President Obama’s order barring local police departments from getting tracked armored vehicles, weaponized aircraft and high-caliber weapons from the U.S. government may have little impact on the ground on the overall “militarization” of law enforcement, reports NPR. An analysis showed the vast majority of the military-style equipment distributed through the Defense Department’s “1033” program would still be available to local agencies. The banned equipment represented a minuscule portion of equipment already in the hands of police.
All 84,258 rifles, including assault types such as M16s and battle types such as M14s, that were distributed to police departments would still be made available to local agencies. These rifles fall below the .50-caliber threshold whose distribution now is banned. “Tracked armored vehicles” are now banned, but very few of 1033’s mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles (or MRAPs) distributed to local agencies had tracks. In fact, nearly 87 percent of them have wheels. The new rules prohibit “weaponized aircraft,” but few of the aircraft that have been distributed have weapons. Bayonets and grenade launchers are prohibited; 6,635 bayonets and 175 grenade launchers were handed out from 2006 through March 2015.