“Black men with rifles marched into the state capitol building in Sacramento. In response to that, a bill was passed which became California’s first gun control law and eventually became the model for a national gun control law. So the (Black) Panthers were really the first gun rights movement. And the response to them — which was, by the way, a Republican response, authored by a Republican Congressman and Ronald Regan who was governor at the time — was the first gun control anti movement.” – Historian Thaddeus Russell in Black Open Carry: Why Gun Rights and Civil Rights Need Each Other

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69 Responses to Quote of the Day: Roots of Gun Control Edition

  1. Dude is wrong and right. The first gun control laws were intended to disarm former slaves (blacks) but it was democrats. Not republicans. Some of the first national gun control laws were passed by D presidents and had similar language to the Nazi gun control laws.

      • As a historical note on the Gun Control Act of 1968 a arguably corrupt Connecticut Senator (The wikipedia entry gives credit for his downfall to the “gun industry” for investigating him after the GCA68, this is patently absurd, a his own corruption was his downfall) was instrumental in the writing of the GCA 68, he was Sen Thomas Dodd, and he was Vice-Chairman of the Review Board and later Executive Trial Counsel at the Nuremberg trials, it appears that his knowlege of Nazi gun control was useful in writing the GCA 68, though this sound horrific, it would seem “reasonable” to use previous “successful” legislation as a basis for the GCA 68.

        The son of Thomas Dodd is former Senator Christopher Dodd, another notable anti gun Connecticut Senator. And arguably corrupt, though in the wikipedia description it is downgraded to “Countrywide Financial loan controversy”. You may remember Chris Dodd from the “gang” that put the 1994 Assault Weapons ban into effect. He left politics to become the head of the MPAA, to essentially become a lobbyist. Oh and still peddles gun control. Also he appears to still be active in Democrat politics. If you look at Sen Chris Murphy’s Twitter propaganda thread you can see him gazing admiringly at former Sen Chris Dodd in a Feb 3rd post.

        Sen Chris Murphy is one of the new generation of outspoken anti gun Senators from Connecticut, and not a “one off” but rather part of a lineage of anti gun politics.

        Ref:
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_J._Dodd
        Chris Dodd current gun control
        https://www.facebook.com/NaugatuckPatch/posts/269448846489672

      • iirc correctly the Weimar Republic enacted the gun registration and some of the gun control and that was then furthered once the Nazis came into power.

    • Fishy is right, pre civil war Blacks in the southern states were only allowed to carry a long gun with the written permission of his white owner. If you were a free black man too bad. After the war all hand gun carry was banned in many places in the South, but as the only law enforcement was white if you somehow think whites were prohibited from carry I have a jar of unicorn piss and rainbows for sale.

      • “a jar of unicorn piss and rainbows for sale.” That is the last item on my scavenger hunt!!!!!!!! Duuuude, you gots to hook me up!

  2. Excellent video followed by some seriously ignorant comments at the link. Not sure some of those people commenting understand the word “racist”

  3. So, Ronald Reagan was responsible for the Democrat Party’s campaign to keep guns out of the hands of freed slaves in the 1860s-70s?!?! Who knew!

    • Oh come on….everybody knows the antebellum south was the model of tolerance. (sarc intended). Why in the world would they want to disarm the newly freed black persons?

    • The quote says it was the first gun control anti movement. From the context, I’d guess he meant it was the first time the government introduced gun control as a response to a growing movement (in this case racial equality).

      • BP weren’t a civil rights movement. They were a “Violent revolutionary organization of the 1960s and 1970s
        Its members engaged in drug dealing, pimping, rape, extortion, assault, and murder.

        Aimed to harass the police, to protest against “police brutality” and America’s allegedly racist power structure, and ultimately to ignite a violent race war. ”
        More here:

        http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/printgroupProfile.asp?grpid=7375

      • Uh, no. “government” in this country put in place restrictions on weapons possession by various groups since the first decade of our existence. Not just the federal body, territories, states, counties and cities had laws restricting firearms sale and possession targeted at multiple groups. Negroes, Irish, members of various tribes, Catholics, Mormons, Mexicans, women, Chinese and Japanese etc etc. So, the Mulford Act was in no way, shape, manner or form “first gun control anti movement” in America.

        Hell, under the laws of the Crown of England it was a death penalty offense to sell, trade or give any firearm to a native in the Colonies. Pretty sure the Spanish and French Colonists were under the same law regarding the supplying of firearms to Indians.

