Right wingers for gun control?

Black_panthers_2-28-69

I’m reading and immensely enjoying Nixonland by Rick Perlstein. I’m learning a lot more about that era’s politics, the narrative of which is much more nuanced than I ever appreciated.

For example, conservatives in California tried to ban carrying guns in public places after the Black Panthers started arming themselves. An excerpt:

The Panthers started patrolling in rich white neighborhoods: let them find out what it was like to have hostile forces stalking your streets with guns. Which was how they caught the attention of Don Mulford, the assemblyman who had conspired with the FBI to help Reagan get elected. He introduced a bill to ban the carrying of loaded firearms in public places. it was set for its first committee hearing on May 2 [1967].

“Gunman Invade W. Coast Capitol,” read the front-page banner in far-off Chicago:

“The Negroes, shouting they were members of the Black Panther party, forced their way into the assembly chamber while the legislators were in session, and scuffled with state highway patrolmen.”

Upon their arrest Huey newton read the Black Panther Executive Mandate No. 1, which called on “Americans and particularly Negroes to take careful note of the racist California legislature which is now considering legislation aimed at keeping the black people disarmed and powerless.” For many whites this statement settled it: Black Power meant arming black people.

Which only made sense, if you were a Black Panther. …

Wonder what would have happened had armed black people showed up outside George W. Bush rallies in 2001 … a la tea party. Somehow I think things would have played out quite differently.

Image courtesy Washington State Archive and Kurt Schaefer’s “The Black Panther Party in Seattle, 1968 – 1970” (via UW).

(Sidenote: The things you find online… bobbyseale.com)

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