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Friday A/V Club: What the Gun Debate Looked Like in 1967

Black Panthers, hunters, and "nuts with guns"

My favorite Armed Negro Band song is "Signs."Sacramento BeeIn some ways, the gun debates of the 1960s looked a lot like the gun debates of today: The people pushing new rules argued that the arms trade was underregulated, stressed that they didn't want to interfere with hunters, and complained about the National Rifle Association (though the NRA was more amenable to new gun laws in those days than now). In other ways, the debates were rather different: Some of the loudest voices defending the Second Amendment belonged to the Black Panther Party and its supporters on the radical left, and that in turn prompted some conservatives to back certain sorts of gun control.

Both the similarities and the differences are on display in this 1967 footage from the San Francisco TV station KRON, in which a Bay Area official fulminates on all of the above subjects. The immediate context for the interview was the Panthers' armed march on the California State Assembly in Sacramento. Unable to arraign the marchers on any other charges, the authorites charged them with conspiring to forcibly enter the legislature, a legal maneuver that meets the interviewee's approval:

You'll also note his disappointment that when gun-toting Panthers served as bodyguards for Malcolm X's widow, two years after her husband's assassination, they weren't violating any laws. He is additionally upset about an armed (but peaceful) protest the Panthers had organized in North Richmond, California, following the police slaying of a young man named Denzil Dowell. (The gun debate isn't the only place where you can hear echoes of this interview today.)

But the most interesting thing about the man's comments may be the ease with which he moves from denouncing the Black Panther Party to decrying "these people"—presumably on the right—"who are afraid of some kind of bureaucratic takeover of arms." That rapid transition contains whole layers of meaning about the politics of the 1960s.

(For past editions of the Friday A/V Club, go here.)

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  • Agile Cyborg||

    His mandible certainly lost the right to bear.

  • SimonJester||

    Does anyone have a working AC translator? This one is lost on me...

  • Almanian's Rusty Woodchipper||

    I got nothin'

  • OldMexican||

    In other ways, the debates were rather different: Some of the loudest voices defending the Second Amendment belonged to the Black Panther Party and its supporters on the radical left, and that in turn prompted some conservatives to back certain sorts of gun control.


    But gun rights are slavery. Didn't you hear that? Yep, the Marxian's new shibboleth.

  • Zeb||

    It's stupid, but not quite to the level of equating gun rights with slavery.

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    Your cis patriarchy is so embedded that you cannot see the racism of equality.

  • ||

    Some of the loudest voices defending the Second Amendment belonged to the Black Panther Party

    I must've missed this point in the mixed bag of calls for legitimate freedoms and calls for special treatment and free shit that constitutes the '10 Points'.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Point #7 under "What We Believe":

    We believe we can end police brutality in our Black community by organizing Black self-defense groups that are dedicated to defending our Black community from racist police oppression and brutality. The second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States gives us the right to bear arms. We therefore believe that all Black people should arm themselves for self-defense.
  • ||

    Oh, it would be delicious to change the word "black" to something else and use that to troll proggies.

  • Almanian's Rusty Woodchipper||

    Xi?

  • SimonJester||

    We believe we can end police brutality in our Hitler community by organizing Hitler self-defense groups that are dedicated to defending our Hitler community from racist police oppression and brutality. The second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States gives us the right to bear arms. We therefore believe that all Hitler people should arm themselves for self-defense.

    ...is this kinda what you meant? Sorry, these "You know who else" lines are getting me confused.

  • Almanian's Rusty Woodchipper||

    You know who else got all confused...

  • SimonJester||

    Donald Trump?

  • Citizen X||

    Bernie Sanders supporters?

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    Hillary when she got her first Blackberry?

  • ||

    ...is this kinda what you meant? Sorry, these "You know who else" lines are getting me confused.

    Obviously, I haven't read all of their literature to a 'T', but my understanding was that the BPP were much bigger fans of Mao than Hitler.

  • Robert||

    Well, how big a fan of Mao do you think Hitler was?

  • Animal||

    Like "White?"

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    There is a video somewhere with Fred Hampton's widow saying they were just expressing their 2A rights. Also, in the Black Power Mixtape, Angela Davis (not actually a Panthers member, IIRC) makes a similar argument.

    The book "That Nonviolent Stuff Will Get You Killed" is supposed to contain a good deal of SNCC accounts of telling black citizens of their 2A rights.

