Seizure of Black Panther Weapons Invites Examination of Second Amendment Convictions

By David Codrea

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Does this announcement represent a “threat” sufficient to justify suspending the right to keep and bear arms? Does being on county property add to the danger? [Revolutionary Black Panther Party of Wilmington/Facebook]
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.”

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Absent aggressive conduct, does this constitute a threat? [Revolutionary Black Panther Party of Wilmington/Facebook]
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.

Also see:

David Codrea in his natural habitat.

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.

  • 33 thoughts on “Seizure of Black Panther Weapons Invites Examination of Second Amendment Convictions

      1. I really do believe in defence of the black panthers as the second amendment is clear it shall not be infringed upon not withstanding any race or creed.

    1. I’m most definitely not a fan of any racist group. My family is black, white, and Asian. I’m also very uncomfortable with government restrictions on private firearms possession.

      That being said, armed groups demanding their brand of JUSTICE has never been good. It’s certainly well worth some scrutiny. I’d prefer a alternate group, with more diversity, also conduct an armed freedom March and leave the government out of the event.

      David, did you read the county ordinances?

    2. This is the tough part of many of our “freedoms,” such as the right to take drugs. What one does with his own body is none of my business, but there are societal concerns, nonetheless. This is when one must look inward and question their convictions, but in both instances, I have to come down on the side of more individual liberty, not less. Law enforcement has every right to be cautious when a group assembles armed and loaded, but concern in lack of deliberate hostility is just that: concern. Society must always struggle with those “lines.” It is when there is no struggle and dictates replace discussion that society falls into that deep, dark hole of tyranny.

    3. The real question is why they have to get permission to exercise multiple Constitutional right, assembly, bear arms, due process. May not agree with all that the black Panthers stand for but a Right is a Right.

    4. The comment speaks volumes by the Chief of Police….Regardless of what “political group”. The police will take “action” and “Seize” civilians arms! This is infringement, no matter what they say…If there not acrung violent…Then di as OPEN Carry advocates have done…This just goes to show you that government is to big..And the Paramilitarization of Law enforcement needs to stop…As much as I don’t agree with all of what the Black Panthers are about…They showed the Pro2@ community that problems with civil rights still exisit…

    5. So they were warned of the law and chose to violate it anyway, because they didn’t agree with it. To be sure, some people with power pass laws that they shouldn’t, but until their enforcers refuse to uphold it, you have to respect it. I’d much rather spend my money fighting a bad law than having it tied up in Bail.

      1. not all laws enacted are legal… and in such cases, the correct course of action is to ignore the law as null and voi,d of no effect. The cops did theirjob, and seems well done.. the demonstrators did well in not resorting to violence. I believe this group SHOULD sue.. they now “have standing” as they suffered an immediate and personal harm.. they had their private possessions taken under colour of law, and unrightly so. I’m sure LE did their due dilligence and have determined none were in unlawful possession. If so we’d have heard about it.

        GOvernment HAVE no compelling interest to make special laws prohibiting what otherwise would be legal.. if an individual can lawfully walk into that space armed, then two can, or ten, or a thousand. Our right to peaceably assemble remains inviolate.
        And if a regular guy walking alone, cannot enter that apace armed, there is another issue.

        I was a part of a demonstration of a couple thousand after Bloomburg bought us a new background check law… Almost all were armed, we were on public property, at the state Capitol. State patrol were everywhere, uniformed and plainclothes, and we were pretty certain some frd agents were as well. No one was the slightest bit on edge. The Staters were real friendlu, having a good time… a pretty cush duty for them. They KNEW nothing strange was going to happen. And they were right. (in the two years since that Bloomburg law went into effect, there has not been one prosecution under it… and there has not been a signficant increase in background checks, either. Just like i COlorado, a stupid antigun law has been ignored, to no consequence.

        This one should be, too… and they SHOULD file suit, as their rights WERE unlawfully denied.

        Now, a completely separate issue… the rban on face coverings…. mixed feelings about that. Nome Alaska, fine. But North Carolina? Not so sure. Being identifiable in public has its merit…. being masked does as well, IF you’re up to no good. I don’t have much of a problem with the no masks policy. I DO have a problem with the no guns policy.

