By Brian Miller
MAY 25, 2019
“Get the weapons of war off our streets!” This may sound familiar, as it’s often heard from those attempting to pass more gun control legislation. But what you don’t hear is that it’s simply untrue that “weapons of war” are available to the general public.
What is true is that you’d last about three minutes in a conventional war with an AR-15, even with one of the most aggressive builds you can get your hands on. The only people with “weapons of war” on America’s streets are, increasingly, the police.
Thanks primarily to the Pentagon’s 1033 program, which allows law enforcement agencies to get their hands on Department of Defense technology, and the Bush-era War on Terror, American police have received a startling amount of heavy-duty, military-grade hardware.
In fact, between 1998 and 2014, the dollar value of military hardware sent to police departments skyrocketed from $9.4 million to a startling $796.8 million.
As the police have militarized, focus has shifted from one who keeps the peace to one who enforces the law—an important difference.
Law Enforcement Officer vs. Peace Officer: What’s the Difference?
It’s a subtle, but important, distinction: Is the role of the police to enforce the law or to keep the peace?