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NRA was pro-gun control when it came to Black Panthers

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While today's NRA takes hardline positions against even the most modest gun control measures, this was not always the case. Throughout its history, the NRA supported gun control, including restrictions on gun ownership, and was not focused on the Second Amendment.

But the organization had a change of heart in the 1970s when the Black Panthers advocated for an individual right to bear arms. Ironically, the Panthers were the founders of the modern-day gun rights movement, which became the purview of predominantly white, rural conservatives.

The ambiguous reading of the Second Amendment notwithstanding, gun control is as old as the Republic, and the amendment was not interpreted as an absolute in the early days of the United States. There was a balance between individual rights and public safety.

For example, slaves and freed blacks were barred from gun ownership, reflecting fears that African-Americans would revolt. At the same time, the founders proscribed gun ownership to many whites, including those who would not swear their loyalty to the Revolution. And contrary to legend, the "Wild, Wild West" had the most severe gun control policies in America.

Meanwhile, the Black Codes of the post-Civil War South were designed to disempower blacks and reestablish white rule.

This included the prohibition on blacks possessing firearms—a law which was enforced by white gun owners such as the Ku Klux Klan, who terrorized black communities. The Northern framers of the Fourteenth Amendment and the first Civil Rights Act viewed gun rights as fundamental to upholding the constitutional protections of the freedmen.

When Prohibition-era organized crime led to the enactment of the National Firearms Act of 1934—thenation's first federal gun control laws—the NRA not only supported restrictive gun control measures, but drafted legislation in numerous states limiting the carrying of concealed weapons. When NRA president Karl Frederick was asked by Congress whether the Second Amendment imposed any restrictions on gun control, he responded that he had "not given it any study from that point of view."

Frederick said he did "not believe in the general promiscuous toting of guns. I think it should be sharply restricted and only under licenses." He helped draft the Uniform Firearms Act, a model law which required a police permit to carry a concealed weapon, a registry of all gun purchases, and a two-day waiting period for firearms sales.

In the 1960s, the NRA continued to support gun control, a wave which was fueled by the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy, Senator Robert F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, and the racial strife and violent uprisings in the nation's urban centers.

The organization actively lobbied in favor of the Gun Control Act of 1968, which banned gun sales by mail, and enacted a system of licensing those people and companies who bought and sold firearms. Franklin Orth, then the executive vice president of the NRA, said that although certain aspects of the law "appear unduly restrictive and unjustified in their application to law-abiding citizens, the measure as a whole appears to be one that the sportsmen of America can live with."

During that time, the NRA and conservative politicians such as California Governor Ronald Reagan supported gun control as a means of restoring social order, and getting weapons out of the hands of radical, left-leaning and revolutionary groups, particularly the Black Panther Party.

Responding to the perceived failures of the nonviolent civil rights movement, the Black Panthers took a more militant and uncompromising approach of the fallen leader Malcolm X. Led by figures including Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale, the Panthers' "by any means necessary" approach included a most aggressive gun ownership policy to protect their communities from police abuse.

Beginning in 1966, the Panthers carried out police patrols, in which they rushed to the scene of an arrest with their loaded weapons publicly displayed, and notified those being arrested of their constitutional rights. California state legislator Don Mulford introduced a bill to repeal the state law allowing citizens to carry loaded guns in public if they were openly displayed. Mulford had the Panthers in mind with this legislation.

On May 2, 1967, a group of Black Panthers protested the bill by walking into the California State Capitol Building fully armed. In response, the legislature passed the Mulford Act. And Gov. Reagan, who was a major proponent of disarming the Panthers, signed the bill into law, effectively neutralizing the Panther Police Patrols.

Yet, in the 1970s the NRA began to shift their direction rightward and actively lobby for gun rights. Their chief lobbyist, Harlon Carter, was a former border control agent and staunch supporter of gun rights. In 1977, Carter and his faction staged a coup within the NRA, against an establishment that wanted to shift away from gun control and crime in favor of conservation and sportsmen's issues.

With the Black Panther Party and other left wing gun control foes out of the picture, the new hardline NRA feared the government would similarly take away their guns. Further, these predominantly white and conservative gun rights advocates in the NRA shared the Panthers' distrust of the police.

Ironically, Ronald Reagan—who had signed the Mulford Act to disarm the Black Panther Party—changed his stance and advocated for guns as a defense against state power.

