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Gun Control: Different Jewish View

February 1, 2013

smith and wesson

The Central Conference of American Rabbis, together with the Union for Reform Judaism through the wing of the Religious Action Center, are on record for stronger gun control laws. On the Religious Action Center’s website you can find, “It is imperative that President Obama and Congress take action to prevent gun violence, including taking assault weapons off of our streets and improving our system of background checks.” By far the great majority of reform rabbis are in agreement for stronger gun control laws.

I concur with my colleagues in regards to the need to effectively keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill. We have all too often seen the tragic consequences of this failure.

There is a danger however in Jews being the leaders in taking all guns from our homes, and Jews complying. This is what happened to my own grandfather in 1938 in Vienna, Austria:

Soon after the Nazis took control of the Vienna, Storm Troopers came to my grandfather’s apartment and searched it for contraband. He owned a pistol, which had been made illegal by the Nazis for Jews to own. This was one of the first laws passed in 1938 when the Nazis occupied Austria. The Storm Troopers, who my father described as being similar to the Hell’s Angels of the 1960s, at first wanted to immediately take my grandfather to a concentration camp. My grandfather, who had great people sense, brought out the schnapps and managed to ingratiate himself with the storm troopers well enough to make them leave for the night without arresting him on the spot. Needless to say, he was able to escape with the rest of his immediate family from Austria. More than thirty other members of my family died in the Holocaust. My point is simply this: we should think very carefully about disarming the Jewish world. Perhaps the Holocaust would have had a different ending if the Jewish community could have effectively protected themselves.

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One Comment
  1. B Nicole Sims permalink

    I noticed that you said that guns should be taken out of the hands of the mentally ill. With all of this depression, anxiety, ADHD, and plain personality complexes, that would leave no one with a defense for themselves. It’s up to families to monitor their members and make the authorities come and take them to a facility–if they are violent. But, NO, not all people with mental issues are violent. The families, neighbors, strangers could have gotten a clue that these men were a threat. Report it to the police. In some of these cases there was complicity by a family member by stocking a home with weapons with someone who was, to say the least, unpredictable. Don’t stigmatize people who are afflicted as most are not violent. Do better at reaching these youth who don’t realize the consequences of shooting someone over a squabble. Death is final! That’s where the real problem lies. These mass shootings were by people who were unhinged and threatening. Do you want to leave someone who has bipolar that makes them have rapid thoughts for a season, but is fine most years and never violent to never be able to protect themself when there okay? This is especially pertinent when they are a woman. Mentally bound people are good, caring people, usually, that don’t want to hurt anyone. They just want their peace of mind.

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