Rumor: Federal government purchased 30,000 guillotines

Did the United States Congress approve the purchase of 30,000 guillotines for 'government purposes' to be used under coming martial law?

FALSE: It's a persistent rumor, but no proponent web site seems to provide evidence

A rumor making the Internet rounds says the U.S. Congress OK'd the purchase of 30,000 guillotines "for government purposes" and now the federal government is sitting on a stockpile of 15,000 guillotines in Montana and the same number in Georgia.

"Are the beheadings by Muslims today meant to desensitize us against U.S. Government beheadings in the future?" asks an anti-Muslim web site, which told readers in its comments section that it verified the rumor and the federal government "denied our request to photograph their guillotines."

It's a new version of a persistent rumor that may go back to the '90s and apparently is so popular that a Bing search of "30,000 guillotines" turns up more than 20,000 links.

Or is it 100,000 guillotines?

In 2009, the question was: Why is the US government storing 100,000 guillotines at a US military base in Montana? In all capital letters, a blog basically provides an answer: "They will be used on your fellow Americans under coming martial law!" The guillotines are there for when the government rounds up or kills American dissenters, retired FBI agent Ted Gunderson (since deceased) some years ago told a far-right militia crowd, according to Southern Poverty Law Center, which has seen a far-right militia resurgence.

No evidence

There is no evidence. "Congress passed no such authorization" to buy guillotines for beheadings, the hoax-busting site Snopes asserts, chalking up the rumor as a big fat "false." (Anyway, "guillotine" is a term that can mean a paper cutter or the "guillotine system" used in aircraft ejection seats, notes Snopes and another hoax-busting site, WafflesatNoon.)  

Related: Conspiracy theories Americans believe today

At least some proponents of the guillotine legend see it as confirmation of a New World Order and supposed fulfillment of Bible prophecy purported to include the beheadings of Christians who won't renounce their faith. Again, there's no evidence.

More on America's guillotines



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