"So isn't it better for the people to own arms than to risk enslavement by power-hungry men or nations? The founding fathers thought so," Reagan said in a radio commentary in 1975.

In 1980, the NRA endorsed Reagan for president, the first such endorsement by the group. On March 30, 1981, President Reagan and three others were shot and injured by John Hinckley, Jr., 25, outside the Washington Hilton Hotel.

http://thegrio.com/2...ack-panthers/2/

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Thanks for sharing that.... it clarifies how the NRA's effort to find common ground only opened the door to where we are today-The attempt to ban most modern Guns from the hands of the law abiding citizens.

:thumbs:


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"Those people who will not be governed by God


will be ruled by tyrants."



William Penn

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Thanks for sharing that.... it clarifies how the NRA's effort to find common ground only opened the door to where we are today-The attempt to ban most modern Guns from the hands of the law abiding citizens.

:thumbs:

Kinda my thoughts also. I love how the article pointed out slaves and free blacks could not own guns, because the Govt was afraid they may revolt. Hmmm. Interesting.. Amazing. people could not own guns and they were oppressed. The govt's main argument was to keep them in chains

Yet anyone that dares suggest such a thing could happen is labeled a gun nut psychopath.. Those who do not know history .....

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Kinda my thoughts also. I love how the article pointed out slaves and free blacks could not own guns, because the Govt was afraid they may revolt. Hmmm. Interesting.. Amazing. people could not own guns and they were oppressed. The govt's main argument was to keep them in chains

Yet anyone that dares suggest such a thing could happen is labeled a gun nut psychopath.. Those who do not know history .....

Kinda like these Libs who claimed they would have resisted Hitler...... oh yea, with what?


type2homophobia_zpsf8eddc83.jpg




"Those people who will not be governed by God


will be ruled by tyrants."



William Penn

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From one of the comments:

at the time of Bobby Seals (1968) and the infiltration of the California court houses the NRA was and always had been for gun control. the real reason the NRA changed positions to become pro gun was because they were influenced by all of the money being generated by all of the racial fear that caused gun purchases to go up in the 70s and the influx of cash into the gun industry that made it's way to washington to gain further influence.

in 1976 the VP of the NRA had announced that they were going to move the organization from DC to Colorado Springs Colorado to get the NRA away from the gun industry money interests that were beginning to influence their lobbying wing. the name of the lobbying arm was the institute for legislative action. what the NRA was trying to do was rein-trench itself as the original outdoorsman environmentalist type club it was before. it used to have much in common with the Seirra Club for instance. but the new lobbyists headed by Harlon Carter basically staged a coup in 1977 and pushed out the old leadership and kept the organization in Washington where the money is. after that they were like any other lobbying groups subject to the business interests of the gun industry. so it's both right and wrong to say that the NRA changed because of the panthers. they changed after 1968 after opportunists saw a way to make fear into cash on the backs of the black panthers. but I'm not sure the NRA changed it's politics because it really wanted guns or just because a few of the saw an opportunity to get paid a lot of cash because of the ignorance and racism of a lot of gun owners.

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From one of the comments:

Once again the article showed throughout history how the NRA has supported reasonable attempts to ensure gun safety and gave a great example of how our won govt denied guns to a select group and oppressed them. The article even plainly stated that is exactly why the Govt denied them guns.

That was a great article illustrating the nRA's attempts in the past to promote good gun safety legislation and it clearly pointed out how our govt in the past has clearly stated it did not want citizens to have guns so they could oppress them.

Great pro gun freedom article.. Thanks

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That was a great article illustrating the nRA's attempts in the past to promote good gun safety legislation...

You're including restrictions that the NRA once supported as gun 'safety'? Really? Okay, so which gun restrictions is the current NRA in support of that follows what they used to support?

Maybe you missed this part of the article:

When Prohibition-era organized crime led to the enactment of the National Firearms Act of 1934—thenation’s first federal gun control laws—the NRA not only supported restrictive gun control measures, but drafted legislation in numerous states limiting the carrying of concealed weapons. When NRA president Karl Frederick was asked by Congress whether the Second Amendment imposed any restrictions on gun control, he responded that he had “not given it any study from that point of view.”
Edited by Lincolns mullet

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You're including restrictions that the NRA once supported as gun 'safety'? Really? Okay, so which gun restrictions is the current NRA in support of that follows what they used to support?

