Here’s a cross-section of military-weaponry and equipment distributed to law enforcement:

  • 7,091 trucks ($400.9 million); 625 mine-resistant vehicles (421.1 million); 471 helicopters ($158.3 million); 56 airplanes ($271.5 million); and 329 armored trucks and cars ($21.3 million);
  • 83,122 M16/M14 rifles (5.56mm and 7.62mm) ($31.2 million); 8,198 pistols (.38 and .45 caliber) ($491,769); and 1,385 riot 12-guage shotguns ($137,265);
  • 18,299 night-vision sights, sniper scopes, binoculars, goggles, infrared and image magnifiers ($98.5 million); 5,518 infrared, articulated, panoramic and laser telescopes ($5.5 million);
  • 866 mine detecting sets, marking kits, and probes ($3.3 million); 57 grenade launchers ($41,040);
  • 5,638 bayonets ($307,769) and 36 swords and scabbards.

A few examples of the local and regional law enforcement weaponry largess:

In Florida, the state highway patrol received 1,815 M16/M14 rifles (5.56mm and 7.62mm), plus six military-armored vehicles, three Mine Resistant Vehicles, and three Complete Combat/Assault/Tactical Wheeled Vehicles.

In California, we found 18,794 DOD transactions transferring weaponry including nearly 7,500 trades involving M16/M14 rifles.  The University of California at Berkley accepted the delivery of 14 M16 rifles. Yet that paled in comparison to the 1,105 M16/M14 rifles (5.56mm and 7.62mm) and two mine-resistant vehicles acquired by the Los Angeles County Sheriff.

In Washington, D.C., the Metropolitan Police procured 500 M16 rifles – which is half of what the entire state of New Jersey received in rifles. The DC Metro Transit police have also followed a federal procurement process to obtain 134.5 lbs. of C4, TNT, potassium chlorate, semtex (plastic explosive), and other explosives over the next nine years.

Many small towns across America received military weapons. Granite City, IL (pop. 29,375) received 25 M16 and M14 rifles (5.56mm and 7.62mm), plus a military-armored truck and a robot for ‘explosive ordinance disposal.’ Lacon, IL (pop. 1,853) received six .45 and .38 special pistols, five M16/M14 (5.56mm and 7.63mm), and a 12-gage ‘riot’ shotgun.

Many of the DOD weapons transfers have a questionable law enforcement purpose. In Illinois, the Department of Natural Resources received 174 M16 and M14 rifles. Why? To enforce hunting laws?

1033 Program Distribution By Year

On the battlefield of war, a bayonet in hand-to-hand combat is tactically used to bleed-out your enemies.  So, exactly what is the legitimate law enforcement purpose for DHS, ATF, FBI, DEA, and local police departments to obtain thousands of military-bayonets?

Our data shows 5,638 bayonets were sent to other federal law enforcement agencies or local police departments. Homeland Security (DHS) obtained 3,905 bayonets at 15 locations – with DHS Customs and Border Protection in El Paso, TX receiving 3,260 of those bayonets. The Justice Department (DOJ) secured 682 bayonets delivered to 16 locations of the ATF, FBI, and DEA. To his credit, President Obama recognized this disconnect and signed an executive order prohibiting the transfer of bayonets starting in 2016.

It’s no secret the American people are distrustful of our political class, and rightly so. But transparency can help restore trust by giving people the information they need to hold elected officials accountable.