously. As to the WP:RS, how do you propose we do it? Make stuff up on the fly? I think your bias is clear.-Justanonymous (talk) 19:12, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
Everyone here knows my bias, Justanonymous, just as everyone knows, I think, that I want what's best for the encyclopedia. I can't tell when you're joking or not, so I suppose your "make stuff up on the fly" is a joke too. I have given an assessment or two of the various sources proposed here, and I have given an assessment of what I think is an editorial problem with the section, which no one (besides Maunus), and certainly not you, has addressed. Your mantra of RS RS RS and "bring it!" is a clear indication of how seriously I should take your objections. Basically, your editorial attitude boils down to "I see something in a book that I like so I'll stick it in an article." What sucks for those editors who favor inclusion of the material is the association with such an attitude. Good day. Drmies (talk) 20:31, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
Drmies, You don't know me so stop trying make false guesses about me. You don't know anything about my editorial attitude so don't try to paint a canvas of me here. You're unqualified to boil down JA. And my editorial attitude is unimportant. We're going to follow all Wikipedia policies here to include RS. If you take exception to that, file a complaint and include me on it. Yes the article needs work. The article is the result of polarized editors that come and sling their mud and then we wind up in these grotesquely useless time consuming discussions that count towards your edit count. Frankly we should only count clean edits. Jabbering on here adds no value. That's why I prefer to go edit and to follow the policies. Yes it needs work, got it. Let's go make it better then. Unless you want uselessly pour a few more ink barrels here.-Justanonymous (talk) 20:39, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Depends entirely on how it is included. Disarmament of groups of citizens considered a threat to the state is much more widespread than just authoritarian states and Nazi Germany, this should be clear. As should the fact that arms are also restricted in many of the least authoritarian states in the world. most of the sources listed at Gaijin42's page are primary sources, and they would be good if Gaijon42 wanted to write abook about gun control - but they are of no value when trying to assess the notability of a particular fact. The only ones that should be counted are the ones in the section "Modern neutral gun control secondary sources", they are also the ones that should decide how the argument is included and the various views weighted. User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 17:21, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
Maunus With respect, contemporary secondary sources (the 10-20 newspaper articles) do not suddenly become primary sources due their age. You also skipped over the bottom academic section. Gaijin42 (talk) 17:25, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
Historical newspaper articles are not secondary sources. They are historical primary sources. So yes they do, as any historian would know. As for the last sections they look mostly like series of polemic primary sources (research articles are primary sources for their own research and views (and can be used as secondary sources for the views of others), review articles are secondary sources).User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 17:27, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
Maunus The academic thing I think needs to be discussed in two parts 1) factual analysis of history 2) implications of #1. There is basically ZERO disagreement that the disarmament actually happened, intentionally, as part of the oppression and eradication of jews. Harcourt, arguing against halbrook directly admits this in his articles (along with the other secondary sources) . 2) You are correct that the latter part (what are the implications of these historical facts) is a source only for the views of the author, but as those represent a significant minority viewpoint, including that content as their viewpoint is part of WP:NPOV. Gaijin42 (talk) 18:31, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
The question of course is not whether authoritarian (or non authoritarian) regimes have used guncontrol. The question is how relevant that fact is for the topic of guncontrol in general. The answer to this question should depend on how much coverage e.g. Nazi gun control gets in objective reviews of the field, and how it is treated. I can imagine two views, both of which are probably notable but the second of which I think is the dominant view, namely 1. that it is relevant because it suggests that guncontrol is a characteristic strategy of a authoritarian state, and 2. that it is relevant because it is a common meme used by American opponents of restrictive gun legislation. So, yes, I think it is probably relevant, but I think that the second view is likely to be the one that should characterize the coverage. User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 18:39, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
  • It would help for those of us dropping by a diff or discussion link to the uses you want to make of this material that is different from what is in thearticle already. So many articles to comment upon, so little time. (Tripled my wikipedia budgeted time again today!) Carolmooredc (Talkie-Talkie) 17:02, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
Per the discussion above the RFC, the opposers insist on the complete and permanent removal of the entire section and demand it not be mentioned again. More surgical changes are therefore irrelevant until the core question is answered. Gaijin42 (talk)
The history section needs to be re-written from beginning to end based on neutral sources rather than NRA propaganda. — goethean 17:12, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
I'm all for rewriting and improving. I'm not for blanking without consensus like you did.-Justanonymous (talk) 17:16, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
You committed a flagrant violation of Wikipedia's core policy. That's what you did. Own it. Take responsibility for your actions. The history section of this article is a joke. It is a joke, and you are defending it. — goethean 17:33, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
No, I've been clear that there's always room for improvement. You blanking it summarily is unacceptable and borders on vandalism. Your profanity and vulgarity make it even more distasteful.-Justanonymous (talk) 17:41, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
You say that I vandalized the article? Report me. Escalate it. Let's go. WP:AN/I. Start a thread. I'm waiting. I say you're full of it. — goethean 18:06, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
Do you have a reading comprehension problem? Read the note on my edit. I merely suggested that you were close to vandalism and you might have been over the line. It's nuanced. You gotta get better at this reading comprehension man, tone down the vulgarity and profanity, and take a chill pill -- don't blow another gasket.-Justanonymous (talk) 18:49, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
You're about as nuanced as brick. — goethean 19:06, 16 December 2013 (UTC)