Maybe you missed this part of the article:

1934? Seriously?


You can click on the 'X' to the right to ignore this signature.

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You're including restrictions that the NRA once supported as gun 'safety'? Really? Okay, so which gun restrictions is the current NRA in support of that follows what they used to support?

Maybe you missed this part of the article:

They are all for enhancing the national background check program

They are all for maintaining a list of people in a national l database that have mental problems and should not have access to firearms

Seems thier goals are failry consistantint.

But a few things can change since 1934.. For instance the democratic party is no longer the party of segregation and racism.

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They are all for enhancing the national background check program

They are all for maintaining a list of people in a national l database that have mental problems and should not have access to firearms

Seems thier goals are failry consistantint.

But a few things can change since 1934.. For instance the democratic party is no longer the party of segregation and racism.

They may claim they are in favor of background checks, but look at their track record - they have consistently lobbied against any proposals for background checks.

Out of curiosity/sheer terror, though, we wondered about the nominal substance of N.R.A.'s opposition to universal background checks. It took us about 30 minutes of Googling to actually track down a more substantive answer than "the N.R.A. does like background checks!" and "the N.R.A. believes ex-criminals have paid their debts to society," but we eventually stumbled upon a number of press releases on the N.R.A. Web site that criticize background-check software as "duplicative," expensive, and allegedly in the habit of denying residents "the right to purchase a firearm due to incomplete information or an issue as trivial as having forgotten to pay a speeding ticket." Aren't both sides saying we need more background-check software and betterbackground-check software and more powerful background check software—not lessbackground-check software? Just like how, according to the N.R.A., if criminals use guns to commit acts of evil, we need more guns and better guns and more powerful guns to fix the problem.

The N.R.A. should recognize this case for better background check software better than just about anyone.

http://www.vanityfai...ckground-Checks

Edited by Lincolns mullet

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In 1972, the Republican platform supported gun control, abiding by a simple proposition with which many of us in the reality-based community agree: less guns, less crime.

We pledge a tireless campaign against crime—to restore safety to our streets, and security to law-abiding citizens who have a right to enjoy their homes and communities free from fear. We pledge to…
ntensify efforts to prevent criminal access to all weapons, including special emphasis on cheap, readily-obtainable handguns…with such federal law as necessary to enable the states to meet their responsibilities.

Which shouldn’t be all that surprising given that, despite the beginnings of the movement in the other direction I documented in my last post, the National Rifle Association supported the same sort of gun control, too.

But by 1980, the Republican platform said this:

We believe the right of citizens to keep and bear arms must be preserved. Accordingly, we oppose federal registration of firearms…. We therefore support Congressional initiatives to remove those provisions of the Gun Control Act of 1968 that do not significantly impact on crime but serve rather to restrain the law-abiding citizen in his legitimate use of firearms.

That same year, for the first time in its 109-year history, the NRA endorsed a presidential candidate: the Republican nominee, of course, Ronald Wilson Reagan. Reagan, they said, would see to it that the Justice Department “will pursue and prosecute those in government who abuse citizens for the political ends of gun control.” (How’s that for paranoia?)

What happened in between? For one thing, as I suggested in my last post, gun-toting was no longer associated with the far left—with Black Panthers and other aspirants to armed revolution. More importantly, though, the culture of Americans who owned guns had evolved more and more toward what some have been mistakenly associating with the 1990s: the “tactical turn”—a moral vision of the world in which good guys and bad guys are obviously distinguishable, and the self-declared good guys wash themselves in fantasies about good guys overpowering bad guys via stockpiles of increasingly powerful weaponry. Joined, of course, by fantasies of liberal Gestapos ever poised to take those stockpiles away.

Start this story with the debate over the “Saturday night specials.”

The Gun Control Act of 1968 referred to in the 1980 Republican platform, among other things, banned the sale of firearms by mail, and established a federal system of licensing individuals and companies who bought and sold guns—“the Communist line,” according to the NRA’s magazine American Rifleman. It also included a “sporting purpose” test to attempt to ban guns known as “Saturday night specials”: cheap, throwaway guns some believed all but useless for anything but the commission of crimes. That statutory formula (no guns with short barrels, small calibers and non-adjustable sights) did not work. Saturday night specials stayed on the streets. And by the 1970s one of the most active lobbies in new attempts to control them was… the NRA. In 1971, their director said, “We are for it 100 percent. We would like to get rid of these guns.” In 1973, their man in Congress, Michigan Democrat John Dingell, introduced the latest bill to ban them.

