Legislation has been introduced to the House of Representatives to demilitarize the police.
Reps. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) and Raúl Labrador (R-Idaho) said the Pentagon’s 1033 program, which arms local law enforcers with surplus military equipment, goes too far to put the tools of war onto America’s streets.
“Our nation was founded on the principle of a clear line between the military and civilian policing,” Labrador said in a statement. “The Pentagon’s current surplus property program blurs that line by introducing a military model of overwhelming force in our cities and towns.”
The proposal is designed to scale back the transfer of equipment from the Pentagon to local police departments, including high-caliber weapons, sound cannons, grenades, grenade launchers and certain armored vehicles.
The proposal has attracted at least 17 co-sponsors, including Reps. Jim Moran (D-Va.), Justin Amash (R-Mich.) Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) and John Conyers (D-Mich.), senior Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee.
The militarization of our law enforcement is due to an unprecedented expansion of government power in this realm. It is one thing for federal officials to work in conjunction with local authorities to reduce or solve crime. It is quite another for them to subsidize it.
Americans must never sacrifice their liberty for an illusive and dangerous, or false, security. This has been a cause I have championed for years, and one that is at a near-crisis point in our country.