Trump plans to lift ban on military hardware for police departments

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is expected to announce the new policy Monday when he makes a speech at the national conference of the Fraternal Order of Police in Nashville, Tennessee.
By Laurel Kornfeld | Aug 30, 2017
Armored vehicles, grenade launchers, riot shields, and other combat weaponry and gear will be available to police forces across the United States after President Trump issues an anticipated executive order lifting restrictions on police use of military equipment. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is expected to announce the new policy Monday when he makes a speech at the national conference of the Fraternal Order of Police in Nashville, Tennessee.
The Trump administration's plan is to restore the 1033 program, under which the Department of Defense had been transferring surplus military equipment to police units. The program began in 1990 exclusively for anti-drug police forces but expanded in 1997 to all police nationwide.
The Obama administration declared many military weapons off-limits to police acquisition under the program in 2014 in the wake of the Ferguson riots. Trump's order will declare Obama's three-year-old restrictions null and void, according to an administration summary that states that Trump's order will restore "the full scope of a longstanding program for recycling surplus, lifesaving gear" from DoD.
"Assets that would otherwise be scrapped can be re-purposed to help state, local and tribal law enforcement better protect public safety and reduce crime," reads an administration summary.
Trump expressed support for more police access to military hardware in last year's election campaign. The Fraternal Order of Police and some local law-enforcement agencies have also called for rescinding the Obama restrictions, arguing that they need to enhance their arsenals to quell unrest in their communities.
But civil-rights organizations such as the NAACP insist that the restrictions are necessary to prevent further violence. The NAACP's Legal Defense Fund issued a statement warning that Trump's upcoming executive order could set the stage for more deaths in minority communities from police firearms.

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