Congressman wants to curb military surplus program

Ukrainian tanks roll to the base in Devhenke village, Kharkiv region, eastern Ukraine, Monday, July 7, 2014. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)
Ukrainian tanks roll to the base in Devhenke village, Kharkiv region, eastern Ukraine, Monday, July 7, 2014. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)

WASHINGTON (AP) – A Democratic congressman is introducing a bill to curb a Defense Department program that provides machine guns and other surplus military equipment for free to local law enforcement agencies across the country.

Rep. Hank Johnson of Georgia says his bill is a response to the death of an unarmed black teenager shot by a white police officer in a St. Louis suburb. The bill comes as members of Congress have called for the Justice Department to investigate the shooting in Ferguson, Missouri.

Johnson said city streets should be a place for businesses and families, “not tanks and M16s.” He said a 24-year-old Pentagon program that transfers surplus military equipment to local law enforcement has led to police agencies resembling paramilitary forces.

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