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  • Writer's pictureDonald V. Watkins

Once Upon A Time, Gun Control Swept Across America

By Donald V. Watkins

©Copyrighted and Published on August 4, 2019

Once upon a time in America, the National Rifle Association (NRA) led the effort to pass sweeping gun control legislation across the nation. The event that triggered this gun control movement was not a massacre at a church, synagogue, school, university, shopping mall, concert gathering, or movie theater. In fact, there was no gun violence involved at all.

The triggering event for sweeping gun control legislation across America was the highly-publicized sight of 30 members of the Black Panther Party in California protesting against racial injustice on the steps of the California State Capitol while openly carrying loaded weapons. The media called this protest a "Capitol invasion" by an "armed Negro band." The Black Panthers were armed with .357 Magnums, 12-gauge shotguns and .45-caliber pistols and announced, “The time has come for black people to arm themselves.”

The Black Panthers advocated the right of citizens to carry guns of all types with little to no interference from the government. Ironically, the NRA disagreed with this political viewpoint only when the Black Panthers became the standard bearers for gun rights in America.

The photos of armed Black Panthers frightened white politicians in California and across America. The very sight of armed Black Panthers helped to pass the Mulford Act of 1967, a California state law prohibiting the open carry of loaded firearms, along with an addendum prohibiting loaded firearms in the state Capitol. The Act ushered in some of the strictest gun laws in America and helped jumpstart a surge of national gun control restrictions.

The photos also gave Congress the impetus it needed to pass the Gun Control Act of 1968, which adopted new laws prohibiting certain people from owning guns, providing for beefed up licensing and inspections of gun dealers and restricting the importation of cheap Saturday night specials [pocket pistols] that were popular in some urban communities.

It was an open secret that California’s Mulford Act and the Gun Control Act of 1968 were aimed at curtailing gun ownership rights in the African-American community. The NRA fought alongside the government for stricter gun regulations in the 1960s. This was part of the NRA ’s targeted effort to keep guns out of the hands of African-Americans as racial tensions in the nation grew.

Today, the Black Panthers have been decimated as a national organization and the NRA leads the charge to fight against any restriction on gun rights, regardless of how many massacres occur and how many innocent men, women, and children are killed by homegrown terrorists.

The NRA now fights for the right of homegrown terrorists to carry loaded AK47 assault rifles in open carry states. These weapons are not used for hunting and killing animals; they are military-grade assault weapons that are used to massacre innocent human beings.

The documented hypocrisy of America’s politicians and the NRA on the issue of regulating gun ownership and assault weapons is sickening.

PHOTO: California's Black Panther Party staged an armed (but peaceful) protest at the California State Capitol in 1967. This photograph inspired state and federal lawmakers to pass sweeping gun control legislation across America in record time. The National Rifle Association led the effort to restrict gun ownership in the nation's African-American communities.

PHOTO: The media called the Black Panther's peaceful protest in an open carry state a "Capitol Invasion" by an "armed Negro band."

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