The Michigan Republican Party sparked criticism Wednesday after the organization used imagery from the Holocaust to argue against what it says are Democrats’ restrictive gun proposals.
In a social media post published Wednesday morning, the Michigan GOP used a photograph of wedding rings taken from Holocaust victims by Nazi Germany with text over it that reads, “Before they collected all these wedding rings…they collected all the guns.”
“History has shown us that the first thing a government does when it wants total control over its people is to disarm them,” the Michigan GOP said in its post.
The post was criticized by other Republicans, including Matt Brooks, the CEO of the Republican Jewish Coalition, who called it “absolutely inappropriate and offensive and should be taken down immediately.”
The Anti-Defamation League in a tweet said, “Using the Holocaust as a way to score cheap political points in the debate over gun control is unacceptable and trivializes the memory of millions murdered by the Nazis.”
Kristina Karamo, the party’s new chair, posted later Wednesday that the Michigan GOP “stands by our statement.” An election denier, Karamo has yet to concede last year’s Michigan secretary of state race, which she lost by 14 points to Democrat Jocelyn Benson.
Karamo doubled down on the controversial post at a Wednesday night press conference, saying that “people get way too offended. I will never capitulate to the outrage culture.”
“What amazes me is that people are troubled by drawing comparisons between historical events and current events. We love the phrase that history repeats itself. But yet when we point to history, somehow that’s controversial. I will not tolerate that. I will not apologize for that,” she said.
The imagery appears on the Michigan GOP’s Twitter and Facebook pages.
In its Facebook post, the party argued that “our constitutional rights to defend ourselves against a corrupt and tyrannical government are now being violated by unconstitutional red flag laws.”
“The second amendment is one of the main safeguards we have to keep the government from becoming weaponized against us,” the party said.
Michigan Democrats, who control the state legislature, are pushing a 11-bill gun measure package to Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in response to the mass shooting at Michigan State University last month.
The legislative package includes an extreme risk protection order, which is also known as a “red flag law,” universal background checks for gun purchases and a so-called safe storage law of firearms. Red flag laws allow courts to temporarily seize firearms from anyone believed to be a danger to themselves or others.
The bills passed the state Senate last week. The House had passed similar background check proposals and lawmakers will need to reconcile the bills, according to The Detroit News.
This story has been updated with additional developments.