      1. These aren’t the original Black Panthers from the 60s and 70s. Like the “New Black Panther Party”, this is a more overtly racist and hostile group invoking the Black Panther name for recognition purposes.

        It’s worth noting that many members of the original Black Panthers (and in some cases their heirs) have publicly denounced these groups, and also that the New Black Panther Party in particular is considered a hate group by the SPLC (which generally doesn’t see a leftist group it doesn’t like).

    6. during news conferance at a COURT HOUSE..??? IM WHITE i cant even take a 3 1/2″pocket knife to a court house. cant wear a Mask in one either..and im not proposing a armed revolution.. theres enough problems in the country with billionaire Democrats starting all the BLM. anti Trump Anti abortion etc mass riots and chaos. hows about just one protest at a time

    7. Could be argued that the black panthers are a terrorist organization I suppose. Other than that, I don’t see any legal standing to disarm them.

      1. @John Miller, Bobby Seals and his Black Panther party are the reason that the Gun Control Act was passed by Congress. Kennedy was assassinated, and nothing happened. MLK was assassinated, and nothing happened. Bobby Seals and the Black Panthers marched up and down Pennsylvania Ave with loaded shotguns, shouting “By whatever means necessary. ” ; Congress passed the GCA in record time. Look it up, John, it is history.

        1. Not just the GCA of 1968 – pretty much any gun control law passed from Reconstruction onward was driven by fear of armed black men. It’s no coincidence that many “may issue” concealed carry permit laws date from an era that also featured racially segregated drinking fountains and bathrooms.

    8. All Americans not in custody should be allowed and encouraged to go armed everywhere. If you look at California’s history since the Mulford Act, it is now almost impossible for the most law abiding among us to go armed anywhere, giving criminals a victim rich environment

      I personally have an issue with masks, but the government shouldn’t regulate that either

    9. “I personally have an issue with masks, but the government shouldn’t regulate that either.”
      Many people wear masks every day of their lives.

      1. In the past month, out and about i public, I’ve seen TWO individuals wearing something like a smal surgical mask, not certain whether to keep MY germs out, or keep THEIRS in, but they were easily enough identifable by the remaining facial “real estate” plainly visible. A very few also wear them in public during high pollen seasons… same as above pplies.

        I am not accustomed to seeing normal folks out and about wearing full face masks, except at Halloween. maybe New Year’s, and then mostly in private settings.

        I fail to see your “many people wear masks” meme as bieng valid.

        I must admit I have carefully considered the wearing of certain types of makeup designed to foil facial recognition softward used with surveillance cameras in public places…. but I mostly don’t go into such areas anyway. Gummit have NO NEED to know I was there.
        But in a large gathering such as this one,. wearing masks is I believe, inapropriate.

        1. Well I must say I think all these posts are a mute point. As considering the second amendment let’s be real clear heat unless we as a nation are willing to defend our inalienable rights. They will not be upheld withstanding any government in power. Hence as we the ppl are our own governing power which brings up many issues as a nation and our liberties it will most likely be verified to the point we will have to rise as a free ppl in order to restore our rights as a governing citizen or citizens.a democracy is designed to fail. And as a preserving power ours has fallen long ago but our citizens refuse to recognise this they pander about as slaves and liberated idiots like we are a really free nation but we are not and have not been for a very long time but till everyone actually wakes up it will perpetuate forward as we are. Until the citizens see the irony in what we are doing or all our rights are eliminated which will end in the start of a very bad war between the powerful who control and the poor who should only as sheep. Any way none of us exist to those in power in any country as the big military industrial complex exists as the one big machine keeping international control over all citizens and giving them a self righteous feeling if peace but then again what is real peace or freedom for that matter.i ts different for everyone.so I say be happy in a world ee live in as long as we have the ability to pursue happiness and the things that make us as individuals happy and pleased.

