No longer will Montana’s state or subsidiary agencies be armed to the teeth with weaponized drones, grenades, armored vehicles, or many other warrior worthy wares from the federal government. That’s thanks to efforts that led to Governor Steve Bullock signing House Bill 330 (HB330) into law yesterday.
While the Pentagon’s “1033 Program” is the most well-known source of police militarization, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) also offers grants to sheriffs and other local police that are triple the value of 1033. Both of these sources, the 1033 transfers and DHS grants, are covered by Montana’s new law. If police desire military-grade, they’ll have to make a public request with 14 days notice for state and local funds to make the purchases in the open.
The only other similar bill signed into law was New Jersey’s weaker version. It requires an extra authorization from the local government before any equipment transfer under the Pentagon’s 1033 program.
Tenth Amendment Center’s Mike Maharrey said, “By making it a local decision, the New Jersey law is a great first step, but the Montana law takes things to the next level.” Maharrey continues, “It closes loopholes and covers almost all the bases. The next step would be to expand the equipment banned, and we’re hopeful that good people in Montana will work on that next session.”
Is this the beginning of the end for police militarization? Share your thoughts in the comments.