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Rep. Gallego Seeks to Restrict Program That Provides Military Equipment to Police

June 1, 2020
Press Release

PHOENIX, AZ – Today, Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) said he would advance an effort in the House Armed Services Committee to restrict the Pentagon’s 1033 Program, which has provided over $6 billion of surplus military gear to over 8,600 federal, state, and local police departments since its inception.

“Local law enforcement officers shouldn’t be confronting civilians with weapons designed for combat,” Rep. Gallego said. A militarized police force makes our communities less safe and heightens the growing divide between police officers and the citizens they are sworn to protect. It also increases the likelihood that disproportionate or deadly force will be used, a problem that has led to these protests in the first place.

“Our neighborhoods aren’t warzones,” Gallego added. “As a combat veteran and proud Marine, very little of my equipment or training was relevant to policing Phoenix or any American community. And, as we’ve seen in a number of cities across America, when police officers and protesters have embraced instead of clashing, those connections encourage the human link between cops and their citizens that is the best way to preserve human life. It’s long past time to tailor this program to ensure that police forces focus on that connection between themselves and their people and are not incentivized to become an occupying force in their own communities.”

Rep. Gallego is a cosponsor of Rep. Hank Johnson’s bipartisan Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act and supported President Obama’s restrictions on the 1033 Program brought forward in Executive Order 13688. 

In 2017, President Trump effectively rescinded Executive Order 13688. That Order had resulted in recommendations on the prohibition and control of the transfer of certain kinds of military equipment, including armored vehicles, weaponized aircraft, riot control gear, and certain types of weaponry, firearms, and ammunition. President Trump’s undoing of those measures has set the stage for abuse of the 1033 Program and has allowed the problem of police acquisition of military surplus equipment and weaponry to fester.