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H.R. 1694: Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act

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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Mar 9, 2021.

Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act

This bill restricts the Department of Defense (DOD) from transferring certain surplus military property to federal, state, or local law enforcement agencies.

Specifically, DOD may not transfer to such agencies specified property such as controlled firearms, ammunition, grenade launchers, explosives, certain vehicles or trucks, armored or weaponized drones, certain controlled aircraft, silencers, or long-range acoustic devices. DOD may waive this limitation and transfer certain vehicles or trucks if DOD determines that the transfer is necessary for disaster or rescue purposes or for another purpose where life and public safety are at risk.

As a condition for a transfer of allowable property, DOD must require the federal or state agency that receives the property to return the property if the agency is investigated by the Department of Justice for civil liberties violations or is otherwise found to have engaged in widespread abuses of civil liberties. DOD must also periodically submit certain transfer-related information and certifications to Congress.

Furthermore, as a condition for transfer, the recipient must receive the approval of its local governing body, provide specified notice to the local community, and submit specified information and certifications to DOD. A federal or state agency that receives controlled property under such a transfer may never take ownership of the property.

The bill also eliminates the requirement for DOD to give preference to transfers of property that will be used in counter-drug, counterterrorism, disaster-related emergency preparedness, or border security activities.