Where Joe the Plumber and Allen West’s Gun Control Conspiracy Theory Comes From

Earlier this week, Joe the Plumber, who (not as part of some dystopic parody) is  running for Congress, said that gun control caused the Holocaust. BuzzFeed’s Rosie Gray picks up on how Rep. Allen West (R-The House Is Filled With Communists) peddled the same conspiracy theory in 2010.

Reporters seem surprised, but this is actually a very old conspiracy on the right.

As I reported last summer, at a Ron Paul campaign stop in Des Moines:

Larry Pratt, president of the GOA, was on hand to bestow a “Defender of the Second Amendment” award on Paul. Pratt, who was fired from his co-chairmanship of Pat Buchanan’s 1996 presidential campaign over his ties to militias and neo-Nazis, portrayed liberals as “servile” people who “want the government to do everything for them.” He called gun control a “Nazi concept,” echoing a common conspiracy theory on the far right: that the US Gun Control Act of 1968 was modeled on a Nazi law, and is intended to make the citizenry helpless in the face of a “tyrannical” government bent on committing genocide. “What a refreshing thing it is to have [Paul] have these ideas of restoring the Constitution and restoring the Second Amendment,” said Pratt.

Last month, the GOA lauded both Bachmann and Paul as “key leaders” in the debt ceiling fight. Government spending affects “your Second Amendment rights,” a GOA statement asserted, because, among other things, “Obama has begun to implement the first stages of ObamaCare, which would create a national medical database, which could be trolled by ATF in order to take away the gun rights of tens of millions of Americans.”

As Julie Ingersoll and I have reported, Pratt describes himself as a “Biblical Christian” who thinks gun control is contrary to the Bible.

After he was forced out of the Buchanan campaign in 1996, Pratt defended himself against charges of his connections to neo-Nazi and anti-Semitic groups by touting his membership in the Jews for the Preservation of Gun Ownership, a far-right group which claims — you guessed it — that gun control led to the Holocaust:

I am a member of Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership. The leader of that organization, Aaron Zelman, just recently issued a statement saying that JPFO and Gun Owners of America have worked hand in hand to restore the Second Amendment rights of all Americans, and will continue to do so. “JPFO considers Larry Pratt to be cut of exactly the same cloth as the many righteous gentiles who risked their lives during the Holocaust to rescue Jews from the hands of Nazi murderers,” Zelman said.

The JPFO said in a press release:

“JPFO’s published research shows that ‘gun control’ helped to clear the way for the Nazi genocide — and at least six other major genocides — in which 56 million persons, including millions of children, were murdered. As Jewish law mandates self-defense (see Talmud Tractate B’rachos [Blessings], p. 58a and p. 62b), JPFO, Inc., works with GOA and like-minded groups to restore law-abiding Americans’ civil right to be armed.”

Zelman died in 2010, but the JPFO continues on. Its website today still promotes his book, Death by Gun Control: The Human Cost of Victim Disarmament alongside arguments that gun control “enables the evildoers” (the government) “and works against righteous defense.”

Allen West and Joe the Plumber didn’t invent this.