Ben Carson on Friday sought to explain his controversial comments this week that the Holocaust could have been lessened if citizens had more guns.
“Basically, what I said is that when tyranny occurs traditionally around the world, they try and disarm the people first. And that is exactly what happened in Germany,” Carson said at the National Press Club. “You know, mid- to late 30s they started a program to disarm the people and by mid- to late 40’s, look what had happened.”
Carson was referencing remarks Thursday on CNN that the Holocaust would have been less deadly had more people in Europe been armed.
“I think the likelihood of Hitler being able to accomplish his goals would have been greatly diminished if the people had been armed,” he told Wolf Blitzer when asked if there were no gun-control laws in Germany would that have prevented the murder of 6 million Jews. “I’m telling you there is a reason these dictatorial people take the guns first.”
He also defended Friday his previous statement that arming teachers could have made the incident less tragic.
“It’s probably a good idea to make sure that there are people in the areas that we have vulnerable people who can oppose these people. Not with just words but who are trained. They can be retired policemen retired military some teachers might have the ability,” he said.
“I would feel much safer if my kid or grandchild were in a school that I knew that there were people there to protect them if somebody like that came in,” he added.
On Thursday, he addressed his previous statement that he’d rather go down fighting if he were facing a gunman similar to the killer at the Oregon college.
“To me that doesn’t sound like a very controversial thing, but when you take it out of context and you try to make it look like I’m criticizing the victims, that’s when it becomes controversial,” Carson said Thursday, adding, “I would much rather go down fighting.”
Carson said earlier this week on Fox News that he would’ve rushed the gunman.
“Not only would I probably not cooperate with him, I would not just stand there and let him shoot me,” Carson said. “I would say, ‘Hey guys, everybody attack him. He may shoot me, but he can’t get us all.’”
Carson said the student who responded negatively to his statement did so because he was “probably fed” some misinformation about his position, suggesting the media coverage has misconstrued his comments.
He has since looked to clean up his remarks, saying that he was “not judging (the shooting victims) at all.”
The Republican candidate also has said that arming teachers could help prevent shootings. “Whether it’s a kindergarten teacher who is well trained or a retired policeman or someone who can stop the carnage, I think it makes sense,” he said.
Also this week, Carson recounted a story about being held at gunpoint in fast-food restaurant.
“I have had a gun held on me when I was in a Popeye’s organization” in Baltimore, the retired neurosurgeon told Karen Hunter on Sirius XM Radio, referring to the fried chicken fast-food chain.
“Guy comes in, put the gun in my ribs. And I just said, ‘I believe that you want the guy behind the counter,’” Carson said.