Lawmakers Trying to make it Harder for Local Police to buy Military-Grade Equipment
Assembly members Todd Gloria (D-San Diego) and David Chiu (D-San Francisco) introduced a bill in February that aims to prevent California police departments from obtaining military-grade equipment without the explicit approval of the local government. Assemblymember Gloria stated,
This bill helps further the impression that a police department is there to serve. That’s a very different objective than national defense
Under Assembly Bill 3131, any police department that wants military-grade equipment would have to receive explicit approval from a city council or other local governing body. The bill also requires the state attorney general’s office to create a list of police departments that have military-grade equipment across the state. In 2014, then President Barack Obama curtailed a Department of Defense program that allowed the military to distribute surplus armored vehicles, grenade launchers and large-caliber weapons to local police. This was in response to complaints about police militarization during protests that year in Ferguson, Missouri. However, President Trump announced the revival of the program last summer, because he believes that police need the equipment to do their jobs. We will have to wait and see if the bill passes and if there will be any objection to the bill.