In 1975, the NRA moved more aggressively into lobbying, with a new Institute for Legal Action. But suddenly, the tenor of their lobbying had radically shifted. Their new legislative shop was headed by a right-wing former border control agent named Harlon Carter whose claim to fame was leading a 1950s operation called “Operation Wetback.” Ban Saturday night specials? No way. Harlon Carter was a fan. “A lot of famous people I have talked to have referred to the so-called Saturday night specials as a girl’s best friend,” he told the Associated Press. “They’re small enough to fit into a woman’s purse or be at her beside at home.” (Maybe one of those famous people, incidentally, was Ronald Reagan. The future president, it happened, practiced what he preached: Shortly after the 1980 election, Nancy Reagan admitted she kept a “tiny little gun” in a bedside drawer that her husband had taught her to use.) The NRA, Carter insisted, would oppose legislation aimed at “inanimate objects instead of the evildoer.” Boasting of working seven days a week, he helped kill the very bill the NRA was instrumental in introducing.

“Evildoers”: pay attention to the word.

Shortly after opening Harlon Carter’s lobbying shop, however, as Jill Lepore has reported in The New Yorker,the powers that be in the NRA chose to move away from the politics of crime and gun control and back to their identity as a sportman’s organization. Plans were laid to move their headquarters from Washington to bucolic Colorado Springs. The hardliners, however, weren’t having any of that: those in favor of the NRA going “soft on gun control,” as the muckraking liberal columnist Jack Anderson paraphrased the hardliners’ position, “worried about its image, becoming too involved in conservation causes, and looking for liberal money”—no fit image for an organization of hard men with guns.

There was, at that, another reported reason for the move to Colorado: Washington street crime. “A lot of people poked fun at this,” Anderson reported. And hard men with guns don’t like being poked fun at. And so they readied for bureaucratic war.

In 1977, Carter’s faction packed the national convention in Cincinnati and effected what one of the ousted officials called a “gentlemanly bloodbath.” Said one of the coup plotters, “People who are interested in conservation can join the Sierra Club. If they’re interested in bird-watching there’s the Audubon Society. But this organization is for people who want to own and shoot guns.” Immediately the announcement went forth: “the National Rifle Association is cutting back on its conservation and wildlife programs to devote most of its energies to fighting gun control.” The next year Jack Anderson followed up: “the most extreme of the extremists have formed a tight little clique which pulls strings inside the organization. They operate with great mystery and secrecy, referring to themselves cryptically as the Federation. Let a timorous official show the slightest weakness, and his name will go down on the Federation’s secret ‘hit list.’ ”

That 1977 coup has been widely written about of late. What most of us don’t know about, however, is Ronald Reagan’s role in laying the ideological groundwork for the historical transformation.

In 1975, after eight years as governor of California, Reagan took a job delivering daily five-minute radio homilies on the issues of the day. By June of that year he was on some 300 stations. And that month, in that frighteningly persuasive Ronald Reagan way, he addressed himself in a three-part series to a new proposal by Attorney General Edward Levy to pass a gun control law specifically targeted at high-crime areas. What follows are never-before-published Reagan quotes from my own research listening to dozens of these broadcasts archived at the Hoover Institution at Stanford for the book I’m working on about the rise of Reagan in the 1970s. They show Reagan bringing the NRA hardline faction’s worldview to the broader public.

“Now, that’s funny,” he said of Levy’s proposal. “It seems to me that the best way to deter murderers and thieves is to arm law-abiding folk and not disarm them…. as news story after news story shows, if the victim is armed, he has a chance—a better chance by far than if he isn’t armed. Nobody knows in fact how many crimes are not committed because criminals know a certain store owner has a gun—and will use it.” So the attorney general of the United States, Reagan said, “should encourage homeowners and business people to purchase them and learn how to use them properly.”

He concluded that first broadcast foreshadowing so much NRA rhetoric to come: “After all, guns don’t make criminals. It’s criminals who make use of guns. They’re the ones who should be punished—not the law-abiding citizen who seeks to defend himself.”

