CONCORD, N.H. (Dec. 14, 2015) – A bill prefiled in the New Hampshire House would prohibit state and local law enforcement agencies from obtaining most types of military hardware, thereby rejecting federal militarization of police officers.
Rep. J.R. Hoell and seven other representatives have prefiled House Bill 1402 (HB1402). The legislation would prohibit state and local law enforcement from acquiring military-equipped vehicles or equipment not readily available in an open national commercial market. This would eliminate most military gear, including armored combat vehicles.
Police departments would be required to forfeit any military-equipped vehicle or military grade hardware acquired in violation of the act.
The bill not only bans military equipment available through the federal 1033 Program, but would also prohibit police departments from purchasing such gear using grants offered by the Department of Homeland Security and other federal agencies.
In practice, the bill would prevent police from obtaining any equipment unavailable to the general public. This would exclude most military-grade gear.
“I have significant concern about the over-militarization of our police,” Hoell said. “Bringing equipment meant for the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, and handing it over to peace officers is not good news for liberty.”
FEDERAL SURPLUS AND GRANT MONEY
Through the federal 1033 Program, local police departments procure military grade weapons, including automatic assault rifles, body armor and mine resistant armored vehicles – essentially unarmed tanks. Police departments can even get their hands on military helicopters and other aircraft.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) runs…