The federal government, under Section 1033 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1997 and other programs like the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) “Homeland Security Grant Program,” equips local police with military weaponry and other hardware to the tune of $1 Billion per year.
States can take action to nullify in practice these federal programs by simply withdrawing from them.
This page tracks two types of bills that states can consider. 1) Oversight 2) Prohibition.
The first would create a reporting system and a mechanism to stop the equipment transfers. This includes detailed reports of what equipment is being used and obtained, and for what specific purpose. These bills also include a mechanism that would prevent such equipment transfers without certain approvals. They could continue, but would be far less likely to do so. The second is an outright ban on the use of certain “military equipment” by law enforcement.
Which bill to introduce and support is a strategic question – we recommend working on one that can reasonably be passed in your state – with an opportunity to expand in the future, if needed.
No bill introduced in your state? Get the step 2 model legislation here. Then, look up contact information for your state rep AND senator – call them both and ask them to introduce.
Blue – Introduced. Yellow – Passed one or more Houses. Green – Passed both Houses. Purple – Law, Step 1. Red – Law, Step 2.