    • the narrator was referring to “MODERN” gun rights and “MODERN” control laws when referring to Reagan and his contribution to gun control as we see it today.

      • The civil war era wasn’t “modern”? Compared to biblical times it was the space age. WIthout defining “modern” you have no point of reference. Plenty of weapon styles still in common use today were in use at the time of the civil war.

    • I wish the political parties in this country would change their names when they completely shift around to avoid this silly discussion. The parties from 1870 are not the same as they are today. Ever since LBJ the democrat party has lost it’s segregationist policies and support (i.e. the South). The republican party gained them.

      • Please, stop making sense. Stop telling the truth. It is much easier to pretend that Republicans were, have been, are, and always will be the party of advancing civil rights, and Democrats are conversely always have been always will be the pro-slavery party.

        • Thats because “Democrats are conversely always have been always will be the pro-slavery party.” are and will always be. Look at the huge success they have had in reducing blacks to second class citizens.

      • Please, stop making sense. Stop telling the truth. It is much easier to pretend that Republicans were, have been, are, and always will be the party of advancing civil rights, and Democrats, conversely, always have been, always will be the pro-slavery anti-black party.

    • Agreed… I like that California’s ‘first’ gun control law wasn’t passed until the 60’s…

      ORLY?

  4. Because everyone knows Blacks did everything first and the white man only steals from black people.

    Bull. The first gun rights movement were the Constitution framers who wrote the 2nd Amendment, which precedes everyone this guy mentions.

  5. You know, whenever a liberal brings up Reagan, it always reveals the real extent of their personality cultism. Reagan raised taxes, banned guns, blah, blah, so obviously we must be for those things or we are inconsistent. It’s kind of scary, how sycophantic they apparently expect any given party to be toward it’s leaders.

    • I think Libertarians and to a somewhat lesser extent some Conservatives have a hard time understanding the hive mind mentality of Leftists. Their leaders decide, on the fly, what all their political followers believe. Sometimes those things are contradictory, like Obama decrying corporations and yet being the biggest corporate crony in the history of the Presidency, or decrying war while keeping us in two wars for years and expanding campaigns and drone strikes elsewhere. If Ron Paul, for example, suddenly became a collectivist, he’d be cast to the wayside and become a pariah in the Libertarian world. Individualism, natural rights and voluntarism are concrete moral philosophies we can hold our leaders accountable too. Modern Progressives and to some extent Modern Conservatives have no such moral philosophy. There’s instead is a political philosophy that above all puts winning elections first, hence the moral hypocrisy.

      It’s amazing to me how fluid the thought from progressive leaders down to the lowest levels moves though. If Obama or Jon Stewart coin a phrase or make a statement, THE next day almost every commenter at Huffpo or DailyKos say, usually verbatim, the exact same phrases over and over. It’s almost like watching little ants lockstep across a kitchen counter.

  6. The NRA was the first gun rights organization in America, not the Black Panthers. The NRA was founded to arm and protect the rights of newly freed slaves.

    • Ive been seeing this a lot lately. The NRA was founded by union generals to promote marksmanship among the civilian population after the civil war. If newly freed slaves benefited Im assuming that was an after thought.

      The NRA did give a charter to some black civil rights groups in the 50’s.

    • Actually, no. It was formed because officers on both sides of the Civil War were appalled at the (lack of ) marksmanship of the soldiers. The fight for our rights came much later.

  7. Why gun rights and civil rights need each other? Gun rights ARE a civil right. I hate how most in this country feel like race discrimination is the only violation of civil rights.

    • I feel the other area of civil rights violation would be towards felons. To have a life time sentence of being treated as a non-entity, a sub-human that has no right to effectively defend ones life after “paying ones dues” is to me an abomination.

      If I had the choice of being a “legal’ sub-human for my entire life or a stay a criminal that the general population feared and my fellow criminals respected, I would stay a criminal.

      I think this is one reason for the high recidivism rate.

      • Lots of felons lose freedoms for life, even after their prison sentences are complete. Nobody ever said that incarceration is the totality of one’s debt to society.

        Lawyers, doctors, accountants and theroutinely lose their licenses to practice their professions as a result of criminal convictions. Other criminals get barred from ever serving in the financial securities business or get banned from ever serving as officers or directors of public companies. Some are forever intelligible from holdibf public office. Some are banned from living near or working with children. Everyone’s on the “paid his debt to society, so restore his rights!” band wagon…..,that is, until a convicted pedophile wants to teach at your kid’s school.

