Tags: Hank Johnson | Raul Labrador | military | police

Bill Would Limit Transfer of Military Gear to Police

By    |   Tuesday, 16 Sep 2014 10:30 PM

Two members of Congress are trying to stop the military from arming local police forces with high-caliber weapons, grenade launchers, armored vehicles, and other surplus equipment.

Reps. Hank Johnson, a Georgia Democrat, and Raúl Labrador, an Idaho Republican, co-sponsored a bill called the Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act of 2014, which would limit how much military equipment finds its way to the local law enforcement level.

"Militarizing America's main streets won't make us any safer, just more fearful and more reticent," Johnson said in a press release. "Before another small town's police force gets a $750,000 gift from the Defense Department that it can't maintain or manage, it behooves us to press pause on the Pentagon's 1033 program and revisit the merits of a militarized America."

Added Labrador: "Our nation was founded on the principle of a clear line between the military and civilian policing. The Pentagon's current surplus property program blurs that line by introducing a military model of overwhelming force in our cities and towns. Our bill would restore the focus of local law enforcement on protecting citizens and providing due process for the accused."

As part of the law, the government would have to cease transferring "equipment inappropriate for local policing, such as high-caliber weapons, long-range acoustic devices, grenade launchers, armed drones, armored vehicles, and grenades or similar explosives."

The bill also proposes to end current incentives that mandate police forces to use the equipment within one year of receiving it. It also would prevent recipients of equipment from giving it to someone else.

Under the 1033 Program, the Pentagon currently donates used military equipment — everything from mine-resistant vehicles to high-powered rifles — to police forces across the country at no charge.

Several other members of Congress have signed on to co-sponsor the bill.

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Two members of Congress are trying to stop the military from arming local police forces with high-caliber weapons, grenade launchers, armored vehicles, and other surplus equipment.
Hank Johnson, Raul Labrador, military, police
297
2014-30-16
Tuesday, 16 Sep 2014 10:30 PM
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