Aaron Zelman is executive director of Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership, a pro-Second Amendment group based in Milwaukee.
THE NEW AMERICAN: What is your organization’s main goal?
Aaron Zelman: Our main goal is to destroy gun control. We are an organization that believes we have the moral authority to point out to the rest of the world the evils that have come from gun control and how humanity has suffered because of gun-control schemes.
TNA: Are people who aren’t Jewish members of your organization?
Zelman: We have members of our organization that have told us they are not Jewish. We don’t ask people what their religion is. And we are not an organization that is preaching religion to anybody.
We think the history of gun-control schemes has been so harmful to Jews that we have the moral authority to speak out. We welcome anybody who accepts the JPFO position that gun control must be destroyed.
We’re not interested in compromise. We are only interested in the destruction of something we consider to be a very evil and deadly policy known as gun control.
TNA: How did you become involved in something like this?
Zelman: Well, I’ve been involved in promoting gun ownership because of my family history to some degree. When my father was about six months old, his family had to leave the Ukraine in Russia because Stalin came to power. Stalin was not interested in kulaks owning land.
And so they lost everything they had, essentially, and fled to Canada where my dad was raised and served in the Canadian Army during World War II. So, I learned at a very, very early age what happens when you can’t defend your life against a government gone bad.
TNA: Could you give us some examples of what has happened in other nations where gun control was in place?
Zelman: Well, there are several. Why don’t we start with the film we created called Innocents Betrayed? The film shows the history of and the connection between gun registration, confiscation, and how a police state is able to come about. It shows how the police state can target individuals they don’t want to live and murder them — otherwise known as genocide.
TNA: Where has this happened?
Zelman: Historically it happened in Turkey, known as the Armenian Genocide, and then, of course, in China, Russia, Germany, Cambodia, Rwanda, Uganda, and even now in Darfur.
TNA: You’ve actually obtained some of the documents from these different countries, and you’ve translated them so that we who read only English can read them?
Zelman: A number of years ago we started this project of trying to find out if there was a connection among governments and if governments did the same thing. As we put it, these folks all go to the same dictators’ school. Indeed, there is a connection because there is a pattern.
They realize they can’t stay in power if the peasants have pitchforks and can march on the gates of the city. The way to bring about a dictatorship or police state is to make sure the people are disarmed.
TNA: I understand you have done work showing the source of the 1968 gun law here in the United States.
Zelman: The 1968 Gun Control Act, as we know it today, became law during the Johnson administration. The history behind the 1968 act is indeed fascinating.
The author of the federal Gun Control Act, Senator Thomas Dodd, was an attorney with the U.S. Justice Department at Nuremburg. He obtained the Reichsgesetzblatt, which is the German equivalent of our Federal Register. He was able to use the German gun-control laws after giving them to the Library of Congress to translate for him. They did indeed translate the laws for him, and that was the model, the basis, for the 1968 Gun Control Act in America.
TNA: Many Americans believe that it is the duty of police to protect them. Comment?
Zelman: The police do not have a duty to protect individuals. The shield on the side of the car may say “to protect and serve,” but the reality is, and by state law and the state statutes and case law, you do not have a right to police protection.
We have a book we publish entitled Dial 911 and Die. It’s written by an attorney named Richard Stevens. The book details laws in every single state in the Union, the state statutes as well as case law, concerning calling 911.
You can sue the police if they fail to protect you, and your heirs can sue the police if you die during a criminal’s attack on you, but you won’t accomplish anything because the judge will finally tell you that there is no duty for the police to protect an individual unless there’s been a prior agreement that they will offer you protection.
If you’ve been an informant for the police, if you are involved in some type of work for the police where the police are not able to protect you, if it’s dangerous work, you are entitled. But short of that the police have no duty to protect you.
TNA: Could you tell us about “Goody Guns”?
Zelman: Goody Guns is a program we started to save our children from the clutches of the gun prohibitionists in the public school system. Goody Guns are cookie cutters in the shape of revolvers or pistols, and the purpose of using them as you bake cookies for your children, or grandchildren, is to teach them firearm safety while they are eating their cookie.
You tell them to eat the cookie from the back of the gun where the handle is to the front of the gun where the muzzle is. And so they learn an important fact on firearms safety — controlling where the muzzle is pointed. You start early with the Goody Guns, and by the time they get to the public school system and they hear all the propaganda about guns being bad, they will know better.
When we first introduced Goody Guns, gun prohibitionists had a conniption fit because they knew the psychology behind our program. They realized they can’t get into your home when the kid is two years old; they have to wait until your child is six years old in the school system, and by then they’ve lost.
Once Goody Guns went up on the Internet, everybody knew about it. We had, concerning Goody Guns, a call from a television station in England that was producing a program on guns in America. And they were curious about Goody Guns.
The person who called me wanted to know what the rationale behind Goody Guns was, and I sensed from the way she was asking the questions that she was trying to figure out a way to maneuver something to cause us a problem. Finally, she acknowledged, after we were almost done, that this was very clever and would probably be very effective. End of conversation. She put the phone down.
TNA: Have you been blasted by the media for this?
Zelman: Well, the media is being true to form. They want to ignore anything that JPFO does. But the gun prohibitionists remain incensed. They had to speak out against it.
TNA: What’s the greatest threat on the horizon right now for the right to keep and bear arms?
Zelman: I think there are numerous threats, but one is that the American public really doesn’t understand a need for an armed citizenry. Our country became independent because citizens were armed. This is why an organized, state-controlled militia received attention in the U.S. Constitution. So we have a lot of work to do.
We have to reach out to people and help them understand why citizens must be armed, and what’s happened to citizens throughout the world and throughout history when they couldn’t defend themselves against a government gone bad.