The Mulford Act was a 1967 California bill that repealed a law allowing public carrying of loaded firearms.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. They garnered national attention after the Black Panthers marched bearing arms upon the California State Capitol to protest the bill.
|AB-1591: To Com. on Crim. Pro.|
|Enacted by||Ronald Reagan|
|Bill published on||1967-04-05|
|Introduced by||Don Mulford, John T. Knox, Walter J. Karabian, Alan Sieroty, William M. Ketchum|
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, it passed both Assembly (controlled by Democrats 42:38) and Senate (split 20:20) and was signed by the governor on July 28.
Both Republicans and Democrats in California supported increased gun control. Governor Ronald Reagan was present when the protesters arrived and 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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