San Diego, CA – Local lawmakers drafted legislation that would restrict police departments’ access to what they have termed “military equipment.”
Democratic Assemblyman David Chiu and Assemblyman Todd Gloria created the bill which would require departments to ask permission to get “military equipment,” hold a public hearing so that people can oppose it, and then get majority approval from the local government, according to KSWB.
The bill’s definition of “military equipment” includes equipment not used by the military.
Included in the list of defined military equipment, is equipment that is generally used by a SWAT team, such as wall-breaching devices, explosives, and firearms that fire rounds of .50 caliber and greater.
Other items included in the list are necessities for large departments, including crowd control protective gear like helmets and shields, as well as long-range acoustic devices that agencies use to issue orders to crowds.
Some of the items on the list could be potentially life-saving such as bullet-resistant vehicles and drones which could be used in searches.
“Our streets in California are not war zones, and our citizens are not enemy combatants,” Chiu said, according to KSWB. “Law enforcement in California are our partners in public safety. They are not military generals, and the weapons they carry should reflect that reality.”
Gloria agreed, according to KSWB, saying, “State and local law enforcement are a public safety service, not an occupying force. Militarization is not necessary in order to keep our neighborhoods safe.”
If the law passes, it would go into effect Jan. 1 2019.
Law enforcement agencies who currently possess any of the listed equipment would not be grandfathered in, and would have to obtain special approval to keep their equipment or get rid of it by May 1, 2019.