A Republican congressman from Alaska claimed during a debate on gun control last week that Jews were killed in the Holocaust because they were unarmed.
Rep. Donald Young, the longest-serving member of the House of Representatives and a member of the National Rifle Association board, made the claim to support his argument against imposing gun control regulations.
Responding to a question about protecting schoolchildren from Dimitri Shein, a Democrat running for Young’s congressional seat, Young answered: “How many millions of people were shot and killed because they were unarmed? Fifty million in Russia, because their citizens weren’t armed. How many Jews were put into the ovens because they were unarmed?”
In a video published by Shein, the Alaskan congressman can also be heard expressing his belief that school teachers should be armed in order to protect their students.
Young was first elected in 1973 and is currently serving his 23rd term as Alaska’s only member of the House of Representatives. According to a 2017 New York Times report,
Young has received nearly $250,000 in funding from the NRA throughout his career, making him the sixth-leading recipient in the House of funds from the gun-rights organization.
Gun-rights advocates have often argued against gun control by using the murder of Jews during the Holocaust as an example.
In 2015, then-Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson was criticized after saying during a CNN interview, “The likelihood of Hitler being able to accomplish his goals would have been greatly diminished if the people had been armed.”
Jonathan Greenblatt, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, slammed Carson’s comments, stating, “Gun control did not cause the Holocaust; Nazism and antisemitism did.”
A fierce debate over gun control in the US has resurfaced after a February 14 shooting at Florida’s Majory Stoneman Douglas High School, during which 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz walked into his former school and shot dead 17 people.