Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Jews split on gun control

From the Jewish Chronicle:
... Gun control has long been a cause important to numerous Jewish social action groups.

For example, the Anti-Defamation League last fall joined a coalition of religious and civil rights organizations in an effort to stop the Senate’s consideration of H.R. 6842, which would have removed Washington D.C.’s bans on semiautomatic weapons and handgun ammunition, repeal registration requirements, and remove criminal penalties for possession of unregistered firearms.

Hadassah, in 2000, reaffirmed its long-held written policy, urging federal and state legislatures to enact stronger gun control laws.

And the American Jewish Committee filed an amicus curiae brief last year in the landmark case of D.C. v. Heller, arguing that the Second Amendment does not protect the right to possess firearms for personal use, but rather “was designed to enhance state and local authority to protect life and liberty through the maintenance of militias composed of the local populace.”

“The American Jewish Committee has a strong and well-stated policy on gun control,” said Lisa Steindel, director of the Pittsburgh Area Jewish Committee, which is associated with the AJC.
It’s hard to understand why we can’t re-enact that law,” said Weinstein. “At the end of the day, if we have laws that take military assault weapons off the street, that makes us all safer.”

But not all Jews subscribe to the anti-gun paradigm.

“Any Jewish group that claims that it is somehow in the Jewish tradition to restrict ownership of guns, misreads that tradition,” said Rabbi Danny Schiff, community scholar for the Agency for Jewish Learning.

“Israelis have a gun under every bed,” Schiff said. “They have this whole concept of the purity of arms. The question is never about the weapon per se, but how you regard the use of the weapon. If you need weapons to combat evil, then so be it. If the weapons are misused, it is an abomination.”

“You can not coherently make the argument that there’s a Jewish position that restricts the number of guns you can own,” Schiff said.

Aaron Zelman, founder and director of the 7000-member organization, Jews for the Preservation of Firearm Ownership, would agree.
One film produced by the JPFO, “Innocents Betrayed,” “clearly shows the connection between disarming people and governments murdering them,” Zelman said, adding that the results of gun control legislation led to the nine major genocides over the last 100 years, including Nazi Germany.

Jewish gun control advocates are ignoring the lessons of history, Zelman claimed. He said guns are necessary not only “to protect ourselves from bad guys, but to protect ourselves against governments that could become tyrannical.” ...

Read the whole thing here. I've always been surprised that any rational Jew would embrace gun control in a post-Holocaust world. Those who ignore the lessons of history ....

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