NJ moves to regulate acquisition of military items

Municipal police departments seeking surplus military equipment from the Pentagon would have to get approval from their local governments under a bill moving through New Jersey’s Legislature.A state Senate panel approved the legislation Thursday. It also approved a related bill that would have the state attorney general oversee the program.

The measures stem from the demonstrations after the August fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, when police there used former military equipment during patrols.

New Jersey has received $50 million worth of military equipment through the Defense Department program, according to lawmakers. Local governments currently don’t have to approve acquisitions through that program.

The bill gives the public a voice in deciding whether police departments should have weapons such as M14s or M16s, said state Sen. Nia Gill, D-Essex.

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