When the Black Panthers screamed of an armed black populace on the verge of a revolution in 1966, the California Legislature responded with a gun control statute. While many journal articles have been written on the topic of race and guns, none have examined the history and motivations behind the California Legislature's decision to enact a gun control statute in 1967 for the purpose of disarming the members of the Black Panther Party. This Article examines and analyzes this particular California law to enhance the Second Amendment literature on the topic of discriminatory gun control statutes. Accordingly, Part II of this Article describes the violence experienced by African-Americans in the South in the 1960s, examines the origins of the Black Panther Party, and explains the Panthers' views on guns. Part III describes the events leading to the proposal and the eventual passage
of the California gun control statute. Part IV then analyzes the reasons for the enactment of the law, concluding that the law was passed to disarm the Panthers. In short, the Article begs the following question: If California can pass a gun control statute in order to disarm a specifically identified, politically distasteful, minority group, is any class of citizens safe from being left defenseless in the future?
Cynthia Deitle Leonardatos,
California's Attempts to Disarm the Black Panthers,
San Diego L. Rev.
Available at: https://digital.sandiego.edu/sdlr/vol36/iss4/3