I’ve read so many articles about the gun-toting American protesters entering a state capitol building that I’ve lost track of the number. It’s a hot news item for sure. What to do?
- Protestors storm capitol…
- Protesters, some armed, enter capitol building…
- Fully armed rally-goers enter capitol building…
- Gunman swarm capitol. Umbrellas and sticks are banned but not guns.
However, only very rarely have I seen any mention that the NRA position on this issue has been to ban guns. They backed Governor Ronald Reagan when he said it was a necessary law.
The display so frightened politicians—including California governor Ronald Reagan—that it helped to pass the Mulford Act, a state bill prohibiting the open carry of loaded firearms, along with an addendum prohibiting loaded firearms in the state Capitol. The 1967 bill took California down the path to having some of the strictest gun laws in America and helped jumpstart a surge of national gun control restrictions.
To be fair, Ronald Reagan was a bit of a racist exaggerator, so here’s the Snopes perspective on his rush to ban guns.
“The Black Panthers had invaded the legislative chambers in the Capitol with loaded shotguns and held these gentlemen under the muzzles of those guns for a couple of hours. Immediately after they left, Don Mulford introduced a bill to make it unlawful to bring a loaded gun into the Capitol Building. That’s the bill I signed. It was hardly restrictive gun control.”
[This recount by Ronald Reagan] wasn’t true, however, that the Black Panthers had held legislators “under the muzzles of guns” for hours. They were disarmed by the capitol police soon after entering the building, and, according to most contemporaneous accounts (including that of the Associated Press) were escorted out of the chambers 30 minutes later.
Of course the NRA we know today, as I’ve written elsewhere, remains very much the same organization with the same values as this period in time when it pushed for a ban on guns.