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senate Bill S. 2694

Should it be Easier for Local Law Enforcement to Buy Surplus Military Gear?

Argument in favor

Criminals arm themselves as heavily as possible and police need to do the same to protect the communities they serve. Military equipment like armored cars will save lives by offering better protection, and even grenade launchers can be used with non-lethal ammunition to end disputes.

operaman's Opinion
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07/15/2016
It's possible that Military equipment may be used incorrectly, but isn't it better than just leaving it on the battle field for our enemies to pick up. And we're talking $Billions of taxpayer money. ISIS may have more US Military equipment then our own solders. So keep our local PD and Sheriff departments equipped for our protection. I'm sure local terrorist/thugs will be more respective. Taxpayer dollars stayed home. The only Congressman not voting for passage of this bill certainly might be terrorist supporters.
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Kris's Opinion
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07/15/2016
Why not, they have to combat criminals with illegal weapons.
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Louis's Opinion
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07/15/2016
In today's world, police need to be able to defend us using whatever means is necessary. If there's a mass shooter or multiple shooters, officers need militarized vehicles, armor and weaponry to safely neutralize the threat. We saw in the North Hollywood shootout way back in 1997, what happens when under-equipped police officers face a couple heavily armored and equipped thieves.
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Argument opposed

Local cops don’t need armored vehicles and grenade launchers, so the federal government should continue to withhold military equipment like that which otherwise would be used by police. Such equipment makes police seem like an occupying force in their communities.

GreenestGeneration's Opinion
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07/15/2016
The police are not at war with the citizens of this country. They should not be armed for war against us.
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Laurens's Opinion
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07/16/2016
Giving police force and law enforcement stronger weapons and military grade equipment when they can barely use the current equipment properly is a horrible idea. Law enforcement needs a lot of retraining and policy changes to ensure they can effectively protect all citizens. More gear doesn't help that.
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Joseph's Opinion
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07/15/2016
We need to stop the militarization of local police forces. It enforces a disconnect between the police and the people they are supposed to serve. Now if only someone would introduce legislation to get rid of some of the ridiculous laws that police are pushed to enforce (loose cigarettes, bootleg CD's/DVD's, etc), which lead to the deaths of American citizens, maybe we could heal the divide between the public and the police.
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What is Senate Bill S. 2694?

This bill would undo an executive order issued by President Obama that restricts local law enforcement from buying surplus military equipment from federal agencies. It would enable law enforcement to purchase equipment like armored vehicles, large caliber guns, grenade launchers, and riot gear by lifting the current restrictions. The legislation would also allow for equipment that was recalled or seized after being provided to local law enforcement to be returned at no cost to the agency as soon as practical.

President Obama’s executive order prohibits or restricts local law enforcement from using federal grant funds to purchase certain surplus military equipment through the 1033 program. Law enforcement agencies must comply with rules about collecting and retaining “controlled equipment” to purchase things like armored vehicles, riot gear, or drones. Under the executive order armored vehicles with tracks, weaponized vehicles, guns and ammunition that’s .50 caliber or higher, and grenade launchers are prohibited for police department purchase.

Impact

The general public; local law enforcement; and federal agencies that withheld or seized military equipment that otherwise would’ve been provided to local law enforcement.

Cost of Senate Bill S. 2694

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-Depth: Sponsoring Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) introduced this bill to lift restrictions on purchases of certain types of military equipment by local law enforcement agencies. In a letter to President Obama dated June 28, 2016 Toomey noted that such equipment helped put a stop to recent terror attacks, and that even the Obama administration has conceded that the restrictions have an impact on terror response:

An Administration Report acknowledged the federal equipment being withheld “enhances the safety of officers,” that local law enforcement “rely on Federally-acquired equipment [for] hostage rescue [and] response to threats of terrorism” — as at Orlando and San Bernardino — and not having such equipment “can have life-threatening consequences, both for the law enforcement personnel and the public they are charged with protecting.”

In a speech on May 18, 2015 President Obama explained his reasoning behind the executive order restricting the sale of surplus military gear by federal agencies to local law enforcement:

“We’ve seen how militarized gear can sometimes give people a feeling like there’s an occupying force, as opposed to a force that’s part of the community that’s protecting them and serving them. We’re going to prohibit some equipment made for the battlefield that is not appropriate for local police departments.”

This legislation has the support of five cosponsors in the House, all of whom are Republicans.