The second question was about mere inclusion of coverage of gun control under those regimes....the arguments against mere inclusion so far have been quite telling, essentially these are:

  • All kinds of nasty stuff saying that such mere inclusion makes the article a propaganda piece.
  • Impugning the motives of any editor that wants to include it.
  • Answering a question that was NOT asked as if it were answer the question that WAS asked, (raising straw-man concerns) about (farther reaching) statements that such control in significant in establishing Nazi control.
  • An analogy that makes no sense...that this particular instance should be censored because failure to censor it is like improperly narrowing the coverage of a topic to one non-typical item. Huh?

Sincerely, North8000 (talk) 17:21, 16 December 2013 (UTC)

So, you are unable to recognize that the current version of the article is a flagrant NPOV violation. Is that what you're saying? — goethean 17:29, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
Yup. And there is nothing 'ntasy' about describing crude pseudohistorical propaganda as crude pseudohistorical propaganda. And excluding propaganda from encyclopaedias isn't 'censorship', it is appropriate editorial control. Nobody is restricting anyone's rights to publish such material - but you have no 'rights' to use Wikipedia for such purposes, any more than any other political lobby. AndyTheGrump (talk) 17:32, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
You have no right to redifine historical facts as propaganda because you disagree with their implications. Gaijin42 (talk) 17:35, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
Andy and Geothean don't like it because of the points raised above. Their arguments are weak. All articles can be improved but summary blanking like Goethean did followed by profanity and vulgarity on my personal talk page is just distasteful. Now we're wasting time here. If you have RS statements and good contributions, let's discuss them here and then let's add. None have been forthcoming. The survey above is very telling. It speaks to the inclusion of this content and per Wikpedia policies it's notable. Andy and Gethean don't like it.....tough.-Justanonymous (talk) 17:37, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
Andy, you must have posted in the wrong section. The RFC question is about mere coverage. North8000 (talk) 17:42, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
(ec) @Goethean, responding, that's actually a falsehood stated as an implied premise, and then a claim that failure to agree with the falsehood means "unable to understand" And all about a diversion to something that is not even the topic of the RFC. North8000 (talk) 17:40, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
  • I'm also concerned with the objectivity of this article. I'm not going to throw around accusations about NRA membership and stuff, but I think Maunus's objections, above, are relevant. Moreover, the current note on restricted gun ownership for Jews in Nazi Germany is indeed easily read as an indictment of gun control (suggestion 1: Nazis proposed gun control, so gun control is evil), but Gun_politics_in_Germany#The_1938_German_Weapons_Act is insightful: if that article is accurate (who the hell knows, it's Wikipedia), then the restrictions on Jews owning guns really takes a serious backseat to the loosening of rules for many categories of citizens: "Gun restriction laws applied only to handguns, not to long guns or ammunition. The 1938 revisions completely deregulated the acquisition and transfer of rifles and shotguns, as was the possession of ammunition"; the legal age was lowered from 20 to 18; permits were valid for three times as long as before; and many groups were exempt from having to acquire a gun permit. In other words, there's another quick conclusion to draw, with much more meat to it: suggestion 2: Nazis proposed gun deregulation, so gun control is good. Both suggestions are invalid, of course, but the way I see the article suggestion 1 is right there, front and center, because our article only includes one out of five main points of the 1938 law. Drmies (talk) 18:12, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
