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Ear to the Ground

Local Police Receive War’s Leftover Arms

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Posted on Jun 9, 2014

Photo by OregonDOT (CC BY 2.0)

As the wars overseas draw to something like a close, it’s not just battered GIs that come home. “The former tools of combat—M-16 rifles, grenade launchers, silencers and more—are ending up in local police departments, often with little public notice,” Matt Apuzzo writes at The New York Times.

Apuzzo writes:

During the Obama administration, according to Pentagon data, police departments have received tens of thousands of machine guns; nearly 200,000 ammunition magazines; thousands of pieces of camouflage and night-vision equipment; and hundreds of silencers, armored cars and aircraft.

The equipment has been added to the armories of police departments that already look and act like military units. Police SWAT teams are now deployed tens of thousands of times each year, increasingly for routine jobs. Masked, heavily armed police officers in Louisiana raided a nightclub in 2006 as part of a liquor inspection. In Florida in 2010, officers in SWAT gear and with guns drawn carried out raids on barbershops that mostly led only to charges of “barbering without a license.”

Read more here.

—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

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