07.21.20

TODAY: Senate to Vote on Amendment on Stopping Police Militarization

Senator Baldwin Cosponsors Amendment to NDAA That Limits Transfer Of Certain Military Equipment to Local Police Departments

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the U.S. Senate is set to vote on an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that is cosponsored by U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) to limit the transfer of certain surplus military-grade equipment to local law enforcement agencies across the country. The amendment, introduced by Senators Brian Schatz (D-HI), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Kamala D. Harris (D-CA), and Rand Paul (R-KY), places limitations on the Department of Defense’s 1033 program which authorizes the federal transfer of military equipment to state and local law enforcement agencies.

The bipartisan amendment will prohibit the transfer of military equipment to law enforcement agencies, including tear gas, armor-piercing firearms and ammunition, bayonets, grenade launchers and grenades, combat tracked vehicles, and drones. This prohibition only applies to offensive equipment and does not prohibit the transfer of defensive equipment, such as body armor.

“When people exercise their 1st Amendment rights, we shouldn't turn their neighborhoods into battlefields by providing military weapons of war to local police,” said Senator Baldwin. “I’m pushing for this amendment to the NDAA because militarizing police departments doesn’t make our communities safer.”

Reports have shown that police militarization fails to reduce rates of violent crime or change the number of officers assaulted or killed. Instead, arming police departments with military equipment has led to an increase in officer-involved shootings and civilian deaths.

The amendment is also cosponsored by U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Patty Murray (D-WA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Tom Udall (D-NM), Tina Smith (D-MN), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Chris Coons (D-DE), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Ed Markey (D-MA), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).

The amendment has broad support from more than 60 organizations, including the NAACP, the National Urban League, FreedomWorks, R Street, and the American Conservative Union, among others. A full list of endorsing organizations is available here.