I don't disagree with your analysis of the loosen/tighten situation, which indeed is directly discussed by halbrook and harcourt's articles (harcourt arguing against halbrook) - however, easing weapon restrictions on a favored group (like the SS and SA who were completely exempt from the regulations) and then sending those same groups after the recently disarmed doesn't seem like an argument that the nazis did not in fact disarm the jews as part of their oppression. Part of the issue is the current state of the article - Older versions (say here [8] attempted to put this into context as a presentation one of the notable POVs of gun control, but certain editors continued to delete everything that was an actual argument, and left us with the abbreviated history. (And certainly that POV should be balanced by POVs about how gun control has ushered in golden eras of peace into Australia and the UK (which are ALREADY in this article!) Gaijin42 (talk) 18:23, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
Admitedly, there are significant issues with the older revision I linked to there, but at a minimum the nazi-control meme is a significant minority viewpoint on gun control and excluding it is also a violation of npov (how that pov should be worded is of course a matter for the consensus to decide, but first we must settle the issue of inclusion at all) Gaijin42 (talk) 18:27, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
The version you linked to is obviously even worse than the present version, which is a POS. "The History of Gun Control" including a large section on...."Gun control's association with totalitarianism" Gee, so gun control is associated with authoritarianism, you say? Shucks, that sounds pretty bad! Oh, and Nazis had gun control and communists did too? That does it! I hate gun control! Gee, thanks Gaijin42! You've really set me straight! I'm going to run out and buy a Luger right now! — goethean 18:28, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
That's pretty get all of that out of mere coverage of instances of gun control. North8000 (talk) 18:32, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
Well, Goethean probably put too much sarcasm in their morning coffee but, North, I don't disagree with the basic sentiment: those inferences are clearly easy to draw, even from our current version. You wouldn't want another section added, one which argued that eminently wonderful and reasonable countries like The Netherlands have very strict laws on gun control, since the suggestion clearly is that rationality favors gun control. (Which is true, of course, but that's another point!) Or, Goethean, please take it easy: no need to hand them more ammo. And that's my final lame joke for the day. Drmies (talk) 18:36, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
I'm for tightening the article up and for improving it reasonably. I'm not for deleting valid historical information even if one party here thinks that it's propaganda. I will acknowledge that we have a challenge because much of the research that is being conducted today is not being conducted dispassionately. For better or worse, many of the notable researchers have a political agenda. So we have to be very careful. That said, we shouldn't just arbitrarily delete valuable content without us reaching consensus here. That is what Goethen did that started all of this - that and a bunch of expletives from him on my personal talk page. He simply blanked 4,000+b of WP:RS content. That's not the way to do it. If it's loose, let's tighten it up. If it's biased, let's make it neutral. But we can't just blank the page and then blow a gasket when their edit is reverted.-Justanonymous (talk) 18:34, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
we have a challenge because much of the research that is being conducted today is not being conducted dispassionately
That's simply false. There are many, many neutral, mainstream, non-ideological books available on gun control. The problem is that the authors of this article decided to use none of them, instead depending on extremely ideological, non-neutral material, and writing a history of gun control that is almost funny in its departure from reality. — goethean 18:44, 16 December 2013 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── did you bother to actually check any of those sources? I think not, as The #2 book on that list (Gun Control, O'Niel) includes a chapter on the Nazi disarmamemnt.Also mentioned in the book by fisanak, and the one by davidson, so thanks for proving the point that it is covered by common gun control sources! Gaijin42 (talk) 04:16, 17 December 2013 (UTC)

