WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Scott Fitzgerald (WI-05) and Congressman Greg Stanton (AZ-04) introduced the Law Enforcement Innovate to De-Escalate Act to ensure law enforcement departments across the country have access to the most effective less-than-lethal equipment on the market. This legislation modernizes the Gun Control Act of 1968 (GCA) by excluding “less-than-lethal projectile devices” from its definition of the term “firearm.”
Under the current reading of the GCA, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives’ (ATF) considers new models less-than-lethal equipment, such as TASER devices, to be classified as firearms due to the way an object is propelled, although they do not carry a substantial risk of serious injury or death. The current classification has made procurement of these devices, critical for self-defense and de-escalation, difficult for law enforcement. This also leads to the misclassification of police officers’ use of force, as the use of any firearm is considered “deadly force” by a majority of states.
“Law enforcement relies on less-than-lethal weapons to protect themselves in dangerous situations, said Congressman Scott Fitzgerald. Technology has progressed quickly and it’s important the law evolves to ensure departments across the country can access the critical equipment they need to keep us safe. I’m proud to co-introduce this bipartisan legislation.”
Read the bill here
Major County Sheriffs Association (MCSA), Major City Chiefs Association (MCCA), Hispanic American Police Command Officer Association (HAPCOA), National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE), Dennis Lemma, Sheriff Major County Sheriffs Association (MCSA), and Jerri Williams (Ret.) Police Chief Phoenix, Arizona, and Immediate Past President of Major City Chiefs