        Whether various bans for life are effective criminal punishments, is essentially a political decision to be hashed out through elections and the legislative process. Whether felony proliferation needs to be reined in, likewise is a political decision. The idea that one’s punishment may exceed just incarceration, however, is just a matter of fact.

        • Licenses aren’t rights. Once freed to society, even a felon has a right to provide for his own defense. The alternative is to provide him with armed guards. If the state takes away rights, they have the duty to substitute for those rights.
          An association that provides a license to practice has no such liability.

        • Lots of felons lose freedoms for life, even after their prison sentences are complete. Nobody ever said that incarceration is the totality of one’s debt to society.

          I disagree. IMHO, the whole implication behind a sentence is a debt paid. I’m not 100% sure but believe that Common Law would back that up (including, of course, cases of fines, restitution, and parole — not sure about probation).

          Lawyers, doctors, accountants and theroutinely lose their licenses to practice their professions as a result of criminal convictions.

          Those are licensed privileges. One of the problems that the licensing board (and the state) had in going after that ‘pathologist’ who participated in the Michael Brown autopsy for the family was that he never held a license so there wasn’t much, according to the licensing board, that they could do. He was known to the state prior as he had performed or participated in multiple autopsies for state agencies and, IIRC, testified in court for prosecutors. I’ve held different professional licenses in the past and there were certain things that I could do before I held those professional licenses in my state but could not after they lapsed. Once I held a license, I came under the jurisdiction and rules of the respective licensing board with state legislation hanging its authority on the fact that I was licensed at one time.

          Other criminals get barred from ever serving in the financial securities business or

          Again, licensing.. SEC, etc…

          get banned from ever serving as officers or directors of public companies.

          If by “public” you mean publicly traded then this would be news to me as I’ve known many former felons who held top positions in companies. If the company makes it’s own policy then that has nothing to do with the discussion as it isn’t about rights and government. If by “public” you mean government owned or companies that contract with the government then that can be a matter of regulation and law… which we are discussing here and some of us are saying that it ought not be that way.

          Some are forever intelligible from holdibf public office.

          That’s a matter of constitutions and laws. Where law is concerned (and perhaps constitutions), that is part of the discussion at hand.

          Some are banned from living near or working with children.

          That is usually a matter of licensing, state certification, or sex offender laws. The first two are the same concept as discussed in the beginning of this comment. Sex offender laws specify a sentence for a definite amount of time (for example, the defendant must register monthly for 25 years). I look for these registries to either expand to include gun offender registries, and others -or- to be reigned in or severely limited due to constitutional concerns. One of these outcomes might not happen in my lifetime but I fully expect a major shift towards tyranny or liberty in this area.

          . Everyone’s on the “paid his debt to society, so restore his rights!” band wagon…..,that is, until a convicted pedophile wants to teach at your kid’s school.

          Most states require a teaching license (privilege) so this is a straw man argument. Even if a license wasn’t required, the individuals of a school district would be responsible for demanding the person’s resignation. Compulsory education laws for those under 18 years of age aggravate the issue.

          Whether various bans for life are effective criminal punishments, is essentially a political decision to be hashed out through elections and the legislative process.

          True “bans for life” would be rare under the law. Instead of confounding them with licensed privileges, how about listing some true examples so they can be discussed. So far, the only “ban for life” under law or constitutions that I can think of of of the top of my head are voting, jury (??), and firearm possession. I contend that the firearm possession lifetime ban is an unconstitutional infringement of an inalienable right. Voting was considered a privilege.

          Whether felony proliferation needs to be reined in, likewise is a political decision.

          … no comment at present …

          The idea that one’s punishment may exceed just incarceration, however, is just a matter of fact.

          The danger of simply accepting that assertion is that it may be used by totalitarian governments to enslave a population through a legal system. Commit one infraction, no matter how petty, and the government essentially owns you. That is a very real and oppressive possibility. Fines, restitution, and parole (possibly probation) are commonly accepted forms of punishment beyond incarceration. They usually have a time limit, even if 100 years or more, if one looks deeper. However, I assert that lifetime obliteration of an individual’s ability to exercise multiple basic natural rights is a more modern construct. I would also strongly assert that it is indeed cruel and unusual punishment as well as involuntary servitude; something that has no place in a free nation founded on the notion of government’s role of protecting rights.