I agree. The amount and kind of coverage to be given to "authoritarian gun control" should be based on that kind of literature.User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 19:03, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
WP:RS statements please. If you got it, bring it. Anger, accusations, mean spiritedness, blanking sections, vulgar profanity are not helpful and makes it hard to take the editor seriously. Open a talk section below and start discussing your edits. Vs this incessant, nonconstructive back and forth. Let's edit. Bring it!-Justanonymous (talk) 19:08, 16 December 2013 (UTC)
  • I think all those editors who are so concerned with Nazi gun legislation should probably work on the relevant sections in Gun politics in Germany--as they should on every article on gun control. After all, there is no reason to look at Nazi Germany or the USSR and exclude others unless one has already made up their mind that there is something to see there (the synthesized statement, for instance, that "authoritarian regimes use gun control to silence their opponents"). So yeah, each and every country ought to be listed, and comprehensively: there is no reason to pick one particular period over another, if one wishes to be factual and complete, and not some cherrypicking coatracker. (And this is where the RS argument is bollocks: RS doesn't allow us to select from among reliable sources.) Now, if I can assume that Gun politics in Germany is correct (and no one has said otherwise), then a "summary" of Nazi gun politics which is more representative of what that article says should run something like this:

    The 1938 German Weapons act confirmed the requirement that citizens needed permits to carry and acquire firearms. The Nazi legislature tightened the law for Jews, who were no longer allowed to manufacture and trade in firearms and ammunition. On the other hand, many requirements were lowered or relaxed: the legal age for carrying a firearm was lowered from 20 to 18, the law covered only handguns (rifles, shot guns, and ammunition were no longer regulated), issued permits were valid three times as long, and many groups (including holders of annual hunting permits, government workers, and NSDAP members) were no longer subject to restrictions.

    Now, the article in its current state has something along those lines but still overplays the gun control angle ("... were used by Hitler's government to disarm the Jewish population"): the crucial citations are to Rudolph Rummel and Stephen Halbrook, and neither of these are acceptable, IMO, as objective and neutral. (One wonders whether we can't get some non-English sources: surely German and French historians have written on the topic--if Nazi gun control is really a topic at all.) That guns were confiscated from Jews afterward in itself is hardly surprising: I'm sure the Nazis confiscated lots of things from Jews.

    BTW, that section is a mess. I see the Harcourt citation three times in there, but cited in two different formats. Note 21, to an Alan Steinweis book, is a bare URL linking to a page among the notes that simply doesn't verity the text (on the confiscation of ammunition). Note 14 is a horribly incomplete citation to an article in a textbook of sorts which can't even avoid weasel words: "It is frequently argued that these laws...", without specifics, without citations, without anything (and look at the vagueries of the next paragraph, "Stalin and Mao are also reported to have disarmed their political opponents..."--"reported"? We can't get cold hard facts here?). Note 15, A Complete History of the Holocaust, that's a "Juvenile Non-Fiction"--not to be cited here. Note 16 is to an "oral history" (48 Hours of Kristallnacht) published by Globe Pequot Press--go look at our article and see if we should cite this here in this article. Seriously, Collect and others, RS? Have you all even looked at what is being cited in this encyclopedic article? I could go on, but this is getting tedious. The sourcing is horrible, the cherrypicking is clear. Drmies (talk) 01:53, 17 December 2013 (UTC)

  • One more thing, on the same topic--the Alan Steinweis link. I don't know who put this ridiculous search string, [9], in the article as a reference--an amateur, I'd say (note that they inserted the title of the NYT article cited in the previous reference into the Google Book search--weird, to say the least). Now, that book is supposed to verify some numbers on confiscated weapons, but it doesn't: as far as I can tell, those numbers don't appear in that book. What is in the book, on page 39, is a brief note on the Berlin police order, November 1938, that all Jews were to hand over their weapons to the authorities; Steinweis notes that the overwhelming number of weapons in Jewish homes were daggers and pistols, mementos from WW1, and that the proclamation was really nothing but harassment and an excuse to break into Jewish homes and ransack them.

