Mary Harry Jones

Libertarian gun author Dave Kopel spent Holocaust Remembrance Day yesterday tweeting links to articles about how the Nazis prohibited Jews from owning guns. That's not a disputed historical point, as I wrote at Mother Jones earlier this year. But in the context of the current gun debate, the argument's implication—that proposals for relatively modest gun control laws in the United States mirror Nazi policies—is absurd. As Charles Heller, head of Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership, warned the AP: "Now, will it get to that in the U.S.? God, I hope not. Not if (U.S. Attorney General Eric) Holder doesn't start sending people to kick doors down."

This brings me to a broader point about the gun debate. In January, Kopel testified at one of the Senate Judiciary Committee's hearings on California Sen. Dianne Feinstein's new bill to ban assault weapons. He kept his testimony free of Nazis but cited Mother Jones research on mass shooters' use of assault weapons that I took the lead on, making a point of noting that "Mother Jones magazine is named for Mary Harry Jones [sic], one of [the] most eminent American radical socialists." (Our critics on the left, who enjoy pointing to articles that would make Jones "roll over in her grave," would take issue with Kopel's slight.)