[People have been effectively disputing the "Nazis disarmed the populace" for well over a decade - see this 2004 paper - but still it rolls on.]
Update: a more quickly read summary of the history of the use of this claim by the NRA appears in this Mother Jones article. This paragraph is particularly significant:
"But guns didn't play a particularly important part in any event," says Robert Spitzer, who chairs SUNY-Cortland's political science department and has extensively researched gun control politics. Gun ownership in Germany after World War I, even among Nazi Party members, was never widespread enough for a serious civilian resistance to the Nazis to have been anything more than a Tarantino revenge fantasy. If Jews had been better armed, Spitzer says, it would only have hastened their demise. Gun policy "wasn't the defining moment that marked the beginning of the end for Jewish people in Germany. It was because they were persecuted, were deprived of all of their rights, and they were a minority group."Yep. A large part of the problem with the common libertarian take on gun control is not only that they are paranoid; they are also prone to fantasies about how guns would empower them in their "if only I had been there with my gun, I could've been a hero!" imaginings. (Look at the disgusting things that Right wingers have been saying after the recent Oregon attack.)
And isn't it curious that, following the fall of Soviet communism - the only genuine post War international threat to the future of America - the paranoia has only intensified, not been reduced. Congratulations on your tactics, gun makers of America.
Update: I wrote this post before seeing that David Frum had weighed in on it:
The claim that the Jews of Europe could have stopped the Nazi Holocaust if only they’d possessed more rifles and pistols is a claim based on almost perfect ignorance of the events of 1933 to 1945. The mass murder of European Jews could proceed only after the Nazis had defeated or seized territory from three of the mightiest aggregations of armed force on earth: the armies of France, Poland, and the Soviet Union. The opponents of the Nazis not only possessed rifles and pistols, but also tanks, aircraft, artillery, modern fortifications, and massed infantry. And yes, Jews bore those weapons too: nearly 200,000 in the Polish armed forces, for example.
From 1941 until the end of the war, armed bands of Jewish partisans roamed through Nazi-occupied Eastern Europe, just as they roam through the imaginations of American gun enthusiasts. That didn’t stop the Holocaust either.
Even before the war started, in the 1930s, Jews sometimes attempted armed resistance to the Nazis. It was the assassination of a German diplomat by a Jewish refugee that provided Adolf Hitler with the pretext for the Kristallnacht pogrom against Jews in 1938.
There’s really only one way in which gun control is at all relevant to the history of the Holocaust. As the late historian Henry Turner forcefully argued in Hitler’s Thirty Days to Power, the last clear chance to prevent the Nazi seizure of power in 1933 would have been a military coup at the end of 1932, followed by mass arrests of members of Nazi and communist militias, and the confiscation of their weapons. You might even say that stricter control of guns and gun-carrying political groups could have prevented the Holocaust.