Senator Rand Paul will reintroduce legislation to strip out the transfer of armored vehicles and lethal weapons to local police forces from the Department of Defense. The original bill was crafted by the retiring Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn. Passing this legislation will be a significant test for Paul and Tea Party candidates writ large. The cynic in me tells me that many who ran on the promise to cut spending will find that promise hard to keep. My complaint in this case is the legislation does it go far enough. It should prohibit the transfer off all DOD surplus equipment. It makes little sense to fund local police forces out of the already too small defense budget. If equipment is truly surplus let the DOD auction off non lethal gear.
In the last session support for Coburn's bill collapsed under intense pressure from police unions. Are police unions best suited to determine how a community is to be policed? While one can sympathize with police officers in their struggle against the likes of Bill de Blasio and Barack Obama it does not follow that they have cart blanche to circumvent the constitutional prohibition against a standing army.
In the House, Georgia Democrat, flaky Hank Johnson vows to introduce his version of the bill.