When the president of Ohio’s state school board posted her opposition to gun control, she used a powerful symbol to make her point–a picture of Adolf Hitler.
In the months since the Newtown, Conn., school massacre, some gun rights supporters have repeatedly compared U.S. gun control efforts to Nazi restrictions on firearms, arguing that limiting weapons ownership could leave Americans defenseless against homegrown tyrants.
But some experts say that argument distorts a complex history. Scholars say Hitler loosened the tight gun laws that governed Germany after World War I, even as he barred Jews from owning weapons and moved to confiscate them.
After gun owners rallied at New York’s capitol in February with some carrying signs depicting Gov. Andrew Cuomo as Hitler, National Rifle Association President David Keene said the analogy was appropriate.