Within the firearms community there is bewilderment as to why so many American Jews oppose 2d Amendment freedoms, and why Jewish politicians are often at the forefront of oppressive gun control legislation. The basic reasoning goes that Jews, as victims of the Holocaust, ought to be at the forefront of civilian rights to protect themselves from crime and oppressive government. The Warsaw ghetto uprisings, a source of pride to many Jews, ought to be instructive as well. Further, the history lesson is not limited to the Holocaust, as virtually every country where Jews have lived has either failed to protect them from violent hatred, or actively participated in their oppression or murder. Why then, do so many American Jews a) choose not to own firearms, and b) encourage legislation to stop others from owning them as well?
In my view, there are fairly simple answers to these questions. The first overriding principle is that the majority of American Jews identify themselves as “liberals” or “progressives.” As I am neither of these, I find it extremely difficult to explain this tendency without resorting to, shall we say, politically incorrect language… However, Norman Podhoretz, a contributor to the excellent Commentary magazine, has written a book on the topic and has talked on the subject:
So, simply put, many American Jews oppose 2nd Amendment freedoms for much the same reasons as other liberals and progressives. Such liberal and progressive Jews are primarily driven to oppose gun rights by their secular views, not their Jewish beliefs or identity.
That answer may be unsatisfactory to the extent that it fails to explain why, despite adhering to secular progressive doctrine generally, such American Jews don’t make an exception for 2nd Amendment rights given their personal history. Further, I know many readers are curious as to where the Jewish religion stands on 2nd Amendment issues. In later posts I will address these topics.