How California Got Tough On Guns

The modern American gun debate began on May 2, 1967, when 30 protesting members of the Black Panther Party marched into the California Capitol with loaded handguns, shotguns and rifles.

As photos of gun-toting radicals from Oakland hit front pages across the country, many Americans were shocked to see who was embracing the Second Amendment. In California, as in most states at the time, there were few restrictions on carrying loaded weapons in public.

That soon changed. The Panthers’ efforts to “police the police” already had led Republican Assemblyman Don Mulford to propose legislation to ban the “open carry” of loaded firearms within California cities and towns. After the Panthers showed up in the Capitol, his bill sailed through and was signed by then-Gov. Ronald Reagan. (Yes, that Reagan). It’s hard to say which now seems more unlikely: that two dozen revolutionaries could legally stroll into the state Assembly chamber with semi-automatic rifles, or that a Republican governor would champion stricter gun control.

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14 Responses to How California Got Tough On Guns

  1. Don in Oregon says:

    And gun control in the South was put in place to give cops an excuse to prosecute blacks.

  2. crazyeighter says:

    … or that a Republican governor would champion stricter gun control.

    I can think of three: Former Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam and current Tennessee Governor “One-Term Bill” Lee, and former Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin, who vetoed Constitutional Carry.

    And forget Constitutional Carry in Tennessee this time around; no bill was filed “because the Governor won’t sign it”. Not even bothering to kill it in committee anymore.

    • Nemo says:

      ad Phil Scott (R) VT’s current governor to the list. He signed a new mag. restriction law last year limiting mag capacity to 10 rounds.

      • Heathen says:

        And Kasich pushed for (but didn’t get) “common sense gun laws” during his last year in office as a lame duck.

  3. bogsidebunny says:

    Even politicians like Ronne fall prey to emotional spasms instead of taking a step-back, drawing a deep breath and invoking the “Critical Thinking” process. It’s human nature.

    • Andrew says:

      Yeah, it’s what happened to Rod Scott, formerly a good governor of Florida. Wanted to get elected, paying more attention to emotions than facts, and we took a great leap backwards last year.

      Hopefully DeSantis will be able to return us to our former glory, maybe even help turn us into a Constitutional Carry state. (Hey, a guy can dream…)

  4. Aesop says:

    I wasn’t just their appearance in the state legislature:
    Every time cops stopped a black driver in the ‘hood, a car full of armed Black Panthers would roll up behind the black-and-white and “monitor” the (overwhelmingly white) ticket-writers.

    All this coming a year or two behind the Watts riots in Los Angeles.

    So, TPTB simply made all that illegal.


    This is simply what government does when you let the camel’s nose in under the tent flap.

    • Wirecutter says:

      And people wonder why I laugh when they talk about what a great politician Reagan was. This, and the fact that I didn’t have to give out my SS# to every Tom, Dick and Harry until he became President.

  5. warhorse says:

    and the black pathers did it on the insistence of Richard Aoki, who was an FBI informant.

    the FBI needed a boogeyman so they created one. before Aoki the black panthers were just trying to protect their own neighborhoods because after dark the cops refused to show up.

  6. favill says:

    Since the Black Panthers were a terrorist organization…doesn’t that automatically target them for “shoot on sight” especially if they’re carrying weapons?

  7. Freeman358 says:

    Reagan was actually a Democrat as governor. He later switched to Republican.

Play nice.