Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Depends On Who's Holding The Gun
At the time California law permitted the open carry of loaded rifles or shotguns as long as they weren't pointed at anyone. The Panthers took full advantage of the law. The sight of black men in the streets of Oakland and San Fransisco with loaded weapons was too much for the conservative legislature. It all culminated on May 2, 1967 when the California State Assembly Committee on Criminal Procedure was to hold a vote on a bill to ban the public display of loaded firearms.
Twenty-six Black Panthers, 24 men and 2 women, assembled on the steps of the statehouse with loaded rifles and shotguns and read a statement on gun rights. They then proceeded to enter the committee room, still armed. Police were summoned, arrests were made and a few people were charged with misdemeanors. Then Gov. Ronald Reagan declared that he saw "no reason why on the streets today a citizen should be carrying a loaded weapon."
I thought it an interesting bit of history when viewed through the prism of the current day debate on guns.