    So, what we have here is another example of synthesis, where a book (amateurishly cited and probably not read at all) is yoked to a claim of weapon confiscation. The book does not verity the stated claim in the article, and what it says on the subject has no bearing on "gun control" at all, since it concerns a police order, not a law, whose goal was not to control guns but just to harass one particular segment of the population. To use the term "gun control" when it only affects one segment of the population is ludicrous: it's not gun control, it's just antisemitism. Drmies (talk) 02:20, 17 December 2013 (UTC)

But Drmies, denial to one segment of the population is a common feature of gun control, e.g. in the USA. Persons who have been convicted of certain offenses, who are mentally ill, in the country illegally etc. Sincerely, North8000 (talk) 02:53, 17 December 2013 (UTC)
Neither you and I nor the Nazis thought that "Jewishness" would be in the same category as "mentally ill" or "illegal"; the legal status of Jewishness (pace Nuremberg) is simply not that of "having been convicted of a crime of moral turpitude" or something like that. They were simply trying to harass. But that's not my main point anyway; I made some others that I hope someone will address. Drmies (talk) 03:30, 17 December 2013 (UTC)

Drmies unequal application of laws as a form of discrimination is quite often a very notable part of the laws. For example Suffrage#Forms_of_exclusion_from_suffrage . surely you would not argue that jim crow voter registration laws were not actually registration laws, or that dont ask don't tell wasn't discrimination because it only applied to gays? There is a very long history of gun control being used as a tool of discrimination and opression - the nazi thing certainly, but also the extensive use in the US from slave days until very recently (and ongoing) - for example, even pro-control sources describe things like the saturday night special bans as being specifically targeted at blacks (the n-town special) See our article Saturday_night_special which covers this. Gaijin42 (talk) 04:00, 17 December 2013 (UTC)

  • "There is a very long history of gun control being used as a tool of discrimination"--I hope you have better sourcing for that claim than this current article. You certainly can't prove it for the Nazi period--not with a bunch of articles from the NYT about what the Nazis did on this and that day. Again, cite me a neutral (better yet, non-US) scholar of Nazi history who verifies that claim. You can't synthesize it from one single item pulled from much more comprehensive legislation coupled with some cherrypicked quotes about some guns confiscated in Berlin. (And for the US, I think it's a crock of BS, but I also think we should cite neutral scholarship, not the Holbrooks of the world.)

    But again, that wasn't my main point. I find it remarkable that no one addresses them. Do I need to repeat? a. the sourcing is atrocious; b. the section places undue weight on one particular aspect: the control, rather than the utter relinquishing of gun control for others. c. there is no rationale for focusing on gun control exclusively in authoritarian states unless your POV gives you that rationale. With your claims about gun control in the US being used as a political tool you're pretty much a self-identified conspiracy theorist, and it seems clear to me that you're looking to make a statement about Nazi Germany to lend credence to a political point of view. For the record, I'll state my POV: I do not believe that gun control has been used by the state to further political goals. I also do not believe that relaxing gun laws has been used by the state to further political goals. Drmies (talk) 04:35, 17 December 2013 (UTC)

Drmies, I think that you made many good comments regarding improvement of / issues with article quality. You also expressed hope that they would be addressed. I think that blending them into an RFC that is on a different narrower topic (mere inclusion vs. exclusion of certain instances of gun control) is giving them a higher risk of not getting utilized, but I think that we should do so, even if not within the RFC. North8000 (talk) 11:33, 17 December 2013 (UTC)
North, you know I like you--probably because you're not just "North", but North eight fucking thousand! You put the pedal to the medal, BOLDly. I hope my main objection is clear: the statement is made a couple of times, off-hand and unverified, that dictators use gun laws to enforce their politics, in one shape or another. Note the easy comments about Mao and Hitler and all. But this general claim needs serious and impartial verification. A person can make a biased claim in an otherwise reliable source: "reliable" points to fact checking and such, and a statement like "dictators use gun laws etc." is always going to be a matter of interpretation based on historical data. It has to be, unless a dictator comes out and says it explicitly, which they haven't done AFAIK. So reliability is one thing, but neutrality is another--and it is one of our pillars. That's why I can't accept Halbrook et al.

