The controversial 1033 program became a source of citizen outrage after images of police armed with military-grade weaponry, including grenade launchers and armored MRAPs, were beamed into people homes across the country during the battlefield-style police response to the rioting in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014.
As many Americans noted, Ferguson, Missouri looked like a war zone, with police kitted out in Marine-issue camouflage and military-grade body armor, toting short-barreled assault rifles, and rolling around in armored vehicles — virtually indistinguishable from US soldiers.
Shortly after the American public became widely aware, and largely outraged, over the extreme militarization of their local police forces, President Obama signed an Executive Order (EO) that blocked large-caliber weapons, armored vehicles, grenade launchers and other heavy military hardware from being repurposed from battlefields across the globe to small town USA.
Obama argued at the time, that police utilization of such weapons of war cast the police as an “occupying force,” and only served to deepen the divide between police and the community.
“We’ve seen how militarized gear can sometimes give people a feeling like they’re an occupying force, as opposed to a force that’s part of the community that’s protecting them and serving them,” Obama said in announcing the ban in 2015.
This was one of very few notable pro-liberty moves by the Obama administration, however, thanks to the Trump administration, it was overturned. And now, Biden has picked up where Trump left off and has expanded it.
Despite Biden and Kamala Harris paying lip service to police brutality and riding the waves of the Black Lives Matter movement during their campaign, the president and his vice president have refused to even meet with the group. This is also in spite of the fact that BLM formed a PAC, which helped fund its ad campaigns to mobilize Black voters to go out and vote for Biden.