By David Codrea
USA – -(Ammoland.com)- “Deputies seize 10 Black Panther weapons during news conference at courthouse,” Wilmington’s WWAY News reported Sunday. The “two revolvers, five semi-automatic pistols, and three shotguns, all loaded,” are being “safe kept,” because possession on courthouse property violates a country ordinance. In addition, Panther “members who were wearing masks at the gathering lower their mask due to North Carolina state law prohibiting the wearing of masks at meetings or demonstrations.”
“We will not tolerate violations of the law,” Sheriff Ed McMahon insisted, reiterating the stance Wilmington Police Chief Ralph Evangelous took in a Friday news conference. That event was in response to a Revolutionary Black Panther Party of Wilmington, NC flyer posted on the group’s Facebook page.
“Evangelous said his staff reached out and spoke to representatives from the national and local group several times, even forwarding them copies of state laws and city codes governing this type of event, to include the state statute that prohibits open carry of weapons during public protests, marches, rallies and demonstrations on public property,” Fox Wilmington reported.
“This statute will be enforced in this district without regard to the applicant who seeks to assemble or the viewpoints of that group,” Hanover County District Attorney Ben David warned in a statement. “When the assembly is convened on public property, individuals are prohibited from possessing firearms while demonstrating or picketing without advanced permission. Anyone in violation of this statute will be prosecuted.”
Whether any Panthers disarmed today face further charges remains to be seen. The “safe-kept” weapons were inventoried and will reportedly be returned Monday. Although some police arrived “in tactical gear with guns raised,” Panther leader Dr. Alli Muhammad announced before their arrival that “the RBPP’s plan for an armed event in Creekwood would be moved Sunday to private property on Dock Street,” and ended up shaking hands with the deputy in charge, “who said both sides acted professionally.”
Despite that, “Muhammad said he believes the law to be unconstitutional [and that] his group will file suit to challenge it…”
And that raises question for those who say they believe in the right of the people to keep and bear arms. The Panthers’ being race-obsessed collectivists notwithstanding, the question becomes one of whether such laws comport with “shall not be infringed.”
Does being on “public property” create a “compelling state interest” necessitating citizen disarmament? How about being organized? Does that justify the state denying a fundamental right without due process?
Remember, what “authorities” can do to the Panthers, they can do to you. Hanover DA David said as much.
And don’t forget it was “conservative” fear of armed groups of the original Black Panthers in Oakland that prompted Ronald Reagan to sign California’s Mulford Act, effectively ending the public carrying of loaded firearms in California (with limited legal exceptions, e.g., with “may issue” permits).
Nobody’s siding with the Panthers’ perceptions, contentions or grievances here. There’s only one issue of concern for this discussion:
We all have the right to keep and bear arms. The truth that ought to apply equally to all of us is, if we abuse that right, if we threaten or if we cause harm through unjustified force, others have the right to stop us.
- What the Panther Taught the Eagle- A Modern Folk Tale
- Armed black demonstrators display egalitarian diversity of right to arms
About David Codrea:
David Codrea is the winner of multiple journalist awards for investigating / defending the RKBA and a long-time gun rights advocate who defiantly challenges the folly of citizen disarmament.
In addition to being a field editor/columnist at GUNS Magazine and associate editor for Oath Keepers, he blogs at “The War on Guns: Notes from the Resistance,” and posts on Twitter: @dcodrea and Facebook.