Legislation Introduced to Help End Police Militarization

Press Release

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Kamala D. Harris (D-CA), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and Rand Paul (R-KY) introduced an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to limit the transfer of certain surplus military-grade equipment to local law enforcement agencies across the country. The Harris-Schatz-Murkowski-Paul amendment places limitations on the Department of Defense’s 1033 program which authorizes the federal transfer of military equipment to state and local law enforcement agencies.

The amendment will prohibit the transfer of military equipment to law enforcement agencies, including tear gas, armor-piercing firearms and ammunition, bayonets, grenade launchers and grenades, combat tracked vehicles, and drones. This prohibition only applies to offensive equipment and does not prohibit the transfer of defensive equipment, such as body armor.

“It is time for our country to reimagine public safety in our communities. Arming police officers with military weapons will not make us safer. Safe communities are healthy communities, and achieving healthy communities will require us to re-evaluate spending decisions, de-militarize local police departments, and invest in education, mental health, access to health care, job training, and affordable housing. That’s why I’m proud to join my colleagues to introduce this amendment, which will discontinue the practice of providing military weaponry to local police departments,” said Senator Harris.

“Weapons of war don’t belong in our local police departments and should never be used against the American people,” said Senator Schatz. “As we see our communities turning into what looks more like a war zone, it’s clear that we need to fix this. There is a growing bipartisan consensus that giving local law enforcement military equipment such as bayonets, grenade launchers, armor-piercing bullets, and tear gas is immoral and does nothing to keep people safe.”

“One of the policies I examined closely while the Senate was discussing police reform legislation was the ‘1033’ program, which permits the Department of Defense to sell certain items to local law enforcement. Nobody I spoke with thought a police department needed things like grenade launchers, armored drones, or bayonets. Police should be there to serve the community, and there is no need for military-grade combat equipment to be on the streets of our cities in order to do that,” said Senator Murkowski. “This policy change will restrict some sales, while continuing to allow the ones that make sense.”

“Our bipartisan amendment, based on my Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act, which I have introduced for several years with Senator Schatz, confronts the federal militarization of our local police departments by preventing the Defense Department from transferring military weapons, including grenade launchers, bayonets, and weaponized drones, meant for war overseas to local police. It would do this while also ensuring officers still have access to protective equipment so they can do their jobs as safely as possible. I urge the Senate to pass this long-overdue reform,” said Senator Paul.

Reports have shown that police militarization fails to reduce rates of violent crime or change the number of officers assaulted or killed. Instead, arming police departments with military equipment has led to an increase in officer-involved shootings and civilian deaths.

18 COMMENTS

  1. Before any of you start working yourself up into an air clawing rage…. just remember that the NDAA was originally put into existence during the Obama era. This is progress. Antioch might be a different story compared to places like Minneapolis and New York, but the truth remains: we don’t need military convoys on the streets to keep it safe; we need to start reinvesting in the pillars of society we’ve since defunding, including education, health, drug rehabilitation, etc.

      • Iskra, I just love hearing bleeding hearts cry that “blacks are disproportionally arrested and jailed” when it is they who commit a disproportionate percentage of the crimes. Another group cries over them being disproportionally punished in schools. So, this means, if a black is disruptive repeatedly then the teacher must pick a white kid and punish him s well even though he didn’t do anything. That is what the leftturds call “justice.” Luckily, there were no blacks in the schools I attended, so we never had such problem. Our daily classes were not disrupted.

      • I like having the police militarized! It gives me a sense of security and why shouldn’t it? With so much of the criminal element moving into these parts, we need more, better trained and much tougher police and the best equipment they can get their hands on and the military makes the best and police can get it for free. Can’t beat a better deal.

    • The proposed legislative change by Ms. Harris et.al is more political gesturing than something that will bring substantive change. The transfer of surplus military-grade equipment has nothing to do with funding of education etc.

      Maynard, your hyperbole is showing as usual: modern policing does not consist of “military convoys on the streets.” But, occasionally, police DO have to respond to bad guys who are armed with military grade “assault weapons” and explosives. That is the unfortunate reality of our world.

  2. I’m a person with liberal views, but I think excluding armor-piercing firearms is a big mistake. We got to many pro-second amendment NUT JOBS running around, targeting our schools.

  3. Hey Wait, the problem with your point is that a statement/ desire like yours is too broad. Also, I think what you meant to say is that you want to exclude armor piercing ammunition? There’s no such thing as firearms that only shoot armor or non armor piercing rounds. I think you may have it the other way around. Just like you would get a screwdriver and not a hammer to drive a screw, you pick the right ammunition (tool) for the application. “Armor piercing” is dependent on the composition of the bullet, not the firearm. “Armor piercing” ammunition is such that it’s core is iron, steel, brass, bronze, tungsten alloy, beryllium copper, or depleted uranium. Non-armor piercing ammunition is lead core. Effective July 1, 2019, nonlead ammunition is required when taking any wildlife with a firearm anywhere in California as per Assembly Bill 711. Quite the catch 22, isn’t it? With the limitation argument, the ruling will be too exclusive and therefore a 2A infringement. By the way, all rifle rounds regardless of core can pierce body armor.

  4. We need for our police to be MORE militarized, not less. Kamala Harris, who doesn’t have a black cell in her body, is total nutcase.

  5. First, I have never seen any of those items listed as being received by a police department. The only things I have seen (Retired LEO) are an armored vehicle for SWAT use when needed to rescue officers or citizens during threat of firearm use, or a night vision goggle for surveillance or maybe a ballistic helmet. I mean grenade launcher, bayonet…who the hell has those items. This is all political folks.

  6. There is a huge misunderstanding here. Police Departments will have to go out and spend millions on some equipment they are allowed to get now for near no cost. Otherwise it would not be affordable. One such is APD’s MRAP. This armored wheeled vehicle has no weapons, is not an offensive weapon or vehicle. This is an armored rescue defensive vehicle. It protects Officers serving warrants, confronting armed suspects, or the most important, allowing Officers to move in to rescue victims or people in harms way of active shooters. Without this type of protection, victims will have to be left where they fall until adequate protection can be found or the shooter or threat is neutralized.

    I agree, there is no need or room for Police Departments to have armed vehicles, armed drones, bayonets, explosive grenades, or other military weaponry.

    Most rifle ammunition is armor piercing and can be bought anywhere.

    People are so quick to cut money from the police departments, but yet not willing to accept it when their police department can no longer perform the way they did before.

    Sucks, that one bad seed or event brings down aN entire respectable profession. This country is a mess!!!

  7. Kamala the 1%er in the primaries and not 1% black is trying to be black because as a prosecutor she put a lot of blacks in prison. Uncle Joe needs some street cred and she’s not it.

    • Remember how Harris, the San Francisco DA, handled the Tony Bologna and his two sons’ murders by an El Salvadorian illegal? Ramos should have gotten the death penalty for wiping out that family. She refused to have him prosecuted to the full extent of the law. I hope that returns and bites her in the ass. I’m making sure that President Trump’s people have that information IF crazy Biden attempts to secure her as VP.

      • I, too, hope that “crazy Biden” does not choose Harris as a running mate. However, the fact remains that “crazy Biden” has one undeniable positive attribute: he is NOT Trump.

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