Lost in the mix, though I tried to bring it up, is that loosening gun restriction could conceivably used in the same way as tightening them. Given the historical circumstances (as indicated by Steinweis), Jews in Germany, 1938, simply didn't have large amounts of firearms, and what they had was memorability (obviously I'm giving a shorthand summary, painting with a somewhat broad brush). So restricting Jewish gun ownership is probably a minor issue. Much more important, it seems to me, is loosening regulations on certain groups, and I'll synthesize a bit to show you why: hunters in Nazi Germany are much more likely to be politically aligned with the regime, since hunting traditionally is a matter of an upper class ("hunting" in the 20th century simply doesn't mean the same thing in Europe as it does in the US; for the Nazis, hunting was a way of expressing an aristocratic, Germanic heritage: see this study, pages 22, 60, 97); more importantly, the NSDAP is by definition the ruling regime. Again, loosening gun restrictions for Nazi party members is a big step, and much more important and threatening to the Jewish population. We should not forget that "gun control" doesn't just mean "restricting access": it means "governing access", and exempting certain groups from having to get a permit is a part of that governance. Which is why the summary of the 1938 law I gave above includes those points as well. If we restrict our summary to the Jews and prohibitions on gun ownership, we are slanting the historical record. Drmies (talk) 16:11, 17 December 2013 (UTC)

(added later)Drmies (how 'bout Drmies9000?) I agree with almost everything that you just said, but it seems to be addressing questions other then mere inclusion of this as an instance of gun control. North8000 (talk) 13:21, 18 December 2013 (UTC)
Gaijin42, you mentioned a prohibition on slaves owning guns in the US as an analogy earlier on. A full analogy would be that US slaves (analogous to Jews) were not allowed to have guns, but slave hunters and owners (analogous to NSDAP members) (or card-carrying KKK members?) could own anything they wanted. Which part of that analogy is more important? Remember that guns cost money and that NSDAP members came from a militaristic gun culture, or at least ascribed to it. I think that's what Goethean was hinting at earlier with the Luger--an officer's weapon. Drmies (talk) 16:28, 17 December 2013 (UTC)
I wasn't talking about slaves. As far as I know there were no laws specifically targeting gun ownership by slaves (while they were considered property, I doubt it even occurred to anyone to try and limit via legislation ANYTHING as they were non-people). I was talking more about reconstruction/jim crow/civil rights era laws that were used as tools of discrimination/repression post slavery. If the default case is "allowed" then obviously the important part of the analogy is who is not allowed. Everyone can marry, except teh gays. Everyone can vote, except the women. In saudi arabia, everyone can practice their religion (as long as its Islam). everyone can own guns, except the jews/blacks. Gaijin42 (talk) 16:39, 17 December 2013 (UTC)
But even that analogy is incomplete: not everyone in Nazi Germany except Jews could own guns: if our article is correct, most citizens would still require permits for handguns, but not Nazi party members. To stick to your other analogy, all straight citizens can marry, but Republican (or Democratic, or whatever) citizens don't have to pay for their marriage license, or even get one. Drmies (talk) 16:43, 17 December 2013 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── based on your comment, I did a quick bit of research and was somewhat surprised. nazi party membership peaked at about 7% of the population, I had thought at by the end practically everyone was a member (if nothing else just to avoid suspicion) - However, I disagree that there is a flawed analogy. Nazis don't need permits. General public needs permits. Jews cannot get permits and weapons are actively confiscated. There is no argument from anyone here, nor anyone in the literature denying the basic facts: Jews had their weapons confiscated as one of the tools of repression and genocide by the Nazis. Certainly there can be disagreement as to the importance of this fact (above somewhere you attempted to argue the counterfactual of something along the lines of did it make a difference). For the most part that argument is irrelevant - is a significant minority viewpoint on the topic of gun controlthat this is a notable bit of history and should be included. The repeated accusations of fringe are ludicrous - even the detractors agree with the basic facts! Regarding the selective choice of facts in history - converting the section to actually present the POV of those who hold the position would deal with this, they made the selection of facts notable, not us. You may dislike or disagree with Halbrook, Kates, Polsby, etc - but it is undeniable that they are notable minority voices on the topic of gun control (How many cases have your preferred sources argued and won in front of SCOTUS, on the topic of gun control?, How many briefs on the topic of gun control were joined and signed by a majority of congress that they wrote?) Gaijin42 (talk) 17:33, 17 December 2013 (UTC)

