Michigan Republican Party compares gun safety laws to Holocaust
The party has refused to remove a meme they posted falsely claiming Nazis enacted gun control laws in Germany before massacring over 6 million people. In fact, party chair Kristina Karamo defended it.
The Michigan Republican Party posted a false meme on social media on Wednesday suggesting that the Nazi Party used gun control laws to disarm Jewish and other German citizens in the years before the Holocaust.
In the wake of a mass shooting at Michigan State University on Feb. 13 that left three students dead, the Democratic-controlled Michigan state Legislature advanced new gun safety legislation last week to tighten background check requirements and allow law enforcement officers to temporarily disarm those judged to be an immediate risk to themselves or others.
On Wednesday, the Michigan Republican Party tweeted from its official account: “#History has shown us that the first thing a government does when it wants total control over its people is to disarm them. President Reagan once stated, “if we lose #freedom here, there is nowhere else to escape to. This is the last stand on Earth.” #2A #GOP.”
The text was accompanied by a meme showing a photograph of gold wedding rings stolen by the Nazis from the fingers of Jewish Holocaust victims with the text, “Before they collected all these wedding rings… … they collected all the guns.”
The words invoke a debunked claim once made by former President Donald Trump’s former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson in a 2015 book. In reality, Germany had a gun registration law that was enacted in 1928, then reversed under Adolf Hitler’s regime. PolitiFact rated Carson’s claim as false in 2015, and rated viral posts reiterating the claims as false in 2019.
The Anti-Defamation League, a national organization that works to combat antisemitism, condemned the tweet: “@MIGOP should be ashamed of themselves. Using the Holocaust as a way to score cheap political points in the debate over gun control is unacceptable and trivializes the memory of millions murdered by the Nazis.”
Matt Brooks, CEO of the Republican Jewish Coalition, was one of several Republicans who denounced the state party’s tweet, writing, “This tweet by @MIGOP is absolutely inappropriate and offensive and should be taken down immediately.”
Former Republican Michigan Rep. David Trott told the Detroit News it was “disturbing.”
The Michigan GOP has refused to apologize for sharing the meme and has denounced the bipartisan criticism as “bogus” and “authoritarian.”
Three hours after her party tweeted the meme, Michigan Republican Party Chair Kristina Karamo tweeted a lengthy statement refusing to apologize for the post, citing the nation’s history of slavery, murder of Native Americans, and Japanese internment.
“We will not be silent as the Democratic Party, the party who fought to enslave Black Americans, and currently fights to murder unborn children, attempt to disarm us,” she wrote. “Our 2nd Amendment was put in place to protect us from aspiring tyrants. MIGOP stands by our statement.”
Karamo is an anti-abortion, anti-vaccine election denier who ran for Michigan secretary of state in 2022 and lost. She refused to concede the race despite losing by 14% in November. Michigan Republicans elected Karamo as their state chair in February.
The party shared Karamo’s tweet, adding, “MIGOP Chairwoman @KristinaKaramo responds to the bogus authoritarian frenzy over the legitimate comparison to the troubling history of governments that have disarmed their citizens. #Defend2A.”
The Michigan nonprofit group Distill also shared on Wednesday that Karamo’s co-chair, Malinda Pego, changed her Facebook banner to the image for the Three Percenters, a Southern Poverty Law Center-designated extremist militia movement.
A spokesperson for the Michigan Republican Party did not respond to a request from the American Independent Foundation.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.
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