Armored vehicles, helicopter gunships and .50 caliber machine guns may be on their way to your community. Pres. Donald J. Trump lifted an Obama-era ban on local, tribal and state law enforcement agencies purchasing military surplus equipment in a move that will have police ready for anything.
Former Pres. Obama stifled the long-standing practice of municipalities buying discounted military-grade equipment, vehicles and weapons that had prepared them for extreme emergencies, violent outbreaks, mass shootings, hostage situations and terrorist attacks.
Following the Ferguson, Missouri, riots that saw protestors destroy property, assault citizens and attack police, Pres. Obama sided with the violent uprising by banning things such as protective military body armor, assault vehicles and high-powered military weapons. He claimed that the appearance of military gear presented an unwelcome military image in American communities. The ban also prevented law enforcement from gaining decommissioned office equipment and vital technologies such as pulse weapons that can incapacitate a car driven by fleeing felons.
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions supported Pres. Trump’s move by pointing out that the Department of Defense program provided equipment that saved the life of a police officer during the Orlando Night Club massacre. Military surplus also provides helicopters and the type of emergency rescue vehicles being used to save lives as Texas struggles against Hurricane Harvey. The program, however, may also open the door to an unprecedented escalation of police firepower.
Items that may become available again through the program include high-powered weapons originally intended to combat drug cartels and terror attacks. These include:
- Armored Military Vehicles (Tanks)
- Grenade Launchers
- .50 Caliber Machine Guns
- Camouflage Uniforms
- Weaponized Aircraft and Vessels (Gun Ships)
The striking down of the Obama-era ban also reopens the door for law enforcement to purchase, at a discount, emergency gear that includes:
- Tactical and Command Post Vehicles
- Riot Helmets
- Riot Shields
- Riot Batons
- Explosive Pyrotechnics
- Breaching Apparatus
Border states such as Texas, which encounter heavily armed drug cartel members on a regular basis, had been participating in the Department of Defense-led program since its inception in the 1990s. They routinely cross paths with criminals firing AR-15s at them.
Although 448 Texas police departments had stockpiled a total of more than 3,000 assault rifles and 92 tanks, an extended ban would have put them at a tactical and life-threatening disadvantage against military-outfitted cartels thugs. Many police departments across the country relied on the program for SWAT tactical gear, intel gathering robots and night vision goggles.
It’s common knowledge that Pres. Trump is a military-supporting Commander-in-Chief who backs police departments. He also keeps a hawkish eye on fiscal responsibility. Buying military surplus allows municipalities to be better prepared and it saves them on tax-dollar spending. On the other hand, contemporary police departments will now bear a striking resemblance to SEAL teams.