The National Guard troops, riot gear and armored vehicles have us taking a deeper look at the use of military-like force by police in Ferguson, Missouri.
Local police have to get that equipment from somewhere and many times it is passed down to them from the military.
Back in June, the Congress voted against an amendment that would have prevented the military from distributing some of the heavy weapons and vehicles we've seen used in Ferguson to police forces.
The amendment failed by a wide margin.
The Washington Post tallied the votes. Only 62 house members were in favor while more than 300 voted against the proposal.
But, with the use of force by police in Ferguson coming under criticism those votes could be swayed in the other direction the next time this topic comes up in Congress.
We want you to join the conversation about Ferguson and the tactics police are using on protestors.
“One of the great things about the United States has been the ability to maintain a distinction between the military and domestic law enforcement,” President Barack Obama said at a news conference Monday. “That helps preserve our civil liberties. That helps ensure that the military is accountable to civilian direction. That has to be preserved.”
He explained how communities reexamined equipment needs following attacks on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.
“And some of that has been useful,” Obama said. “Some law enforcement didn’t have radios that they could operate effectively in the midst of a disaster. Some communities needed to be prepared if in fact there was a chemical attack and they didn’t have hazmat suits.
The President expected that there might be a bipartisan effort to take another look at how grant money is spent by local law enforcement.
“Having said that, I think it’s probably useful for us to review how the funding has gone,” Obama said. “How local law enforcement has used grant dollars to make sure that what they’re purchasing is stuff that they actually need. There is a big difference between our military and our local law enforcement and we don’t want those lines blurred. That would be contrary to our traditions.”
Regarding the National Guard's presence in Missouri, the Associated Press compiled a list of common questions: