CONCORD, N.H. (Nov. 23, 2015) – A New Hampshire legislative study committee continues to consider a proposal that would drastically limit the impact of federal programs militarizing local police.
During the 2015 legislative session, Rep. J.R. Hoell introduced HB407. It would have prohibited state and local police departments from acquiring military vehicles or equipment not readily available in an open national commercial market.
Instead of passing the bill, the legislature amended it and formed a study committee to further consider the issue. The committee has met twice. Once it completes deliberations, it will issue a formal report that will heavily influence future policy decisions.
Hoell has drafted a new piece of legislation for the 2016 session. It would effectively stop state and local law enforcement from obtaining most types of military equipment available through the federal 1033 Program. It would also stop state and local law enforcement agencies from purchasing such gear with federal grant money. The bill bans acquisition of any gear not available on the open market.
“No state agency of political subdivision of the state shall acquire, purchase or otherwise accept for use any military-equipped vehicle or military-grade hardware, including but not limited to armored personnel carriers, Title II weapons, unmanned aerial vehicles or unmanned ground vehicles, unless such military grade vehicle or hardware is readily available in an open, national commercial market.”
Essentially, the bill would prevent police from obtaining any equipment unavailable to the general public. This would exclude most military-grade gear.