Gun Control – Germans and Guns



Gun Control in the Third Reich

This is an interesting book that addresses the subject of gun control under the Nazis.  Did it have make difference? I tend to think that it might have made a real difference at the outset of the persecution of the Jews and it would have been harder to make them and others who were kept silent when the bully tactics were being used to gain power.  I have not read this book but it is on my list of things to do.  The subject also got me thinking about the time I spent living over there in the 1960s and my observations about Germans and Guns.

I have a few personal observations about Germans gleaned from spending three years living among them when I was stationed there outside of Nuremberg during the late 60’s.  I lived off post and learned how to blend in fairly well, at least until I was asked a real question that required more than a short answer in German.

Germans, as I got to know them felt a strong need to keep everything in order and as predictable as possible and they seemed to be willing to adapt their own needs to the ‘greater good’.  Germans also liked titles and power, at least enough to get their jobs done and, the more visible these sings of power are the better, each German seemed to understand exactly where he fell on the social pecking order which appeared to be almost a cast system.

Within the parameters stated above there was a process that separated the ‘good folk’ who had status and the proper view points from the ‘undesriables’ who were a danger to maintaining order.   In the 1960’s good Germans who could pay the fees, around $1,000 at the time and who could pass background checks and go through about a years instruction in shooting and hunting could get their gun/hunting license that would allow them to own and carry various guns.

In other words they were elevated to a special trusted status that few people could attain due to the expense and passing discretionary background checks.  To my knowledge the government made a point of always knowing where every gun owned by German was all of the time.  As for hunting, the Jaegermeister, (Hunting Master) and his staff would instruct each hunter in the field exactly which animal he was allowed to shoot and it was a very big deal to be able to kill a small deer or chamois.

In Barvaria the shooting clubs were a very big deal, even in the 60’s and they treasured their controlled hunting and shooting traditions.  What we do in the US seemed very chaotic and disorderly and our views are so different about guns it was hard to discuss them with a German.  We appeared to be some sort if unpredictable anarchy to them.

It is my impression that the regulation and disarmament of lesser peoples during the 1920’s and on made very good sense to the average German because people of substance who supported the government were not really affected and those who were affected were forced to comply, at the risk of prison, for the greater good of the people.

I had a lot of conversations with older people during the 1960’s, those in their late 40’s and older and once we became friendly they were willing to discuss the Nazis and the War.  Almost without exception they would tell me that Hitler was really great during the 1930’s as the country got back on its feet and he cared a lot about the people.  What they would share with me then was that he became bad when they started losing the war and got the crap bombed out of their country.

A person my age now who lived in Germany in the 1960’s would have lived under the Kaiser and  stringent controls, suffered during WWI, gone through terrible times during the inflation of the 1920’s, enjoyed a brief time of optimism during the latter 1930’s and even the early war years and then suffered terribly at the end of WWII for a number of years of the early recovery when their whole nation starved and was chopped apart.

All of my observations above are based upon experiences that are almost 50 years old and I cannot say what the circumstances of Germans in relation to private ownership of guns are today however it is my impression that things have not changed that much for the average German.

At the same time our nation is so diverse and different, with the exception of a few locations, the average person can go spend three to five hundred dollars and if they are not a felon, drug abuser or involved in domestic violence they can own a pistol, rifle or shotgun and for a modest amount of money or for free, they can find a place to shot and practice their gun.

I really think we need to keep and protect the mindset that allows us to own firearms and not find ourselves in a society where only those deemed worthy and friends of those in power are allowed guns.  Even folks who don’t own guns benefit when the criminals have not idea which house or car has an armed person and which house does not.  At least here in Texas it works that way.

About the Author

Joe McElyea
I am an original member and founder of the esteemed High Plains Shooting and Dining Society which is dedicated to fellowship of bird hunters and shooters who also enjoy finding great local places to eat large, unhealthy portions of breaded and fried meats and gravies washed down with the appropriate libations. I am also a retired old man who enjoys fishing, shooting and my wonderful family.

1 Enlightened Reply

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  1. Avatar Everett says:

    Interesting. Thanks Joe.