As Police Get More Militarized, Bill In Congress Would Make Owning Body Armor Punishable By Up To 10 Years In Prison
from the only-the-police-can-be-militarized dept
We’ve been writing an awful lot lately about the militarization of police, but apparently some in Congress want to make sure that the American public can’t protect themselves from a militarized police. Rep. Mike Honda (currently facing a reasonably strong challenger for election this fall) has introduced a bizarre bill that would make it a crime for civilians to buy or own body armor. The bill HR 5344 is unlikely to go anywhere, but violating the bill, if it did become law, would be punishable with up to ten years in prison. Yes, TEN years. For merely owning body armor.
Honda claims that the bill is designed to stop “armored assailants” whom he claims are “a trend” in recent years. Perhaps there wouldn’t be so much armor floating around out there if we weren’t distributing it to so many civilian police forces… Not surprisingly, the very same police who have been getting much of this armor are very much in favor of making sure no one else gets it:
Honda said it has been endorsed by law enforcement organizations including the California State Sheriffs’ Association, the Fraternal Order of Police and the Peace Officers Research Association of California, according to Honda.
Santa Clara County’s District Attorney Jeff Rosen and Sheriff Laurie Smith and Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley and Sheriff Gregory Ahern also attended today’s news conference, held at the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office in San Jose.
Santa Clara police Chief Michael Sellers and Milpitas police Chief Steve Pangelinan also attended the news conference.
That all sounds great. But when you read stories about police shooting unarmed teenagers, pointing guns at protesters and reporters, even threatening to kill or shoot them, isn’t there at least a reasonable argument that people who are doing perfectly legal things might want to protect themselves from out of control, militarized police officers too? Owning a gun is perfectly legal, but owning a “ballistic resistant” shield gets you 10 years in jail?