You may dislike or disagree with Halbrook, Kates, Polsby, etc - but it is undeniable that they are notable minority voices on the topic of gun control
So what? There are hundreds or thousands of other notable minority voices on the topic of gun control. We need to try to write a decent article rather than inserting our pet issue into the article, whether it fits or not. We need to summarize the most neutral and most authoritative sources rather than "Hey this one guy wrote this thing and I think it's just swell, so I'll insert a section about how gun control is authoritarian". — goethean 20:39, 17 December 2013 (UTC)
Actually no, "Editing from a neutral point of view (NPOV) means representing fairly, proportionately, and, as far as possible, without bias, all of the significant views that have been published by reliable sources on a topic." we do NOT pick just the one view, but represent ALL views. That you do not like sources or their POV does not make the not WP:RS and as you have already admitted, I have many sources. Your continued effort to whitewash this topic of any possible negative information is a travesty of wikipedia's pillars. There are pros and cons to every policy and listing only the pros is not neutrality. Gaijin42 (talk) 20:52, 17 December 2013 (UTC)
Please spare me your fake outrage. We do not need to include the theories of your pet right-wing author. This article needs to be a balanced account, rather than the atrocious right-wing view of history that you and your RFC buddies have foisted on this page in direct violation of Wikipedia's core policies. — goethean 21:02, 17 December 2013 (UTC)

It is curious that this article discusses several examples of gun laws in certain authoritarian countries which are typically used as exemplars of evil but doesn't discuss gun laws in most contemporary nations. It is also curious that the article barely describes one of the distinctive pieces of Nazi weapons policy - that they banned Jews from owning all weapons, not just guns. I knew a man who was a kosher butcher in Germany in the 30s. He had to surrender his butcher's knives to the local officials and he was thrown into Buchenwald, although he was able to emigrate to America before the war started. After the war he wrote to the local government and asked for his knives back and, amazingly, they found them and sent them back to him. Such is German efficiency. A good story, but I think the broader point is that Drmies expresses a valid concern, if we're going to discuss Nazi weapons legislation, we should describe all of its aspects, and not just those that seem to inform contemporary debate. GabrielF (talk) 18:59, 17 December 2013 (UTC)

This RfC appears to be invalid

Afterlooking in detail at Wikipedia:Requests for comment, I have come to the conclusion that this RfC is malformed, and consequently invalid, for the following reasons:

(a) The subject matter, 'Authoritarianism and gun control', appears not to have been the subject of discussion on this talk page since July. The RfC was opened out of the blue, without any prior discussion. RfCs are intended as a mechanism to involve others in an existing discussion, when debate is deadlocked. Opening one at random for no obvious reason seems to me to be an abuse of process.
(b) THe RfC statement makes no pretence at neutrality. It cites a list of 'sources' compiled entirely by the RfC opener without any prior discussion whatsoever, and asserts as fact the very issue which appears to be under debate - the degree to which there is any correlation between the regulation of firearms and authoritarianism. It should be noted that Gaijin42 is well aware that in the case of Nazi Germany, it has repeatedly been pointed out that the Nazis relaxed firearms control for large sectors of the population, and yet the RfC wording implies entirely the contrary. A RfC based on a falsehood cannot possibly be acceptable.

Given these concerns, I have to suggest that the RfC should be closed forthwith. AndyTheGrump (talk) 05:35, 17 December 2013 (UTC)

What you are claiming as being an "assertion of fact" is not, it is posed as the first question, put into Wikipedia content terms. Whether not it exists in a suitable amount in sources. Second, it looks like what sparked the RFC was Goethen's recent attempted large deletion of this material, as the RFC followed right after that attempted large deletion. North8000 (talk) 11:45, 17 December 2013 (UTC)

Nice try. Answering the last cavil first -- I see no reason to argue that the matter is phrased in a non-neutral manner, nor has that been found a valid cause for closure historically on Wikipedia. The first cavil likewise fails -- as long as the RfC is widely responded to, the issue of whether it ought to have been "pre-discussed" is moot -- the general rule is that the broader the range of participants, the more readily WP:CONSENSUS is met, and it is that policy which is the basis for RfC n the first place. The idea that a "pre-discussion" is needed before a "real discussion" occurs has not been used in the past, but is a novel argument here. Cheers -- it looks from here that there is broad participation here, and the goal well ought be to achieve a consensus rather than make legal arguments about what is a "discussion" and what is a "pre-discussion." "RfC" means that a discussion is requested, and nothing more. Cheers. Collect (talk) 13:11, 17 December 2013 (UTC)

