Saturday, December 15, 2012

A moment in the history of California gun control, 1967

This happened. Things were different back then. This event encouraged the passing of more restrictive gun laws. Although the group involved never massacred a bunch of little kids in a school. Or walked into a theater and started murdering people with automatic weapons. Or shot a member of Congress in the head. Yet this helped provocative tighter gun laws. Go figure. From Walton Bean, California: An Interpretive History (3rd edition; 1968):

In the spring of 1967 the California Legislature was preparing to pass a gun control law directed against the Black Panthers; and on May 2, when the bill was debated, a caravan of armed Panthers drove from Oakland to Sacramento, read a manifesto on the steps of the capitol denouncing the "racist legislature," and then walked onto the floor of the assembly carrying guns. They were quickly expelled from the chamber, and [Panther leader Bobby] Seale and others were later arrested. The sensational publicity given to the affair aroused much public alarm, and great condemnation of the Panthers, but it also gave the [Black Panther] party wide advertising among militant young blacks and led to the organization of branches in several other parts of the country.
See also: PBS, State Capitol March, A Huey P. Newton Story (2002).

This is a YouTube video showing what appears to be a contemporary news report narrated by Mike Wallace, The Black Panther Party invade the State Assembly Chamber in Sacramento May 1967:


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