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New Hampshire bill would end military-grade weapons in police hands

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Many police departments have received military-grade weapons and hardware from the Pentagon and other government programs, but a New Hampshire bill would ban any police departments within the state from receiving these weapons.

Bill 407 states only the “state guard… with the approval of the governor and council,” has the ability to receive military-grade weapons from the government. The bill continues by saying, “no state agency or political subdivision of this state shall acquire, purchase, or otherwise accept for use any military-equipped vehicle or military grade hardware…”

Any weapons or equipment which are readily available to the public however will still be able to be used by the affected government agencies and departments.

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Bill 407 would therefore make the Defense Department’s Program 1033 null within the state. Program 1033 allows the Department of Defense to transfer any excess of hardware in possession by the department to be transferred and distributed to law enforcement agencies across the U.S.

According to the Law Enforcement Support Office, since the inception of the program in 1997, about $5.1 billion worth of hardware has been given to police agencies across the country. In 2013 alone, about $450 million worth of equipment was given out to agencies.

The bill has already received wide-spread support within the state of New Hampshire as state representatives Michael Sylvia, Edmond Gionet, Bart Fromuth, and many more have co-sponsored the bill, according to the Tenth Amendment Center. Support for the bill within New Hampshire stretches across party lines as both Democrats and Republicans have co-sponsored the bill.

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