NEW HANOVER COUNTY — Two of 10 guns seized from the Revolutionary Black Panther Party on the steps of the New Hanover County Court House on Sunday have been confiscated, one as stolen and another due to a domestic violence statute, according to the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office.
The group last week had announced an armed march planned for Wilmington on Sunday, starting in Creekwood. On Sunday, the group instead met downtown, at the courthouse, to announce legal action against District Attorney Ben David and Police Chief Ralph Evangelous, who had both stated their intentions on upholding a North Carolina law that prohibits the carrying of weapons while protesting.
Revolutionary Black Panther Party founder Dr. Alli Muhammad called the statute “unconstitutional” in an open carry state.
The press conference ended and shortly after, deputies marched onto courthouse grounds, along with Wilmington police. Deputies then seized 10 firearms.
Members of the Revolutionary Black Panther Party were in violation of local county ordinance section 38-31 by possession of a weapon where it is posted “The Display of Firearms and Possession of Concealed Handguns Prohibited on this Property (the courthouse),” New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office Spokesman Lt. Jerry Brewer said on Sunday.
Deputies also had members who were wearing masks at the gathering lower their mask due to North Carolina state law prohibiting the wearing of mask at meetings or demonstrations, he said.
Revolutionary Black Panther Party members retrieved their weapons from the sheriff’s office at 7:30 p.m. Monday. However, Brewer said two of the weapons were confiscated by deputies.
The two weapons not released by the sheriff’s office were a Smith & Wesson Shield 9 mm handgun, which was reportedly stolen, and a Taurus .44-magnum revolver.
“One of the weapons was reported a stolen weapon from Wisconsin and the other weapon was not returned to the owner due to an active domestic violence protection order against him in Wisconsin, therefore he can’t be in possession of a weapon,” Brewer said.