CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – State Representative J.A. Moore (D) on Wednesday pre-filed a bill in the State House that would prohibit state and local law enforcement agencies from purchasing certain military-style weapons.
The bill would ban the purchase and use of the following items by state or local law enforcement agencies:
- Weaponized unmanned aerial vehicles
- Aircraft that are configured for combat or are combat-coded and do not have an established flight application
- Grenades or similar explosives or grenade launchers from a surplus program operated by the federal government
- Armored multi-wheeled vehicles that are mine-resistant, ambush-protected (MRAPs), configured for combat, from a surplus program operated by the federal government
- Weaponized tracked armored vehicles
- Firearms of .50 caliber or higher
- Ammunition of .50 caliber or higher
Agencies that wish to use such items would be required to apply for a waiver from the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED). Those waiver requests “must be limited to special weapons and tactics unit or other equivalent unit use only.”
Units requesting the waivers must be able to demonstrate ” that the continued use of the item that is the subject of the waiver request has a bona fide public safety purpose.”
Agencies that are already in possession of such items may continue to use them while the request is pending.
Law enforcement would be allowed to confiscate the prohibited items during a criminal investigation, but those items would have to be “disposed of at the conclusion of any investigation.”
The bill does not prohibit agencies from buying the following:
- Armored high-mobility multipurpose-wheeled vehicles (HMMWVs)
- Personal protective equipment
- Naloxone or other life-saving medication
The bill is currently in the House Judiciary Committee.