The NRA voted for gun restrictions once in California. Is it rooted in racism?

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — With 10-day waiting periods, universal background checks, and open carry restrictions, the state of California has some of the most restrictive gun laws in the country. These restrictions are rooted in racism, according to Xavier Buck, executive director of the Dr. Huey P. Newton Foundation.

“When you see black people knowing the law, they’re like, ‘OK, well let’s change the law,'” Buck said.

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The Black Panther Party was founded in Oakland in 1966, originally named the Black Panther Party for Self Defense, in response to police brutality against black citizens.

The radical organization was known to openly carry guns on the streets to keep a close eye on the police.

That is until California lawmakers banned the open carrying of loaded weapons the year after the group was founded.

“They were shocked that black people had the audacity to walk up to the state capitol and protest these gun restrictions,” Buck said. “The Mulford Act was passed very directly in response to the Black Panther Party carrying guns and legally defending itself.”

The bill restricting the right to openly carry loaded weapons was supported by the National Rifle Association and signed into law by Governor Ronald Regan in 1967.

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“He says the Second Amendment doesn’t apply to black people,” Buck said. “It was the only time the NRA ever wanted to respond with more gun restrictions. It had never happened and hasn’t happened since.”

Today, an increasing number of black people, especially black women, are becoming gun owners.

According to the National Sports Shooting Foundation, black women are one of the fastest growing groups picking up guns for the first time, according to 2021 data.

“To understand history is to understand why this club exists,” said Nathan Jones, executive director of the Bay Area Black Gun Owners Association. “All of this is a rebuttal of all those decades, history, and centuries of gun restrictions against people of color in particular.”

ABC7 News spoke with Jones on a Sunday morning in April when the association was hosting a beginner’s gun safety course specifically for black women.

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“It’s the most popular class we offer,” Jones said. “Seventy percent of our members are women. They are joining the club in droves.”

Several of the women at the event shared with ABC7 News that they had never held a gun before, but wanted to learn the basics of gun safety.

“I want to take back our safety and our protection,” said Samantha Jones, who brought her sister Ashley with her.

Ashley added, “I’m a single woman living alone. I want to have that extra security at home.”

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