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The Mulford Act was a 1967 California bill that repealed a law allowing public carrying of loaded firearms.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.[1] They garnered national attention after the Black Panthers marched bearing arms upon the California State Capitol to protest the bill.[2][3][4]

Mulford Act
Enacted byRonald Reagan
Legislative history
BillFirearms law
Bill published on1967-04-05
Introduced byDon Mulford, John T. Knox, Walter J. Karabian, Frank Murphy Jr., Alan Sieroty, William M. Ketchum
First reading1967-04-05
Second reading1967-06-07
Third reading1967-06-08
First reading1967-06-08
Second reading1967-06-27
Third reading1967-07-26

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,[5]. 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[6]; 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[7], and was signed by Governor Ronald Reagan on July 28th, 1967. The law banned the carrying of loaded weapons in public. [8]

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."[9]

The bill was signed by Reagan and became California penal code 25850 and 171c.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ 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.
  2. ^ "From "A Huey P. Newton Story"". Retrieved 2010-07-07.
  3. ^ "How to Stage a Revolution Introduction". Retrieved 2010-07-07.[self-published source?]
  4. ^ Seale, Bobby. 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.
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ Arica L. Coleman (July 31, 2016). "When the NRA Supported Gun Control". Retrieved 12 October 2017.
  9. ^ Winkler, Adam (September 2011). "The Secret History of Guns". The Atlantic.

Further readingEdit