Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) criticized the Trump administration’s announcement Monday that it would remove restrictions instituted by former President Barack Obama on the flow of military equipment to local law enforcement.
In a press release, Paul also announced legislation prohibiting the transfer of some military equipment to local law enforcement (read an outline of the legislation below).
“It is one thing for federal officials to work with local authorities to reduce or solve crime,” Paul said in a statement Monday, “but it is another for them to subsidize militarization.”
He added: “Any order that comes today still needs to be funded, and I will bring this issue to the Senate floor, including through reintroducing my Stop Militarizing Our Law Enforcement Act.”
The restrictions were put in place following the heavily militarized police presence during the protests in Ferguson, Missouri after the police killing of unarmed teen Michael Brown. “There is a big difference between our military and our local law enforcement and we don’t want those lines blurred,” Obama said in August 2014, nearly a year before he announced the restrictions.
On Monday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced to the Fraternal Order of Police’s national convention that Trump would sign an executive order rolling back Obama’s restrictions, as he had promised to do on the campaign trail.
Paul, who called for the demilitarization of local police forces during the Ferguson protests in 2014, used many of the same points to criticize the Trump administration on Monday. The weapons-sharing program began in 1990 as part of the federal war on drugs, the Associated Press noted Monday. Eventually, the equipment was used as part of the war on terrorism, and local law police departments’ increasingly militarized responses to street demonstrations.
Read an outline of Paul’s proposed legislation, included in his press release Monday:
This post has been updated.