Argumentum Ad Hitlerum: Gun Safety Law Edition

Argumentum ad Hitlerum
Argumentum ad Hitlerum

Do you know what is just like Nazi Germany? Gun safety regulations, of course. Background checks, to be precise. That is according to NRA spokesperson Brian Judy, who presented this gem of historical analogy at a pro-gun rally in the state of Washington last week. It is also factually wrong.

A brief look at the Wikipedia article “Overview of gun laws by nation” reveals that there are many countries around the world with some sort of background check examining mental health required for gun ownership.

Among the countries that have this gun safety regulation in place are Australia, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Israel, and the United Kingdom.

Now that would be quite a lot of countries governed by Neo-Nazis.

This is of course total nonsense and only illustrates that the NRA’s Mr. Judy is not interested in facts but careless hyperbole.

It is but one more ridiculous example of playing the Nazi card, the argumentum ad Hitlerum, because one’s argument is not based on valid facts.

The NRA’s Love/Hate-Relationship With Violent Hollywood Movies

NRA Makes 180 Degree Turn On Violent Hollywood Movies

Guns don’t kill people, movies and video games do

In the wake of last December’s school shooting in Newtown, Conn., the National Rifle Association‘s then-CEO Wayne LaPierre pointed the finger at violent video games and movies for causing such horrible tragedies in America.

As anyone peeking into the current debate on gun control in the US, I have noticed that the NRA even opposes seemingly uncontroversial, mild, dare I say sane limitations on gun ownership, such as background checks for people with mental health issues or criminal records.

As I understand it, the NRA in its current iteration holds that in order to make America safer, all avenues should be explored except for one: stricter regulation of firearms.

Violent Hollywood filth is corrupting America…

So if lax gun regulation is not the culprit, who is to blame? Hollywood, of course!

As Talking Points Memo reports, LaPierre blasted Hollywood as “a callous, corrupt and corrupting shadow industry that sells, and sows, violence against its own people.” He specifically railed against violent movies as “the filthiest form of pornography.”

…except when we love that Hollywood filth!

One might be tempted to take the NRA seriously, were it not for the following blatant hypocrisy on their part:

The NRA’s publication The American Rifleman recently—after LaPierre’s rant speech against violent movies— published a list of “the coolest gun movies” on their website.

The list includes gems such as the 1980s action flicks The Terminator starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Die Hard starring Bruce Willis, or Delta Force starring Chuck Norris and Lee Marvin, all products of Hollywood’s “corrupting shadow industry.”

Having seen most of those movies myself at one point, I dare to state the obvious: It would be an understatement to say that they all share are a certain aesthetization of violence.

I am not arguing the case that watching violent movies or playing violent video games necessarily makes violent people. In fact I hope that my personal consumption of such entertainment in the past has not had too much of a detrimental effect on my frame of mind.

But if you do, like the NRA, you cannot all of a sudden turn around and tell the world with a straight face how great all of these violent action movies are.

Conveniently applying that double standard makes you unprincipled and hypocritical. Maybe given the twenty-four hour news cycle, people can be forgiven for a short attention span.

But if the NRA calls Hollywood a cesspool and five minutes later jumps in it, I call bullshit.

Read more:

Background checks on gun sales: How do they work?” (Corinne Jones, CNN, 2013/04/10)

[Op-Ed] “Why the NRA fights background checks.” (John J. Donohue, CNN, 2013/04/10)