WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson suggests the Holocaust would have been "greatly diminished" if German Jews had been armed with guns.

Carson was asked Thursday by CNN's Wolf Blitzer about an excerpt from his book "A More Perfect Union," in which Carson links the disarming on German citizens with the killing of 6 million Jews by Adolf Hitler's Nazi regime.

The retired neurosurgeon says "the likelihood of Hitler being able to accomplish his goals would have been greatly diminished if the people had been armed."

The candidate says "there is a reason that these dictatorial people take the guns first."

Carson drew criticism earlier this week by calling for potential victims of mass shootings to rush the attacker.