On Monday, US Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the White House was eliminating all Obama-era restrictions on a controversial arms-transfer program, which allows domestic law enforcement agencies to purchase military surplus equipment.
Then-President Obama ordered restrictions put in place in 2015 after embarrassing photos emerged out of Ferguson, Missouri during high-profile police brutality protests. The photos featured heavily armed police in camouflage garb threatening protesters armed with cameras, leading to some confusion whether the pictures were taken in a US city or in one of the US’s many photogenic war zones.
President Obama responded to the mishap by establishing draconian restrictions on the surplus program, preventing police from purchasing even the most critical law enforcement tools like armored tanks, high-caliber weapons, grenade launchers, and bayonets (in case they come across any remaining redcoats on their patrol).*
Now, the Trump Administration has decided to roll back these restrictions. In his announcement, which was made in front of members of the Fraternal Order of Police, AG Sessions said that the Trump Administration “will not allow criminal activity, violence, and lawlessness to become the new normal.”
In response to confused looks and murmurs among the audience members after that line, Sessions quickly clarified that he was only opposed to lawlessness among civilians, not as a general principle.
Law enforcement officials and police union organizations were generally ecstatic about the news. One member of the Fraternal Order of Police was glad to hear that his department could once again purchase .50 caliber weapons, saying, “Today’s enemy is equipped with high-caliber cameras and we need our own high-caliber equipment to respond.”
That sentiment was echoed by Scott Truman, a spokesman for the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, who said he believed the new decision would improve the effectiveness of everyday policing, “You never know when you’re going to need a grenade launcher to break up a house party.”
*This is a satirical post. The explicit quote attributed to AG Sessions is real, but he did not offer any clarification to our knowledge. Subsequent quotes and sources are fictional.