    10. Many of us remember when the racist, violent Black Panthers insulted, threatened, and angered whites in the San Francisco bay area in the 1960’s and 1970’s. They were, and are, anti-white terrorists – not defenders of blacks or “the people”. A lot of anti-whiteism comes from blacks and Latins not having good jobs, neighborhoods, homes, and lives. If parents and teachers would be intelligent, caring, respectable, and effective, and young people would study in schools, learn how to speak, write, and live maturely, get a high school diploma, learn a professional career or trade, and get a good-paying job, they wouldn’t be so angry, and use whites as scapegoats for their problems. Also, blacks have the option of moving back to Africa, just as Latins have the option of moving back to their countries, and whites have the option of moving back to Europe. If I was black, had not studied in school, had not gotten a high school diploma, had not learned a professional career or trade, and did not have a good job, home, and life, I would learn a professional career or trade and create a good life – or move back to Africa instead of being angry in America. We must become mature, and legally and peacefully do what works for our success and happiness in the society we live in.

    11. So they have laws against black men wearing mask at demonstrations but not white men wearing hoods.
      I can’t find any stories about police forcing the kkk to remove their hoods. This seems racist.

      1. @Nick D, in answer to your question,probably not. The North Carolina statue, just from the article, language sounds like it was directed towards the KKK, but the date of the statute would be telling.

    12. Obviously the reason people wear masks is to prevent being recognized. Government agencies and the police want to be able to identify those who threaten, are violent, and commit crimes, so they’re against masks. If you believe in your cause, and you have courage, why wear a mask? Masks make people look dangerous and criminal – not trustworthy and supportable.

    13. Great writing brother David Cordea. They weren’t breaking any laws because of our constitution. The laws infringing on bearing arms and assembly must be protected. I hate many of the things the Panthers stand for but that is not the point. They, We the people, have these inalienable rights!!!! We conservative and libertarians should stand with this issue not to be confused with what the Panthers stand for. It’s a no brainier and I am a Pistol Packin Pentecostal Preacher. Masks is another issue. I am just addressing arms and assembly. I believe we should be able to carry responsibly ANYWHERE in the USA no exceptions and we would be more safe and very much aligned with the USConstitution and Thomas Jefferson who carried almost every where he went as he had the right. We have the states defying the Federal laws about marajuana and I say we Bible thumpers should also defy the Feds and preach in the schools. I have been put out of schools for just sharing the words of Jesus. We the church started the school system as well as the prison system and most of the legal system that this country was founded upon. My points are not the topic of your writing but yet they are exactly in line with the principles of carrying arms. My fellow preachers fought and died for our revolution of individual rights to rule. The government works for us. I am tired of being looked at like I am a criminal when I carry my gun and bible wherever I go. Parents can tell their children what they should or should not believe concerning any religion if they wish. Just as long as their religion does not rule over their free will and try to rule over another religion. True Christianity says you don’t have to believe like I do but you can’t rule my right to believe and speak. This was what our country was founded upon. I respect but disagree with other religions such as Buddahism, Hinduism, and Atheism. They do not force converts. I do not respect Islam because their Bible says anybody that does not become Muslim then they are the enemy and must be destroyed. Of course not all Muslims believe all that is in their bible the Koran or they all would be out to destroy the USA. I am saying even if the panthers who desire to pack arms have their rights as long as they don’t try to rule over my will. Again we Americans are a potpourri of people but can live together if we abide by our US Constitution and if not then as the Native Indians say Love it or give it back!

    14. My Virginia county (isle of wight county) has as ordinance that says I may never ever camp on my own farm unless I apply for and receive a commercial campground permit, for $1,350.00. I don’t care what kind of law they point to, it does not make it right nor constitutional!

    15. There are numerous restricted areas that prohibit the civilian population from having firearms, including Concealed Carriers. Courthouses, schools, hospitals (at least in SC), most government buildings, etc. Theses laws have been on the books for decades, maybe more. The sheriff’s dept sent copies of local and state statutes to the BP leaders in advance…not sure I see the issue. Unless you plan to challenge all restrictions on where you cannot carry a weapon, how can you contend the temporary seizing of these weapons due to the violation of existing laws is unconstitutional?
      Don’t get me wrong, Indon’t want the govt in my business any more than the next guy. I’m a firm believer in the 2nd amendment and always carry. But in this instance…I understand why the Sheriff did what he did.

    16. I seem to remember, from a case I read years ago that there is case law on this (marching/demonstrating while armed) going back to the 1800s. A law prohibiting this was found constitutional. Of course, that could be reversed……

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