An Alaska politician has argued against tougher US gun control by claiming that Jews would have survived the Holocaust if they had been armed.
Don Young, a Republican congressman for the state since 1973, made the remark after being quizzed on school safety by Democrat Dimitri Shein, who is running for his seat, Alaska Public Media reported.
Speaking at the Alaska Municipal League, Mr Young said: “How many millions of people were shot and killed because they were unarmed? Fifty million in Russia. How many Jews were put in the ovens because they were unarmed?”
Mr Young, the last remaining member of either the Senate or House of Representatives to have served during the Richard Nixon presidency in the early 1970s, is a prominent advocate for gun rights in his home state, the Daily Mailreports.
Congressman is member of the NRA
He is a member of the National Rifle Association (NRA), and has previously said he believes that arming teachers could prevent future school shootings, a view echoed by President Trump.
Debate over gun safety in the US has raged since 17 people lost their lives in an attack at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on February 14.
Genocides have long been invoked in support of gun rights. In October 2015 Ben Carson, then a US presidential candidate, argued that the Holocaust would have been “greatly diminished” had Jews been armed.
He said: “I’m telling you there is a reason these dictatorial people take guns first. There were a number of countries where tyranny reigns and before it happened they disarmed the people.”
The Anti-Defamation League has attacked such beliefs, saying it is “mind-bending” to suggest personal firearms could have stopped the “totalitarian onslaught of Nazi Germany”.