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Mainstream Jews shunned him, he said. “The Jewish Federation doesn’t like me. The ADL doesn’t like me.” He took a joyless sip of water. “At the shul we belong to now, I make a point of not talking about what I do, because there are Holocaust survivors there who argue with me.
“But you know, in all the time we’ve been doing this, nobody’s ever said, ‘Oh, Zelman, you’re wrong, and here’s the proof.’ Time after time, the gun laws were there. The laws were enforced. And the genocides happened. Bodies don’t lie. And people who think it can’t happen here? Ask Japanese Americans, the American Indians, the African Americans. They’ll tell you it can happen here, because it already has.”
Aaron died later that year, on December 21, 2010.
You can still visit JPFO online — the logo is an electrifying red, white and blue Jewish star flanked by a musket and a machine gun — and Aaron’s two books are still available. “Death by ‘Gun Control’” examines nine 20th-century genocides — including in Rwanda, Cambodia and Ottoman Turkey — and the gun bans or restrictions that preceded them.
“‘Gun Control’: Gateway to Tyranny” reveals that Senator Thomas Dodd, who was a prosecutor at Nuremberg, asked the Library of Congress to translate Hitler’s 1938 gun-control laws into English so that he could consult them when working on the Gun Control Act of 1968.
Neither book made much of a splash. But I still think about Aaron.
Dan Baum is the author of “Gun Guys: A Road Trip” (Knopf, 2013).