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Civil Rights Groups Ask for Moratorium on Defense 1033 Program Transferring Weapons

10/27/14

In a letter to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, a host of national and local criminal justice, civil rights, human rights, individual liberty, faith-based, and immigrants' rights organizations are urging the Department of Defense to impose a moratorium on the 1033 program as the Obama administration conducts an examination of federal programs and funding that provide state and local law enforcement with military weapons and equipment.

A letter to the Department of Defense‚Äôs Defense Logistics Agency, written by LDF and Texas Appleseed, which more than 20 education and civil rights advocacy organizations from across the U.S. have signed onto, has revealed newly discovered data which shows that 22 school districts in Texas, California, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Michigan, Nevada, and Utah are participating in the 1033 program, which provides military surplus to local law enforcement organizations. Texas school districts dominate the list of those participating in the 1033 Program, with at least 10 districts reportedly participating. Altogether, these 10 districts have received 64 M-16 rifles, 18 M-14 rifles, 25 automatic pistols, extended magazines, and 4,500 rounds of ammunition. Some of these Texas districts received armored plating, tactical vests, and military vehicles. In California, at least half a dozen school districts reportedly allow campus officers to carry high-powered rifles. Since that letter was written, districts in Florida, Texas, and California have returned weapons.