    Then there is the modern version, video of which I cannot find right now, where some folks were passing out constitutions on a college campus (out west,I believe). They were asked if they were "white supremacists" because they somehow "looked like white supremacists."

  • Itchy Puss||

    There was no "Immigration Naturalization Service" until colored people starting showing up as immigrants to America.

    So, I'm not the least bit surprise that "Gun Laws" didn't show up until black people started walking around with them.

  • Jordan||

    I'll bet you're proud to continue the tradition of disarming minorities, huh?

  • tarran||

    There was no "Immigration Naturalization Service" until colored people starting showing up as immigrants to America.

    Was that before or after the Germans bombed Minnie Pearl?

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    Grandpa Jones?

  • Almanian's Rusty Woodchipper||

    Grandpa Jones: I'm a pickin'!

    Minnie Pearl: And I'm a grinnin'!

    *Buck Owens and Roy Clark start playing*

  • Swiss Servator||

    *standing ovation*

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    The Dead Milkmen?

  • Scarecrow & WoodChipper Repair||

    That's a high price to pay for opera.

  • Itchy Puss||

    Minnie Pearl? Isn't she the old lady from Hee-Haww??

  • Tundra, well-chilled.||

  • Hugh Akston||

    So 1607?

  • ||

    Damn your nimble fingers.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Go to bed old man!

  • ||

    *&^%$#@! you, you *&^%$#@! *&^%$#@! and with Warty's *&^%$#@! in Epi's *&^%$#@!.

  • Swiss Servator||

    Wow, a death sentence then?!

  • ||

    Um....black people started showing up as immigrants, although of the involuntary sort, in the 1600s. So, fail. Also, there have never been statistically large numbers of black immigrants until recently. Now, there was huge animus against Chinese and Japanese ("yellow peril"), Irish ("papists") and Italian (also, "papist") immigrants in the twentieth century.

    But, please, do continue to post here.

  • Itchy Puss||

    Two different things. People of color (including white people from latin america) and the black panthers.

    I'm not calling black people immigrants. Although many white americans (especially in the solid south) consider black people less than immigrants.

  • ||

    Sure, if you change the definitions you can prove anything. "Colored people" had a very specific historical meaning (black person of african ancestry) and that was very different from "people of color" which is a modern, proggie term.

    Bonus points for lecturing me about the South. Greetings from beautiful Virginia.

  • Itchy Puss||

    My mistake. I've always thought the phrase "Colored people" referred to anyone that didn't have a White Father and a White Mother.

  • ||

    And in the South there was the "one-drop [of blood] rule," so if you had any identifiable colored ancestor you were automatically classified as colored.

  • Florida Man||

    How do they find one drop?

  • Almanian's Rusty Woodchipper||

    With a mic?

  • ||

    Fuck off, Tulpa.

  • ||

    Fuck. He got me. Thanks, Warty.

  • ||

    He can't help being Tulpical.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Do you have some kind of robotic Tulpa detector or something?

  • ||

    That's what Epi's penis is for.

  • ||

    I love you, Nicole (in a platonic kind of way, of course).

  • ||

    Back at ya my friend!

  • SimonJester||

    Is this a variety of Epi-pen? Is the Tulp-detector Epi-Pen15?

  • Zeb||

    The Epi Penis Mightier.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    There was no "Immigration Naturalization Service" until colored people starting showing up as immigrants to America.

    Let's play "Did You Know?"

    Did you know that until "Supreme Court's ruling in Chy Lung v. Freeman in 1875 immigration was regulated by individual states?

    Did you know that these state-level regulations began shortly after the Civil War?

    Did you know that the "color" most of these regulations were focused toward was "yellow" and not "brown"?

    Did you know that the Feds first stepped into immigration in 1891 with the Immigration Act that established a Commission of Immigration under the Department of the Treasury?

    Did you know that this department bounced around from Treasury to Commerce to Labor before eventually landing in the Department of Justice?

    It really is a fascinating topic if you research it.

  • ||

    Did you know you completely SugarFree'd that first link?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

  • Almanian's Rusty Woodchipper||

    *applauds HM's SCIENCE*

  • Citizen X||

    Forget it, HM, it's Tulpatown.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

  • Lee G||

    At least now I know the plural is Tulpae

  • Lee G||

    Christ I don't know. The author switches too much

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    As the term comes from Tibetan and not Latin, I would go with tulpas, as English usually pluralizes words plucked wholesale from other tongues with the basic plural -s. Especially because Tibetan doesn't mark grammatical number. As such, I guess one could make the argument for "tulpa" being used as singular and plural in English, like we do with "fish" or "sheep", but I believe that such a usage might be seen as affectation.

