When the Black Panthers Challenged Gun Control

Comments: 4  | Leave A Comment
5/2/1967 - The black panthers marched into California's state capitol, with unloaded weapons, to protest the state assembly over new gun control laws. (photo via westvalley.edu)

5/2/1967 – The black panthers marched into California’s state capitol, with unloaded weapons, to protest the state assembly over new gun control laws. (photo via westvalley.edu)

At The Atlantic, UCLA law professor Adam Winkler previews his forthcoming book Gunfight: The Battle Over the Right to Bear Arms in America. Winkler’s whole essay is worth reading, but I thought I’d highlight his fascinating discussion of how the Black Panthers “launched the modern gun-rights movement” on May 2, 1967:

OPPOSITION TO GUN CONTROL was what drove the black militants to visit the California capitol with loaded weapons in hand. The Black Panther Party had been formed six months earlier, in Oakland, by Huey Newton and Bobby Seale. Like many young African Americans, Newton and Seale were frustrated with the failed promise of the civil-rights movement. Brown v. Board of Education, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 were legal landmarks, but they had yet to deliver equal opportunity. In Newton and Seale’s view, the only tangible outcome of the civil-rights movement had been more violence and oppression, much of it committed by the very entity meant to protect and serve the public: the police.

Inspired by the teachings of Malcolm X, Newton and Seale decided to fight back. Before he was assassinated in 1965, Malcolm X had preached against Martin Luther King Jr.’s brand of nonviolent resistance. Because the government was “either unable or unwilling to protect the lives and property” of blacks, he said, they had to defend themselves “by whatever means necessary.” Malcolm X illustrated the idea for Ebony magazine by posing for photographs in suit and tie, peering out a window with an M-1 carbine semiautomatic in hand. Malcolm X and the Panthers described their right to use guns in self-defense in constitutional terms. “Article number two of the constitutional amendments,” Malcolm X argued, “provides you and me the right to own a rifle or a shotgun.”

Guns became central to the Panthers’ identity, as they taught their early recruits that “the gun is the only thing that will free us—gain us our liberation.”

Read the whole thing here.

Check out Malcolm X’s speech on the right to bear arms

Recent Stories:
Remember Lance Armstrong’s 2001 Anti-Doping Ad For Nike?
Casino Restaurant Job Fair Today
Tri-State Faces Worst Flu Season in Years

FOLLOW US ON TWITTER – @1230AMWDBZ

JOIN THE OFFICIAL BUZZ FACEBOOK FAN PAGE

DOWNLOAD THE FREE BUZZ MOBILE APP

CLAIM YOUR FREE PHONE NOW

Join the Conversation! Share and Discuss!

Tags: » »

Comments

blog comments powered by Disqus