I supported the Black Panther protest. In reality, all the Panthers wanted was to have the state rein in the Los Angeles Police Department. They said if the state couldn’t or wouldn’t step in, the black citizens of Los Angeles would take on the responsibility of law enforcement in the black community.
Even at the age of 18 and still fairly conservative, I thought the Mulford Act was stupid. But then, the majority of California gun laws passed since then are stupid; this was just an early example.
Don Mulford was a conservative legislator from the Bay Area. Ronald Reagan was the conservative governor of California. California, as a state, was nowhere nearly as progressive in 1967 as it has become since then.
Incidentally, Reagan said later that he regretted signing the Mulford Act.
The armed protestors at the capitol building in Lansing were also specifically protesting Governor Whitmer’s refusal to reclassify gun-related businesses as essential and, thus able to remain open.
Governor Whitmer is one of a handful of state governors who have held that gun stores are not essential businesses and is one of the only remaining governors who has not rescinded that decision. Even New Jersey is allowing gun stores to operate.
The excuse that social distancing might be an issue was rendered moot by the recent decision by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives to allow that portion of a firearm transfer that must be conducted in person to be done outside of the businesses actual physical structure.
A customer who has already arranged for a sale, either by telephone or online, can drive to the gun store and remain in their vehicle while an employee brings them the necessary paperwork, takes it back into the store, makes the background check inquiry, gets the decision, informs that customer and collects the payment. Once this process is completed, the employee either delivers the firearm to the customer of, depending on the state, begins the clock on the required waiting period.
Gun stores can also handle sales by appointment only, minimizing traffic in the gun store. This is how gun sales are handled in Pennsylvania.
California originally said gun stores weren’t essential but then said it was up to the individual counties. Los Angeles County Sheriff Villanueva initially ordered gun stores to close but a letter from the county attorney reminded him that he did not have the authority to close them and they were allowed to reopen.
Judging by the media treatment and comments I have seen, the demonstrators in Michigan aren’t getting a free ride. The media isn’t even reporting the real reason.
Given that, like the Black Panthers in 1967, none of the demonstrators did anything threatening or illegal, there has been no reason for the media treatment. If Mr. Muse wants to be critical of the disparities in the response of authorities and media to the two demonstrations, that would seem to be fair. Some of the Panthers were arrested on various charges while none of the Michigan demonstrators were arrested.