  • Citizen X||

    What a strange and marvelous world we live in.

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    Um, I thought Kentucky and other States regulated it long before the Civil War? KY had a ban of some sort against Free Blacks living there. Of course, I am too lazy to look it up right now so...

  • R C Dean||

    Anyone familiar with the history of gun control in this country knows that it is one of the last remaining vestiges of Jim Crow.

  • sarcasmic||

    Funny how things like minimum wage and gun control that were originally created with the explicit purpose of holding down blacks are now being sold as a means to help black people.

  • Je suis Woodchipper||

  • ||

    Yankees were still Republicans in those days, and rednecks were still largely Democrats. It shouldn't be terribly surprising that Republicans were more for gun control, since being armed has never been the sort of cultural badge for Yankees that it always has been for Scots-Irish-descended backwoods redneck culture types.

  • sarcasmic||

    There's a lot of redneck culture up here in the Northeast.

  • Itchy Puss||

    Yes, I live in Orange County New York. It might as well be Tennessee.

  • Restoras||

    What township?

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    You bumpkins can't even do Tennessee Orange right.

  • ||

    It's a different sort of redneck culture than what I'm talking about, though. Like, their ancestors were Congregationalists, not snake-handlers. Know what I mean?

  • sarcasmic||

    This was filmed not to far from where I live.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=anhP1e3P76Y

  • Tundra, well-chilled.||

    That actually looks kind of fun...

    I love utube comments:

    Jeff Shurling 4 months ago
    The world's most embarrassing sports game. No wonder why half of the world hates America because of this.

    See, and I thought everyone hated us because of our shit grammar.

  • GILMORE™||

    " No wonder why half of the world hates America because of this."

    More like Half of America hates America, half the rest of the world wishes it had the wealth to afford to be so ridiculously self-indulgent, and the other half has no idea we exist, being too busy trying to survive.

  • ||

    What, no skeet shooting?

  • Itchy Puss||

    I think people have every right to live this way as long as they don't push up or disenfranchise others.

    And, other than doing the red-neck thing, these people appear to be rather harmless.
    I'm sure they hate niggers like all other red-necks. But I didn't see a nigger in sight.
    There was no lynching or anything of the sort. And, I know to stay away.

  • ||

    Go piss up a rope Tulpa.

  • Rhywun||

    I don't recall Tulpa being this trollish. This is more up Buttplug's alley.

  • Jordan||

    It's Alice Bowie. The clown admitted it a few days ago.

  • sarcasmic||

    But I didn't see a nigger in sight.

    Maine is 96% white. The whitest state in the union as a matter of fact. And most of that 4% is migrant Mexicans and Somali refugees. Maine also has the least violent crime of any state. Correlation or causation...

  • Hugh Akston||

    Yeah but the violence caused by fog-dwelling monsters, psychic teenagers, and reanimated corpses is higher than the next ten states combined.

  • ||

    The Deep Ones, don't forget about those.

  • Hugh Akston||

    That's Rhode Island, dude.

  • ||

    Many of those snake-handling folks are congregationalists, ie independent, self-governing congregations, even though they most often descibe themselves as baptists or holiness.

  • ||

    I thought most identified as Pentecostal? But that could be different now, there was never really a lot of them anyway.

  • ||

    Congregational is a term of governance, ie each congregation is independent. No bishops or hierarchy. Baptist, Pentecostal and Holiness are terms that describe the belief system.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    since being armed has never been the sort of cultural badge for Yankees


    -1 Lexington and Concord, of course.

  • ||

    Oh, you know what I mean.

  • ||

    Being armed was a cultural necessity for the colonists both for protection and hunting. The freedom to hunt was huge for them since they were not allowed to do that back in England (except for the very few colonists who had owned land back in England).

  • ||

    strike "cultural"

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    strike "cultural"


    Why? Deer season is a cultural aspect of northern New England. Spend sometime in northern NH, VT, and Maine and you'll see a lot of Real Tree festooned folks, bows, and gun-racked pick-up trucks on the sides of the roads.

  • Rhywun||

    you'll see a lot of Real Tree festooned folks, bows, and gun-racked pick-up trucks on the sides of the roads.

