In response to a rash of killings of unarmed Black people, some law enforcement officials are using military jets to patrol hot spots that may be havens for criminals and terrorists.
The new policy has drawn scrutiny from the National Rifle Association (NRA), which claims the militarization of local law enforcement is undermining public safety.
The Obama administration has also taken steps to restrict gun ownership, including new background checks and new limits on gun purchases, even though gun deaths have declined dramatically since the December mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.
The policy has not been popular among the public, and the NRA is calling on lawmakers to change the law.
“We cannot have the president of the United States saying that it is OK to allow military equipment to be used for police protection,” NRA Senior Vice President Wayne LaPierre told MSNBC.
“That is not the kind of America we want.”
President Obama signed an executive order on January 12 that gave the Pentagon authority to purchase military aircraft for police use, but it did not authorize the Pentagon to purchase weapons from the military, according to a statement from the White House.
While there is some overlap between the federal government’s domestic law enforcement efforts and the federal militarization efforts, the military’s role in policing the nation’s biggest cities is not unique.
Some law enforcement agencies use military aircraft to patrol major metropolitan areas.
In New York City, the police department uses four of the most expensive planes in the world, according a New York Times article.
In addition, the Obama administration in 2014 expanded a $2.7 billion program to buy four F-15 fighter jets from Boeing.
The planes are the most costly in the US arsenal.
In addition, a Pentagon report released in April said the U.N. Security Council should consider creating a new arms embargo against China.
On Sunday, police officers in New York arrested a man who was wanted on a felony warrant for allegedly robbing a convenience store.
He had been in custody since last September and had not been arrested before Sunday, according the New York Daily News.
Authorities said he told them he was armed, had an automatic weapon, and had attempted to steal cash from a woman who worked at a Walmart in the Bronx.
“The suspect was arrested on the corner of Park Avenue and Broadway and faces multiple felony charges, including assault with a deadly weapon, possession of stolen property and robbery with a firearm,” a police source told NBC New York.
Investigators are trying to determine if the man was armed with a weapon during the robbery and if he was also seen carrying an automatic firearm.