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Bogus Gun Control Quotes
Quotes falsely attributed to Hilter, Sarah Brady, and Janet Reno are mentioned. (Also see bogus quotes from the Founding Fathers.)

The following analysis of the bogus Hitler quote is from a "talk.politics.guns" usenet FAQ. (Original copyrighted source: Cramer, Clayton, Firing Back, 1995. Reprinted with author's permission.)

"Pious Frauds: Or, If It Sounds Too Good To Be True..."

In the Middle Ages, it seems that every church had a splinter of the True Cross, or a piece of cloth supposedly from the burial shroud of Jesus. While some of these were honest mistakes (and maybe one of those splinters was what it was claimed to be), a great many of the holy artifacts the peasants came to see were what we now call "pious frauds," manufactured relics made with the expectation that people would believe them to be real. It was easy for some monks and priests to justify this dishonesty, because they made it easier for the peasants to believe. Along with an enormous amount of good, well-researched evidence on the pro-RKBA side, there exist several items, mostly "quotations," which are popular, but in fact are "pious frauds." Whoever first put these items into circulation must have known that they were false, but figured it would "help the cause". It doesn't. Neither does spreading them around today.

The "Hitler" Quote That Wouldn't Die: "1935 Will Go Down In History!"

"This year* will go down in history! For the first time, a civilized nation has full gun registration! Our streets will be safer, our police more efficient, and the world will follow our lead into the future!"
         ---Falsely attributed to Adolf Hitler, "Abschied vom Hessenland!" ["Farewell to Hessia!"], ['Berlin Daily' (Loose English Translation)], April 15th, 1935, Page 3 Article 2, Einleitung Von Eberhard Beckmann [Introduction by Eberhard Beckmann].
This quotation, often seen without any date or citation at all, suffers from several credibility problems, the most significant of which is that the date given (*in alternate versions, the words "This year..." are replaced by "1935..." has no correlation with any legislative effort by the Nazis for gun registration, nor would there have been a need for the Nazis to pass such a law, since gun registration laws passed by the Weimar government were already in effect. The Nazi Weapons Law (or Waffengesetz) which further restricted the possession of militarily useful weapons and forbade trade in weapons without a government-issued license was passed on March 18, 1938.

The citation usually given for this quote is a jumbled mess, and has only three major clues from which to work. The first is the date, which does not correspond (even approximately) to a date on which Hitler made a public speech, and a check of the texts of Hitler's speeches does not reveal a quotation resembling this (which is easily understandable when you realize that "Hitler" is commenting on a non-existent law). The second clue is the newspaper reference, which if translated into German resembles the title of a newspaper called Berliner Tageblatt, and a check of the issue for that date reveals that the page and column references given are to the arts and culture page! No Hitler speech appears in the pages of Berliner Tageblatt on that date, or dates close to it, because there was no such speech to report.

Finally, the citation includes a proper name "Eberhard Beckmann," which is sometimes cited as "by Einleitung Von Eberhard Beckmann," which is an important clue itself, because it reveals that the citation was fabricated by someone who had so little knowledge of the German language that they were unaware that "Einleitung" isn't the fellow's first name! The only "Eberhard Beckmann" which has been uncovered thus far did indeed write introductions, but he was a journalist for a German broadcasting company after WWII, and he wrote several introductions to photography books, one of which was photos of the German state of Hesse (or Hessia), which may be the source of the curious phrase "Abschied vom Hessenland!" which appears in the citation. This quotation, however effective it may be as propaganda, is a fraud.

[GunCite note: Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership, a gun rights group, acknowledges the quote as bogus in the second item of their FAQ.]

The rest of this page is excerpted from a "talk.politics.guns" usenet FAQ.

The "B'nai B'rith" speech by "Janet Reno"

"The most effective means of fighting crime in the United States is to outlaw the possession of any type of firearm by the civilian populace."
         ---Falsely attributed to Janet Reno, then-state attorney for Dade County, speech to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida B'nai B'rith gathering, ca.1991.
This supposed "quote" first got national attention when it appeared in the April 1995 issue of Soldier of Fortune, as part of an article by Mike Williams entitled "Citizen Militias: '...Necessary to the Security of a Free State...' " and was picked up by the New York Times Syndicate as part of their coverage of the militia movement in the wake of the bombing in Oklahoma City.

According to editorials by Martin Dyckman, published in the St. Petersburg Times May 2 and May 28, 1995, the "quote" appears to have originated with an affidavit written by Fred Diamond of Miami, FL who claimed to have heard Reno speak in Coral Gables (not Fort Lauderdale) "on or about November 1, 1984". According to Diamond's affidavit, "Janet Reno told the members of our group assembled, that waiting periods were only a step, that registration was only a step, and further that the prohibition of the private ownership of firearms was the only ultimate solution to controlling crime. I was shocked and appalled to hear her, an elected public official sworn to uphold and defend the Constitution, espouse and advocate a position that would effectively repeal the guarantees of the Second Amendment."