        • @PaulG: Excellent post!

          This is something that I’ve also been pointing out to people for a long time. While in physical custody, government can deprive an individual of their ability to keep and bear arms but in doing so government becomes reasonably responsible for that individual’s safety. Likewise for stripping someone of the ability to keep and bear arms in society. If government is going to disarm someone then they are obligated to provide a reasonable amount of individual security in lieu.

  8. Mean while, the Democrats and too many RINO Republicans (even one is too many) continue to be the ones that are trying to keep not just the blacks on the plantation with their policies, but they are trying to enslave the rest of us by ultimately outlawing the keeping and bearing of arms for everyone not especially anointed and blessed by the state represented by their shiny pieces of metal and a gun.

  9. The Black Panthers in Sacramento Ca sound a lot like open Carriers in Austin Tx. Hopefully the results are not similar.

  10. Freedom. Liberty. Rights. These words are so misused. Freedom from…. Freedom to… So subjective. Propaganda everywhere. I thank God for all of you on this blog keeping me sane.

      • No, freedom can not be given. The history of the last 100-150 years is replete with examples of this. Africa, South and Central America, Asia. Hell, Mexico is a perfect example, since the end of Spain’s colonial empire the people of Mexico have been “given” freedom repeatedly, and their situation just gets worse and worse.

        You can’t give anyone freedom. They have to want it and be willing to take it, and hold it against all enemies. Far too many humans simply don’t fill those criteria.

  11. I watched this video, and I couldn’t believe the enormity of the history fail coming from the folks at Reason. Much less the ignorance and vitriolic bile in the comments.

    There were centuries of gun control laws disarming blacks and other minorities before the BPP came along. The NRA gave charters to all-black southern chapters before then, too. They even get honorable mentions in a lot of Civil Rights-era literature as well.

  12. The problem being that the Black Panthers open-carried specifically in order to intimidate people, not for self-defense or to assert their rights. They were a group of thugs who sold drugs and murdered people, not a civil rights group.

  13. California’s first Gun Control Act was actually aimed at disarming the Indians by making it illegal to sell firearms and ammunition to Native Americans, It was passed in 1864.
    https://www.calgunsfoundation.org/2013/04/californias-first-gun-control-law-the-racist-roots-and-evolution-of-the-gun-control-movement/

    The Gun Control Law referenced in the Post Above was the Mulford Act passed in 1967, which prohibited the Open Carry of LOADED firearms by repealing a previous law allowing such (which I am unable to find a reference to, unfortunately). The Mulford Act was in response to the Black Panther’s armed march on the State Capitol and introduced by Republicans and signed by a Republican Governor, Ronald Reagan. California was still considerably shaken by the Watts Riots of 1965.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mulford_Act

    I guess it is appropriate to talk in the context of the current situation ignoring Laws long since passed, modified or repealed, but it only took about 20 minutes’ Internet Search to find the links I quoted above. So, if one wants to make sweeping historical analyses, it would seem worthwhile to invest 20 minutes or an afternoon researching what one is saying before using bad information as a basis for making said sweeping historical analyses.

    I am not familiar with reason.tv , nor have any opinion about their veracity as a news source. I think this story from them is worth seeing, but there are easily found problems with what is stated as hard facts.

    Anyway, the Huey P. Newton Gun Club is an interesting story and as long as they are in the fight to preserve and reclaim everyone’s natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear Arms, I wish them well.

    • You are correct. Prior to 1967, it was legal for all persons to openly carry loaded firearms–both side arms and rifles–in the state of California. The BPP march on Sacramento had everything to do with civil rights and nothing to do with gun rights–their bearing of arms was perfectly legal. It unfortunately scared the piss out of the State legislators, and they were quick to act.
      Similarly, the open display of unloaded firearms by Open Carry advocates a few years back scared the piss out of soccer moms and cops alike, and again the Legislature was quick to act, banning the open carrying or handguns, followed by a similar ban on long guns a year later, in all urban areas of the state. When added to the virtual ban on the issuance of concealed carry licenses in all of the coastal urban centers (SF Bay Area, LA and area, San Diego and area), the ground was set for Peruta v. Gore, Sheriff for San Diego County.