Good guys, bad guys, never the twain shall meet—despite all the evidence, which I’m sure was available even then, that the people most likely to be victim of a gun in the home are people who live in that house. Or the moral evidence of the entire history of the human race: that the boundaries between “good people” and “bad people” are permeable, contingent, unknowable; and that policy-making simply can’t proceed from the axiom that one set of rules can exist for the former, and one for the latter.

Conservatives don’t think that way. For them, it’s almost as if “evildoers” glow red, like ET: everyone justknows who they are. My favorite example from studying Reagan was the time the time news came out that Vice President Spiro Agnew was being investigated for bribery. The Governor of California told David Broder, “I have known Ted Agnew to be an honest and and honorable man. He, like any other citizen of high character, should be considered innocent until proven otherwise.” Citizen of high character: I don’t remember that line in my Constitution. That same week, he said of an alleged cop-killer, not yet tried, that he deserved the electric chair.

And it wasn’t just political demagogues, in 1975, who were saying so. “Wicked people exist,” wrote the late James Q. Wilson in an influential policy book that year, Thinking About Crime. “Nothing avails except to set them apart from innocent people.”

Have you ever met an “innocent person”? The Bible I’ve read suggests that there are none.

Now that silly view is hegemonic. “The truth is,” another conservative said not too long ago, “that our society is populated by an unknown number of genuine monsters. People that are so deranged, so evil, so possessed by voices and driven by demons, that no sane person can every possibly comprehend them. They walk among us every single day.” That was Wayne LaPierre explaining “law-abiding citizens” need to have as many guns close to hand as possible, the better to fuel the fantasy that more, bigger guns, everywhere, are what can save us from future Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedies.

At that, what is a “law-abiding citizen”? A law-abiding citizen is law-abiding only until they violate the law. At which point, they are a criminal, and outside conservative graces—but if conservatives have their way, they may be a criminal with an assault weapon, purchased back when they were a law-abiding person, because law-abiding citizens can never be denied any gun. Oops. But you can’t take that assault weapon away—that’s thanks to people like LaPierre.

Our stockpiles of course can also save us, according to that other constitutive gun nut fantasy from a tyrannical government—from “those,” as Reagan put it in a guest article in the September 1975 issue ofGuns & Ammo, “who see confiscation of weapons as one way of keeping the people under control.”

Yes, the man who signed the Mulford Act in 1967 outlawing the carrying of weapons in public, back when the target was Black Panthers, was also an early adopter of, and crucial propagandist for, the theory that armed citizens should imagine themselves taking on the state—once the likes of the Black Panthers were defunct. As he put it in the the third part of his radio series that June, what the authors of the Second Amendment “really feared was that government might take away the freedoms of the citizens in their newly created free state. Each of those first ten amendments guarantees a freedom. the Second Amendment guarantees the right of the citizen to protect those other freedoms. Take away the arms of the citizen, and where is his defense against not only criminals but also the possible despotism of his government? In police states they take away the citizens’ arms first. This ensures the perpetuation of the state’s power, and the ability of police to deal with dissenters, as well as criminals.”

“So isn’t it better for the people to own arms than to risk enslavement by power-hungry men or nations? The founding fathers thougt so. This is Ronald Reagan. Thanks for listening.”

What makes us Americans, or even just participants in a civilization, is precisely that we surrender the horrifying conception of life is nothing but a violent war against all, resolving to live by legitimately constituted authority instead. To give up that conviction is democratic heresy. That heresy was another of Ronald Reagan’s gifts to us.

http://www.thenation.com/blog/172125/how-nra-became-organization-aspiring-vigilantes-part-2#

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I don't dispute that organized groups change over time. No one can argue that the 19th century and early 20th Democrats were not a despicable lot that held on to racist philosophies and then about the time of Truman...perhaps because of Truman, the party turned the corner towards being the party of tolerance.

I agree that some of what the NRA is pushing today probably doesn't serve in the best interest of the country and that the NRA of the 1960s/70s was a more moderate group (because it represented owners only rather manufacturers I presume).Today, I don't understand resistance to universal background checks for all purchases, though there is logic to fighting a national firearms register as its been shown very recently how easy it is to abuse.

Edited by Usui Takumi

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