GOP lawmaker: 'How many Jews were put in the ovens because they were unarmed?'

GOP lawmaker: 'How many Jews were put in the ovens because they were unarmed?'
© Greg Nash

Rep. Don YoungDonald (Don) Edwin YoungOvernight Energy: New EPA head looks to reassure staff | New round of ex-Pruitt staffers leave | House votes to overhaul fisheries law | Trump rips Germany for pipeline deal with Russia House votes to overhaul fishery management law Bipartisan solution is hooked on facts, not fiction MORE (R-Alaska) reportedly questioned how many Jews were "put in the ovens" because they didn't have guns to arm themselves.

“How many millions of people were shot and killed because they were unarmed? Fifty million in Russia,” Young said, according to Alaska Public Media.

“How many Jews were put in the ovens because they were unarmed?”

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The comments reportedly came as Young was speaking during a conference in Juneau and was asked about school safety.

Alaska Public Media said Dimitri Shein, an Anchorage Democrat who is running for Young’s seat and was in the audience for his speech to the Alaska Municipal League last week, provided a recording of the comments.

Young's office said in a statement Wednesday that the lawmaker's comments were taken out of context, according to The Washington Post.
 
“He was referencing the fact that when Hitler confiscated firearms from Jewish Germans, those communities were less able to defend themselves,” his office said in a statement.
 
“He was not implying that an armed Jewish population would have been able to prevent the horrors of the Holocaust, but his intended message is that disarming citizens can have detrimental consequences. A defenseless people are left up to the mercy of its leaders.”
 
In the statement, Young's office added he remains "committed to developing new solutions to bring our communities together and strengthen mental health services to address these issues facing our young people.”

Gun control has become a central issue in recent weeks since a gunman opened fire at a high school in Florida, killing 17 people.

Students who survived the shooting have become vocal advocates for gun control, demanding that lawmakers act to prevent another shooting.

Some lawmakers are pushing for new gun laws, including raising the minimum age people need to be to purchase certain guns.

Several companies have also moved to distance themselves from the National Rifle Association. Dick's Sporting Goods announced Wednesday it would stop selling assault-style rifles.

This report was updated at 3:40 p.m.