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The Mulford Act was a 1967 California bill that repealed a law allowing public carrying of loaded firearms.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, 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
AB-1591: To Com. on Crim. Pro.
Enacted byRonald Reagan
Date passed1967
Date enacted1967
Legislative history
BillFirearms law
Bill published on1967-04-05
Introduced byDon Mulford, John T. Knox, Walter J. Karabian, 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

AB-1591 was authored by Don Mulford (R) from Oakland, John T. Knox (D) from Richmond, Walter J. Karabian (D) from Monterey Park, Alan Sieroty (D) from Los Angeles, and William M. Ketchum (R) from Bakersfield,[5] it passed both Assembly (controlled by Democrats 42:38) and Senate (split 20:20) and was signed by Governor Ronald Reagan on July 28. The law banned the carrying of loaded weapons in public. [6]

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."[7]

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. ^ Arica L. Coleman (July 31, 2016). "When the NRA Supported Gun Control". Retrieved 12 October 2017.
  7. ^ Winkler, Adam (September 2011). "The Secret History of Guns". The Atlantic.

Further readingEdit