The Mulford Act was a 1967 California bill that repealed a law allowing public carrying of loaded firearms.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 governor of California Ronald Reagan, the bill was crafted with the goal of disarming members of the Black Panther Party who were conducting armed patrols of Oakland neighborhoods, in what would later be termed copwatching. They garnered national attention after Black Panthers members, bearing arms, marched upon the California State Capitol to protest the bill.
|Enacted by||Ronald Reagan|
|Enacted||July 29, 1967|
|Bill published on||April 5, 1967|
|Introduced by||Don Mulford, John T. Knox, Walter J. Karabian, Frank Murphy Jr., Alan Sieroty, William M. Ketchum|
|First reading||April 5, 1967|
|Second reading||June 7, 1967|
|Third reading||June 8, 1967|
|First reading||June 8, 1967|
|Second reading||June 27, 1967|
|Third reading||July 26, 1967|
Assembly Bill 1591 was introduced by Don Mulford (R) from Oakland on April 5, 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 2, 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 (controlled by Democrats, 20:19) on July 26 by 29 votes to 7, and was signed by Governor Ronald Reagan on July 28, 1967. The law banned the carrying of loaded weapons in public.
Both Republicans and Democrats in California supported increased gun control, as did the National Rifle Association of America. 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."
- Winkler, Adam (September 2011). "The Secret History of Guns". The Atlantic.
Don Mulford, a conservative Republican state assemblyman from Alameda County, which includes Oakland, was determined to end the Panthers’ police patrols. To disarm the Panthers, he proposed a law that would prohibit the carrying of a loaded weapon in any California city.
- Simonson, Jocelyn (August 2015). "Copwatching". California Law Review. 104 (2): 408. doi:10.15779/Z38SK27. SSRN 2571470.
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
- "From "A Huey P. Newton Story"". Retrieved July 7, 2010.
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- Seale, Bobby (1991). Seize the Time: The Story of the Black Panther Party and Huey P. Newton (1991 ed.). Black Classic Press. pp. 153–166. ISBN 978-0933121300.
- Assembly Bills, Original and Amended. 1967.
- Arica L. Coleman (July 31, 2016). "When the NRA Supported Gun Control". TIME.com. Retrieved 12 October 2017.
The NRA also supported California’s Mulford Act of 1967, which had banned carrying loaded weapons in public in response to the Black Panther Party’s impromptu march on the State Capitol to protest gun control legislation on May 2, 1967.
- Leonardatos, Cynthia Deitle (1999). "California's Attempts to Disarm the Black Panthers". San Diego Law Review. 36 (4): 947.
- Hemmens, Craig (July 2000). "Resisting Unlawful Arrest in Mississippi: Resisting the Modern Trend". California Criminal Law Review. 2 (1). SSRN 235760.
- 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.