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Calif. bill would make it harder for LEOs to buy ‘military equipment’

Some of the weapons defined as “military equipment” under the bill includes armored and tactical vehicles and riot gear

By Police1 Staff

SAN DIEGO, Calif. — A California bill would make it harder for law enforcement agencies to purchase or acquire gear deemed as “military equipment.”

KSWB reports that Assemblyman Todd Gloria and Assemblyman David Chiu introduced the legislation Friday. The bill would require state and local LE agencies to submit public documents, participate in a public hearing and get approval from their local governing body before buying or acquiring weapons the bill defines as “military equipment.”

The lawmakers said the legislation is in response to President Donald Trump’s reversal of an Obama-era executive order concerning the 1033 program. In 2014, then-President Obama curtailed the program that allowed the military to distribute equipment to local police, the Los Angeles Times reports.

“State and local law enforcement are a public safety service, not an occupying force,” Gloria said. “Militarization is not necessary in order to keep our neighborhoods safe.”

Weapons defined as military equipment under the bill include armored and tactical vehicles, long-range acoustic devices and riot gear including batons, helmets and shields.

“Our streets in California are not war zones, and our citizens are not enemy combatants,” Chiu said. “Law enforcement in California are our partners in public safety. They are not military generals, and the weapons they carry should reflect that reality.”

Under the bill, LE agencies would need to submit a “military equipment impact statement” that describes each piece of equipment and its intended use. Agencies would also have to submit a “military equipment use policy” describing the equipment’s purpose and authorized uses.

In enacted, the bill would go in effect on Jan. 1, 2019. Agencies that currently possess the listed equipment will have to gain approval from their local government by May 1, 2019.