Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is criticizing President Trump’s decision to reopen military gear to local police forces.
The Trump administration and Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced on Monday an executive order to President Obama’s 2015 ban on the 1033 Pentagon program, which allowed local and state police to arm themselves with military equipment.
Paul, who also spoke against police militarization in 2014 after the shooting of Michael Brown and the Ferguson protests, said the reversal infringes upon the liberties of Americans, calling any feelings of security the move might bring “dangerous” and “false.” The junior senator announced the introduction of legislation that would limit the sale of military equipment to local and state law enforcement.
“It is one thing for federal officials to work with local authorities to reduce or solve crime,” Paul said, “but it is another for them to subsidize militarization.”
“Any order that comes today still needs to be funded, and I will bring this issue to the Senate floor, including through reintroducing my Stop Militarizing Our Law Enforcement Act,” he added.
Senator Paul’s legislation seeks to prohibit “the federal transfer of militarized equipment to state and local law enforcement agencies, including Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles, drones and armored vehicles.”
The prohibition would only apply to offensive equipment and would not “prohibit the transfer of defensive equipment, such as body armor.”
The legislation also orders the return of any equipment prohibited under the bill and would increase accountability by requiring the Defense Logistics Agency to “create a website that displays all of the property transferred under the 1033 program, as well as the state and local agencies who have received the equipment.”
Paul concluded by saying he will continue to fight for civil liberties and criminal justice reform.