      • Thanks, Mark. I decided NOT to grind the ax about the outcome of the California Open Carry Movement of some years ago. The BPP march on the State Capitol in 1967 had, as you say, everything to do with Civil Rights and was not about Gun Rights. I remember it in the News very well and I remember people still had raw nerves over the Watts Riots of 1965.

  14. “….Ronald Regan who was governor at the time — was the first gun control anti movement.” – Historian Thaddeus Russell

    Is he a degreed historian? Because he sure isn’t cutting it when it comes to spelling names correctly. What else has he made such an easily found and verified mistake on?

  15. I don’t worship at the altar of Reagan. I seem to recall him being shot by a lunatic(with a 22) and infringing on the 2A. As well as California. California has a long history of oppressing non-white folks way before Ronnie. Mexicans,Chinese,Japanese and black folks have felt the effects over the years-and now everyone in Cali is screwed. This article is a joke.

  16. Just ask Tammany Hall (which NEVER went away) about the need to keep blacks, latinos, Jews, Catholics, unionists and other unfavorables disarmed.

    Ray

  17. On a related note:

    REAGAN: Unconditionally supported the Brady Bill, the holy grail of gun control. Reagan even wrote an op-ed piece for it in the evil NY Times.

    To be fair, a wacko with a legally acquired handgun had just shot him, so he might have been a little bit biased.

    OBAMA: The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence flunked Obama on every single gun control issue. He proposed nothing for federal gun control laws when he had a super majority in the Senate and was doing well enough in the House that he got the ACA passed.

    When he had that majority, in fact, federal gun rights were EXPANDED, allowing guns on trains and in national parks.

    Still, the NRA and many ’round here insist that Obama is coming to take their guns.

    Why does almost noone remember anything for more than five flippin’ minutes?

    This is not to say that Obama is perfect or Reagan rotten, but far too many ’round here presume enmity or friendship based on false data.

    The Reds ain’t necessarily on “our” side, and while the DNC has the wrong idea about 2A, not every Democrat does.

    • Apparently you have not paid attention to anything Obama has said while in office. He has consisently pushed for more gun control, that he has been denied the ability to do so doesn’t change his thoughts on the matter.
      Seems to me the “false data” is in your post.

      • After Sandy Hook he did say some stupid stuff, but again he never seriously pushed problematic legislation and did sign some good stuff.

        All I’m saying is that blanket presumption of what a Congress Critter will do based on Rs and Ds is unwise.

        • He has been “saying stupid shit (about gun control)” regularly whenever someone would listen. Nice try, but it fails.

        • So he says stupid stuff. How about that Reagan with actual gun control results? Partisanship is what leads us to this bullshit in the first place.

        • Like everything in life, context is everything. By the time Sandy Hook happened, (2012) the Democrats had already lost the House. They still held the Senate, but only because there were many moderate Democrat Senators who did not share the administration’s dim view on the 2A. Even when Obama was first put into office, his highest priority was “Healthcare”, stimulus bills and “ending” the Wars. Quite frankly his timing and message on gun control was bad, even when you consider the terrible events of Sandy Hook, which just highlighted his inability to work with others. So it’s fair to say his failed attempts at going after 2A rights didn’t come from a lack of trying.

  18. About 6 years ago a black man in Arizona with an AR carried at sling arms and a side arm in his holster is photographed in B&W. The papers and TV show only his backside not his face. As he stated to a local interviewer he was protesting president obama. Simply openly carrying firearms is speech.

    Forty years ago the Black Panther Party For Self-Defense also used firearms as speech to petition their representatives for redress of grievances. There are many different ways the 1st amendment is used by law abiding citizens. Before they protested at the state capitol the Black Panther Party For Self-defense also openly carried guns in front of the oakland police station. There are newspaper pictures of the Panthers waiting while the police inspect their weapons prior to the panthers walking into the police station. The panthers did start out as a law abiding group.

    Now white people openly carry firearms at state capitals and people are still afraid. Washington state just banned the open carry of guns in the capitol building. I think white gun owners are responsible for that one. As well as the white democrat leadership.

    The Deacons for Defense and Justice believed in concealed carry. They were much more successful than the panthers. The deacons were christian men. The panthers were not. The deacons sang christian hymns while carrying guns. The panthers did not. Former Secretary of state Condoleezza Rice wrote about her father and other black men singing christian hymns while carrying guns to protect their neighborhood from attack by white criminals. A black person openly carrying a gun could be shot on sight in the 1960,s american south. In a way California was more civilized.

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