Ben Carson
Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson is no stranger to controversy Getty

Republican presidential hopeful Ben Carson has said in a bizarre television interview that the Holocaust could have been averted if the Jews and other minorities murdered by the Nazis had enough guns to kill Hitler.

Speaking in the aftermath of the Oregon College shooting which left 10 dead including the gunman and nine others injured, Carson continued to defend US gun laws. "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 CNN. "I'm telling you there is a reason these dictatorial people take guns first."

Carson expounded his views on the Holocaust and gun control in his book A More Perfect Union. "Through a combination of removing guns and disseminating propaganda, the Nazis were able to carry out their evil intentions with relatively little resistance," he wrote.

The former neurosurgeon, has provoked anger from anti-gun groups in the US with his comments following the Umpqua Community College killings.

Umpqua Community College
Robin Griffiths leaves flowers at a memorial on the road to Umpqua Community College on 3 October Getty

In a previous interview with Fox news Carson said if confronted with a mass shooting situation he would "not just stand there and let him shoot me. I would say: 'Hey guys, everybody attack him. He may shoot me, but he can't get us all.'" He smiled blithely after making the comments.

The off-colour remarks have not hurt Carson's polling. He is currently second in the race to be the Republican nomination – behind Donald Trump.

The Anti-Defamation League has said in response to the comments: "Ben Carson has a right to his views on gun control, but the notion that Hitler's gun-control policy contributed to the Holocaust is historically inaccurate," said Jonathan Greenblatt, national director of the organization. "The small number of personal firearms available to Germany's Jews in 1938 could in no way have stopped the totalitarian power of the Nazi German state."

Carson has not confined his outspoken views to gun control and has provoked reactions on abortion, Muslims, homosexuality and healthcare. In March he said homosexulatiy was a choice, and has commented in the past that Muslims should not be placed in positions of leadership in the US.

Media mogul Rupert Murdoch took to Twitter on 7 October to praise Carson, saying he would be "a real black president". The comment appeared to be a veiled attack at US President Barack Obama and his perceived level of "blackness". Murdoch later backtracked on the statements saying: "Apologies! No offence meant. Personally find both men charming."