Early in 1993, after Reno was nominated to be Attorney General, Diamond talked to Marion Hammer, then the National Rifle Association's Florida lobbyist, and NRA sent him affidavits to sign. Diamond says he rejected their first draft. Subsequently, Hammer's newsletter, Florida Firing Line, published an article on Reno in March 1993, including almost word for word the key passage from Diamond's affidavit about what Reno allegedly said, but the newsletter put the speech in 1991, not 1984. Diamond didn't sign the affidavit (with the correct year) until June 17, 1993, after Reno had already been confirmed.

Reno has been questioned about the "quote" and denies having said it, either in 1991 or 1984. A spokesman for the Justice Department, Bert Brandenburg, told the New York Times syndicate: "The assertion is untrue and the attorney general has never made such a statement" (Cleveland Plain Dealer, May 2, 1995). The Reno "quote" has appeared in print elsewhere, including National Review on May 29, 1995 as part of an article by Alan W. Bock about the militia movement; and was reprinted in a Guns and Ammo editorial by Ed Moats on concealed carry in October of 1996.

The "Socialist America" quote from "Sarah Brady"

"Our task of creating a socialist America can only succeed when those who would resist us are totally disarmed."
         ---Falsely (hilariously?) attributed to Sarah Brady of Handgun Control, Inc. supposedly in The American Educator, published by the American Federation of Teachers (or alternatively, attributed to a speech to AARP, late 1991) [GunCite: Currently, far more commonly cited as The National Educator, January, 1994, Page 3.]
This bit of dialogue is reminiscent of a bad movie, and even if Sarah Brady really were bent on fighting for international socialism, she's not quite stupid enough to say so out loud! [GunCite comment: The Bradys used to be registered as Republicans. It is unlikely they would harbor a belief in a socialist America. (Sarah Brady is now registered as an independent.) ] Even Lyndon LaRouche couldn't believe this conspiracy...

[More from GunCite:

According to gun rights activist Chris Knox (Neal Knox's son):
"The quote originally appeared in Machine Gun News, June 1991, Volume 5, Number 1, page 6. in the column "RAFFICA" by Dan Shea, Column 2, Paragraph 2. (Also see Dan Shea's comments, which drives a proverbial stake through the heart of this apocryphal quote).

"Neal Knox checked into this extensively -- before it appeared in the National Educator -- and concluded that this quote just never happened."

"It simply sounds bogus on its face, sounding more like dialogue from a bad 1930s propaganda movie than anything a real person would say. It's often easier to believe something we'd really like to see."

(The National Educator is described by the Anti-Defamation League as an anti-Semitic periodical "whose pages have honored the leaders of the far-right terrorist gang called The Order and the neo-Nazi paramilitary group, Aryan Nations." Source: ARMED & DANGEROUS: MILITIAS TAKE AIM AT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT: AN ADL FACT FINDING REPORT, Anti-Defamation League, 1994. In other words the National Educator is something other than a professional magazine for school teachers).

The Second Amendment Foundation also comments:

"This phony quote is often cited as a statement from Sarah Brady, Chairman, HCI, to Howard Metzenbaum, The National Educator, January, 1994, Page 3. "Sarah" and "Metzenbaum" are sometimes misspelled as "Sara" and "Metzanbaum" on the Internet. [T]he common citation does not check out."]

Even a bogus quote can't be kept straight. Like a virus there are several strains. To see how silly it gets and how NOT to defend gun rights or present a gun control argument, click here.

"Jim 'the Bear' Brady has (or had) a Class III FFL!"

This falls more into the category of an "urban legend" than an actual quote, and most likely resulted from a case of mistaken identity. If Sarah, who's a conservative Republican in most other respects (aside from her fetish for gun control), can have a secret double life as a closet Communist, can we then suppose that poor "gun victim" Jim can "rock-and-roll" with his machinegun habit?

Can we imagine him at Jay Rockefeller's range wearing a "Happiness Is a Belt-Fed Weapon" T-shirt, as the Norinco brass mounds up in the spokes of his wheelchair? Not bloody likely.

Republican senatorial candidate Al Salvi of Illinois found out the hard way in October of 1996 how not checking one's facts before opening one's mouth can cost you. Salvi... at a fundraiser [said]: "Jim Brady was a licensed machinegun dealer before he was shot." Salvi apologized publicly and retracted the statement. There's obviously more than one James Brady in the world, and in BATF's record books.

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