There is nothing 'novel' about suggesting that the subject of a RfC should have been discussed first, in order to ascertain what exactly should be asked. As for your ridiculous claim that the phrasing isn't "non-neutral", are you seriously suggesting that a complete misrepresentation of historical fact is appropriate in an RfC? AndyTheGrump (talk) 13:35, 17 December 2013 (UTC)
The query is 1.Are authoritarian uses of gun control (in particular Nazi, but others as well) sufficiently sourced by reliable sources
If you feel that they are false, then you likely feel that the claims are not sufficiently well-sourced. That you resort to calling the phrasing "non-neutral" because you know the material is a "complete misrepresentation of historical fact" is, unfortunately not an exactly neutral phrasing. Would you find "Should the complete bullshit about Nazi and other authoritarian regimes using gun control be put into this article?" to be "neutral"? Cheers. Collect (talk) 14:24, 17 December 2013 (UTC)
The article fails NPOV miserably. That's the point. In fact, it doesn't even try. A group of editors argued furiously for months to get the article to a slightly less obviously extremely biased place. Gaijin42 and North8000, of course, kicked and screamed the entire way, strongly preferring a version that was clearly an inaccurate, and false version of history.
Gaijin42 has made a few of these RFCs and they are invariably and obviously phrased to his advantage. This time it's no different. He knows that he's got dozens of RSs to back up the "facts" that he uses to buttress the extreme right-wing version of history, so he asks if he has RSs. And he asks if the section should be removed entirely. Removing the section would actually improve the article dramatically, but it's clear that that's off the table due to a bloc of editors who are determined to keep this article as some kind of talking points memo for an anti-gun control ideology. There are very serious issues with this article, and Gaijin42's RFC neatly side-steps these very serious issues, as they always do. The article is in terrible, terrible shape, and Gaijin42's RFC merely compounds these issues rather than attempting to resolve anything, as usual. — goethean 15:58, 17 December 2013 (UTC)
I quit this article in disgust over that section months ago, and when I was notified of this RfC I was amazed to find the text in even worse shape. There's not a shred of value to it. It's all SYNTH and POV spin. This entire article should be blanked and started from scratch in an orderly way. Why not? SPECIFICO talk 17:26, 17 December 2013 (UTC)
I find this kind of procedural attempt to shut down a discussion that's not going in Andy's favor surprising even from Andy. This sub-thread is just a distraction, especially when I;ve heard some interesting arguments above but I've also seen some familiar names repeat the same dug-in statements over and over. Shadowjams (talk) 05:00, 20 December 2013 (UTC)
I think we've moved past it at this point. We seem to be making some headway with reformatting the sections (see below) to lessen the POV creep and if nothing else, put the more controversial content into a section with better context. --Scalhotrod - Just your average banjo playing, drag racing, cowboy... (talk) 05:24, 20 December 2013 (UTC)

How were nazi gun control laws considered "authoritarian" compared with the stricter laws of the Weimar Republic? TFD (talk) 05:33, 20 December 2013 (UTC)
Seems like a valid RFC to me. I wouldn't have given a !vote otherwise. I don't think it would have been proper for me to have given a !vote if I thought the RFC was invalid. That would have been rather contradictory.Anythingyouwant (talk) 20:28, 21 December 2013 (UTC)


Coming here in response to a closure request at WP:AN. I'm closing this procedurally because this topic is now the subject of an arbitration case, Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Case/Gun control. I doubt that anyone would benefit from this RFC being closed either as "yes" or as "no" in the current climate, since it might well disrupt the arbitration case. Should the arbitrators indicate that they're okay with it being closed substantively (i.e. as yes or no), I'll happily come back, either to close it substantively or to un-close it so someone else can close it substantively. Nyttend (talk) 02:39, 26 January 2014 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.