DearColleague.us

Letter

Sending Office: Honorable Henry C. “Hank” Johnson, Jr.
Sent By:
Adam.Gagnon@mail.house.gov

The Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act of 2019 (H.R. 1714)

Co-sponsors (70): Adams, Amash, Barragán, Bass, Beatty, Beyer, Blumenauer, Cicilline, Clark, Clarke, Clay, Cleaver, Cohen, Cummings, Davis (Danny), DeFazio, DeGette, DeSaulnier, Eshoo, Espaillat, Evans, Fudge, García (Chuy), Gomez, Green
(Al), Grijalva, Haaland, Hastings, Jayapal, Johnson (Eddie Bernice), Kaptur, Khanna, Lawrence, Lawson, Lee (Barbara), Levin (Andy), Lewis, Lofgren, Lowenthal, McClintock, McCollum, McGovern, Meeks, Meng, Moore, Nadler, Norton, Ocasio-Cortez, Omar, Pallone
Jr., Payne, Pocan, Pressley, Raskin, Roybal-Allard, Rush, Schakowsky, Scott (Bobby), Scott (David), Serrano, Speier, Takano, Thompson (Bennie), Tlaib, Tonko, Veasey, Velázquez, Waters, Watson Coleman, and Wilson (Frederica)

Dear Colleague:

Please join me in becoming a co-sponsor for the bipartisan legislation, the
Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act of 2019 (H.R. 1714)
. This bill would end transfers of certain aggressive military equipment to local
law enforcement in order to preserve the important distinction between our military and our police.

In 2017, the New York Times reported that
President Trump planned to fully restore the Pentagon’s excess property, or “1033 program.” Under

this program
, the Department of Defense has transferred
over $6 billion
in excess military equipment—often from war zones overseas—to our streets. A large number of small towns have even been given tank-like Mine Resistant, Ambush-Protected vehicles (MRAPs). Others have received grenade launchers and high-caliber
rifles. Even
campus police
have received advanced equipment and weaponry.

In 2015, a series of police-involved shootings brought national attention to the proliferation of military-grade weapons and vehicles in the hands of community police forces in Ferguson, Missouri, and elsewhere. Our founders did not intend for a standing
army to patrol our streets, a disturbing reality that James Madison once described as “one of the greatest mischiefs that could possibly happen”. Under the 1033 program, America’s streets are looking more like they are patrolled by an army rather than police
forces.

As a result, President Obama issued an Executive Order to ensure that police forces did not resemble occupying forces. President Trump

reversed
President Obama’s policies in August 2017. I introduced legislation to codify these and other commonsense efforts in order to prevent the transfer of these weapons to local police organizations. Specifically, the
Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act would:

  • Prevent transfers of equipment inappropriate for local policing, such as military weapons, long-range acoustic devices, grenade launchers, weaponized drones, armored military vehicles, and grenades or similar explosives.
  • Require that recipients certify that they can account for all military weapons and equipment. In 2012, the weapons portion of 1033 program was temporarily suspended after DOD found that a local sheriff gifted out army-excess “Humvees” and
    other supplies. The bill would prohibit re-gifting and requires recipients to account for all DOD weapons and equipment.

Our neighborhoods need to be protected, but Americans and our founding fathers oppose blurring the line between police and military personnel. Before another small town is transformed into a war zone with gifts of grenade launchers and high caliber rifles,
we must reign in this program and revisit our view of the future safety of American cities and towns.

Please join me in cosponsoring the Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act (H.R. 1714).

If you have any questions about the bill, please contact Adam Gagnon at adam.gagnon@mail.house.gov.

Thank you and very sincerely yours,

Henry C. “Hank” Johnson, Jr.

Member of Congress

Related Legislative Issues
Selected legislative information: Armed Services, Civil Rights, Government, Homeland Security, Judiciary
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