    Hell, this exact scene plays out everywhere in the NE except the coasts and within 5 miles or so of any major city. I grew up in Rochester but this could be my step-father on the weekends.

  • Restoras||

    Yes. In my hometown in Orange County ( about 60 miles from NYC) deer season was a big deal. Several homes would have the carcasses hanging outside to do whatever that's for before being butchered.

  • Caput Lupinum||

    The first day of regular buck is still a school holiday here in northeastern PA.

  • Restoras||

    http://www.davekopel.org/2A/La.....ntrol.html

    We are all in arms, exercising and training old and young to the use of the gun. No person goes abroad without his sword, or gun, or pistols. . . . Every plain is full of armed men, who all wear a hunting shirt, on the left breast of which are sewed, in very legible letters, “Liberty or Death.”

  • ||

    Yankees were still Republicans in those days, and rednecks were still largely Democrats.

    IMO, the key question is whether the BPP were Marxists yet. Not that I want to see them disarmed/persecuted by the government but, IMO, the story is more nuanced than 'Racists attempt to seize guns from Black People and Black People stand for freedom.'

    And you could, of course, assert that they weren't true Marxists but real oppressed people adopting popular revolutionary memes of the day, especially ones that espoused equality. If that's the case, then it's a revisionist history culture war where we freedom lovers have no real skin in the game one way or the other.

    Heads you hate Black people, tails you sympathize with Marxists.

  • Florida Man||

    Comic: White people be shootin' like dis (holds gun upright) and black people be shootin' like dis (holds gun sideways).

    Homer: It's true, we're so lame!

  • Restoras||

    Mythbusters covered this - shooting sideways is much less accurate...

  • Hugh Akston||

    As is shooting from the hip, shooting from shoulder level, and double-fisting it. All of which have been popular ways for white move and TV characters to shoot.

  • ||

    I'll be glad when the over-exaggerated c-clamp grip dies/fades back into obscurity as well.

  • Almanian's Rusty Woodchipper||

    WHERE MY COUNTRY GONE??!!

  • simplybe||

    One federal law could curb criminal gun use in American. On conviction of a first class felony while using a firearm a 50 year mandatory federal sentence would be added to what state or federal courts gave for the crime.

  • Almanian's Rusty Woodchipper||

    Wow - how could libertarians NOT get behind this 100%?

  • Knarf Yenrab!||

    That sounds expensive for the taxpayer. Why not just chop off their limbs upon conviction to externalize the costs of punishment to the criminal?

  • kbolino||

    For the stunning success of such policy ideas, one need only look at how illegal drugs are basically nonexistent nowadays. Mission accomplished!

  • ExNuke||

    I see you have bought the liberal meme that "Guns Are BAD" as if machetes were good and clubs are just fine. Violence against an innocent person is violence regardless of the weapon used. People killed and injured others for thousands of years before guns were invented with nothing but rocks, sticks and bare hands and feet. I know, let's go back to you have to suffer anything from anyone bigger and more violent than yourself. That will surely end all violence and we can hold hands and sing "kumbaya" or some such nonsense.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Government guns gooooood!
    Citizen guns baaaaaaad!

  • OldMexican||

    Trust me, it's not unreasonable to treat liberal policies as if they have a tendency for mission creep and unwieldy expansion.

    After his attempt at investing the Osaka Castle in 1614 (Japan), Tokugawa Ieyasu reached an armistice agreement with the ruler of Osaka, the young Toyotomi Hideyori (son and heir of the powerful Toyotomi Hideyoshi), after which the willy Tokugawa ordered his troops to fill the moats of the castle with sand, arguing that, after all, there was an armistice and there would be NO need for moats and castles, right?

    In the end, Tokugawa laid siege to Osaka Castle again and this time he was successful. Toyotomi committed suicide along with his young wife (and Tokugawa's daughter) and his mother.

    You can bet the Marxians are not going to be as magnanimous as Tokugawa when they fill our moats.

  • AD-RtR/OS!||

    Well, this was prior to passage of GCA-68, and the Federal licensing of gun-dealers (FFL's), so it was somewhat non-regulated at that level. CA, though, has had handgun registration, and waiting periods since the early 1920's.

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    Thanks for finding this video Jesse! I might be able to use it in my documentary.

    Already found Angela Davis supporting 2A.

  • Hank Phillips||

    There you have a grovelling conservative saying to put someone else in Room 101. It's the naked face of Orwellian cowardice. Thanks Jesse. That's the best exposé I've seen since I gave up teevee.

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