Activism Government Justice

ACLU: Why Do the West Springfield Police Have Two Grenade Launchers?

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ACLU poses the question on its Facebook, prompting users to learn about this troubling national defense program.

* Before the turn of the millennium, the West Springfield Police Department received two M79 grenade launchers and seven M14 rifles through a Department of Defense program known as the 1033 program. This allowed the Secretary of Defense to transfer excess DoD equipment and supplies to state and local law enforcement agencies.

* The rifles and grenade launchers were obtained by the department in the late 90’s, at no cost – shipping or otherwise. The weapons were acquired with M651 military tear gas cartridges.

* West Springfield was the only department that received grenade launchers. Chief Ronald P. Campurciani said they have never been used in the field nor will they ever be. “I cannot think of a scenario where we would employ those weapons.”

With “no intention of using the grenade launchers”, Campurciani said they are locked up in an all-metal room within the armory, away from other weapons. Let’s hope they stay there.


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