January 27, 2015
(COUNTERCURRENT) The militarized police response to Ferguson protests sparked a national debate about surplus military equipment being given to local law enforcement agencies.
Now, Tennessee State Sen. Brian Kelsey, R-Germantown, has filed legislation that would prohibit both state and local agencies from receiving, owning or using “certain military weapons, vehicles, and aircraft.”
The law, if passed, would effect existing inventories of military surplus gear which would have to be sold or disposed of by law enforcement agencies in possession of them.
Representative Kelsey said there needs to be a “clear separation between the military and police.”
In an interview with the Johnson City Press, he explained that “we can support both our police officers and our citizens by ensuring that our police officers are not viewed as the enemy.”
Some exemptions would exist under this proposal, including the ever-popular M16 and AR15 rifles, which nearly every police force in the nation is now equipped with.
It would, however, effect mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicles, which more and more local police departments are receiving and justifying under the most spurious of hypothetical pretexts.
The bill reads, “No law enforcement agency shall own or use a military vehicle, military aircraft, or military weaponry for any law enforcement purposes.”
While the bill has been introduced in the state Senate, it still needs a co-sponsor in the state House.