The Mulford Act was a 1967 California bill that repealed a law allowing public carrying of loaded firearms. Named after Republican assemblyman Don Mulford, and signed into law by then governor of California, Ronald Reagan, the bill was crafted in response to members of the Black Panther Party who were conducting armed patrols of Oakland neighborhoods while they were conducting what would later be termed copwatching. They garnered national attention after the Black Panthers marched bearing arms upon the California State Capitol to protest the bill.
|Enacted by||Ronald Reagan|
|Bill published on||1967-04-05|
|Introduced by||Don Mulford, John T. Knox, Walter J. Karabian, Frank Murphy Jr., Alan Sieroty, William M. Ketchum|
Assembly Bill 1591 was introduced by Don Mulford (R) from Oakland on April 5th, 1967, and subsequently co-sponsored by John T. Knox (D) from Richmond, Walter J. Karabian (D) from Monterey Park, Frank Murphy Jr. (R) from Santa Cruz, Alan Sieroty (D) from Los Angeles, and William M. Ketchum (R) from Bakersfield,. AB-1591 was made an “urgency statute” under Article IV, §8(d) of the Constitution of California after “an organized band of men armed with loaded firearms [...] entered the Capitol” on May 2nd, 1967; as such, it required a 2/3 majority in each house. It passed the Assembly (controlled by Democrats 42:38) at subsequent readings, passed the Senate (split 20:20) on July 26th by 29 votes to 7, and was signed by Governor Ronald Reagan on July 28th, 1967. The law banned the carrying of loaded weapons in public. 
Both Republicans and Democrats in California supported increased gun control. Governor Ronald Reagan, who was coincidentally present on the capitol lawn when the protesters arrived, later commented that he saw "no reason why on the street today a citizen should be carrying loaded weapons" and that guns were a "ridiculous way to solve problems that have to be solved among people of good will." In a later press conference, Reagan added that the Mulford Act "would work no hardship on the honest citizen."
- Simonson, Jocelyn. "Copwatching". California Law Review. 104 (2): 408.
Organized copwatching groups emerged as early as the 1960s in urban areas in the United States when the Black Panthers famously patrolled city streets with firearms and cameras, and other civil rights organizations conducted unarmed patrols in groups.
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- Hampton, Henry; Fayer, Steve (2011). "Birth of the Black Panthers, 1966–1967". Voices of Freedom: An Oral History of the Civil Rights Movement from the 1950s Through the 1980s. Random House. pp. 349–72. ISBN 978-0-307-57418-3.
- Sanders, Kindaka (2015). "A Reason to Resist: The Use of Deadly Force in Aiding Victims of Unlawful Police Aggression". San Diego Law Review. 52 (3): 695–750.
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