Media:

Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: Flickr user OregonDOT)

AKA

Lifesaving Gear for Police Act

Official Title

A bill to ensure America's law enforcement officers have access to lifesaving equipment needed to defend themselves and civilians from attacks by terrorists and violent criminals.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The house has not voted
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
    IntroducedMarch 16th, 2016
    It's possible that Military equipment may be used incorrectly, but isn't it better than just leaving it on the battle field for our enemies to pick up. And we're talking $Billions of taxpayer money. ISIS may have more US Military equipment then our own solders. So keep our local PD and Sheriff departments equipped for our protection. I'm sure local terrorist/thugs will be more respective. Taxpayer dollars stayed home. The only Congressman not voting for passage of this bill certainly might be terrorist supporters.
    Like (16)
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    The police are not at war with the citizens of this country. They should not be armed for war against us.
    Like (118)
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    We want cops not soldiers
    Like (58)
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    Stop militarizing local law enforcement
    Like (52)
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    Giving police force and law enforcement stronger weapons and military grade equipment when they can barely use the current equipment properly is a horrible idea. Law enforcement needs a lot of retraining and policy changes to ensure they can effectively protect all citizens. More gear doesn't help that.
    Like (32)
    Follow
    Share
    We need to stop the militarization of local police forces. It enforces a disconnect between the police and the people they are supposed to serve. Now if only someone would introduce legislation to get rid of some of the ridiculous laws that police are pushed to enforce (loose cigarettes, bootleg CD's/DVD's, etc), which lead to the deaths of American citizens, maybe we could heal the divide between the public and the police.
    Like (30)
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    HELL NO! My gosh, do we not all realize the incredible harm that militarization has done already???? And it kills me that all the "small government" people are into this type of law. This is the ultimate form of oppression and it should absolutely not be allowed.
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    The entire police force of Germany fires less than 200 bullets in an entire calendar year. Police can be effective without military equipment--more firepower will only lead to more incidents.
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    No. Police are police not military.
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    Why not, they have to combat criminals with illegal weapons.
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    No, we need to stop militarizing the police. We also need to stop militarizing federal agencies that aren't the military. Why does the FDA or the IRS have this stuff in the first place?
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    In today's world, police need to be able to defend us using whatever means is necessary. If there's a mass shooter or multiple shooters, officers need militarized vehicles, armor and weaponry to safely neutralize the threat. We saw in the North Hollywood shootout way back in 1997, what happens when under-equipped police officers face a couple heavily armored and equipped thieves.
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    Some people here are talking about: 1) other countries. These mentioned countries don't have the douche-baggery going on in the streets the way we do here in the USA. 2) the training of the military versus the training of the police. The police are doing the job and fighting the war, daily! Military isn't always in theater, whereas the police force is. 3) the police isn't at war with the citizens. I agree. But when box trucks, IEDs, military grade weaponry starts killing cops and citizens... You will look back at this vote and think otherwise. 4) Overpowered? No. In the military we use an escalation of force method. Police can fight fire with fire up to a M4. Anything above that, they will not have the ability to effectively fight back. .... So, in summary. Do not demand a stable and secure country, and then turn around and limit the way in which it is provided. If the Police forces of America want these tools, then give it to them. After all, it is them on the line protecting you, the citizen.
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    Donald Rumsfeld once said in regards to the Iraq War, “As you know, you go to war with the army you have, not the army you might want or wish to have at a later time.” As he said this, insurgent forces fighting against us were using IED’s to attack, maim, and destroy our forces. Insurgent forces were doing this because they knew they couldn’t go blow for blow with us, so they attacked and exploited our weakness. I use this as an example to make this point. If we deny our police the means in which to defend themselves, which subsequently affects their ability to protect us, how long before do you think criminals and terrorists both alike will go on an offensive which our men and women in BLUE will not be able to stand against? You see it already, almost every day, the attacks and the carnage on our streets perpetrated by people who are loaded to bear and to cause as much damage and inflict as many casualties as they can. Anybody who has ever been in a street fight knows, if the person attacking you brings a weapon, you bring a bigger weapon.
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    Our police need to be armed with the same weapons bad guys have. We must offer them ballistic protection if they are to be effective. Get rid of Obama to protect our police.
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    Against the citizens of the US? This is ludicrous
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    In a time of increasing unrest and the availability of high powered rifles in the .50 cal range Readily available I would want the police to have every advantage they can.
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    The National Guard has been Federalized (taken from the States) and now is being disarmed leaving our States vulnerable , our county's and States need a strong defense system and it is not in the presidents authority to reach in to States and County's 🙂
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    If we treat our police like a military, they will act like a military. I do not think our police should be at war with our own people.
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    Hello!!!! Any of you see what happened to them in Dallas against someone with military gear?
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