One major component in the bill — sponsored by Sen. Mike Barrett, D-Lexington — provides new transparency and oversight to the purchase of military weapons by local, county and state law enforcement.
After Ferguson, Barrett said, Americans learned that local law enforcement agencies routinely take advantage of massive federal sales and donations of equipment and gear that would otherwise be too expensive for municipal budgets. Deployment of this material occurs disproportionately in communities of color.
“For Massachusetts, the issue is not academic,” Barrett said. “Many cities, towns and regional organizations are heavy users of these federal programs.”
Barrett’s measure is designed to increase state and local accountability for the acquisition of “military-grade controlled property,” like assault rifles and mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicles.