Police departments can still purchase military-grade weapons and armored vehicles, but they won't be coming from the federal government. President Obama on Monday announced a ban on a wide range of military-style equipment that, for years, has been made available to local police departments across the country through federal programs.
Equipment no longer funded or provided by federal government
Armored vehicles that run on a tracked system instead of wheels
Weaponized aircraft or vehicles
Firearms or ammunition of .50-caliber or higher
The federal government also is exploring ways to recall some newly-prohibited equipment that was already distributed.
Images of heavily-armed police responding to the protests in Ferguson, Missouri last year initiated a debate about the federal programs that put military equipment in the hands of local police. An interagency group found "substantial risk of misusing or overusing" items like tracked armored vehicles, high-powered weapons and camouflage could undermine the public's trust in police.
Military equipment in Minnesota police departments
Minnesota law enforcement agencies have acquired nearly $10 million in supplies through the Department of Defense Surplus Equipment Program since 2007. Rifles and handguns account for much of the supplies, but a grenade launcher is listed to Anoka County and mine-resistant vehicles worth hundreds of thousands of dollars have been acquired by 7 agencies.
Anoka County explained that the grenade launcher is actually a single-shot gun that deploys chemical munition rounds, not exploding shrapnel grenades used in warfare. The last time one of these guns was used was in 2009 in Ham Lake, Minn. to deal with a barricaded suspect who fired shots at his former renters, responding deputies and a K9.