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Oregon Lawmakers Curtail Use Of Military Surplus By Local Law Enforcement Agencies

Chris Lehman

Oregon lawmakers approved a bill Wednesday that would limit the use of military surplus items by local law enforcement agencies.


House Bill 2481 would prevent police from acquiring certain types of equipment from the military, including grenades and grenade launchers, firearms silencers, and certain types of aircraft such as armed drones.

The bill originally included a ban on taking surplus armored vehicles but law enforcement agencies lobbied against that, saying the vehicles are needed and the military surplus versions are much cheaper than buying them new.

Still, Sen. James Manning, D-Eugene, said the amended bill would help to differentiate civilian police officers from soldiers.

“Our law enforcement is there to protect and serve and not look like (the) 82nd Airborne Division or the 9th (or) Second Infantry Division,” he said. 

The bill passed the Senate 26-to-3 and now heads to the governor’s desk.


Chris Lehman has been reporting on Oregon issues since 2006. He joined the KLCC news department in December, 2018. Chris was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and graduated from Temple University with a degree in journalism. His public broadcasting career includes stops in Louisiana and Illinois. Chris has filed for national programs including “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.”
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