CHANTILLY, Va. (WDVM)– A new bill in the Senate could keep law enforcement from using tear gas on peaceful protesters.
The bill was brought forth by Senator Tim Kaine and will require federal law enforcement agencies to set policies related to the use of riot control agents. The policies will require officers to avoid using agents such as tear gas on non-violent protesters.
Senator Kaine (D-VA) said, “When violence is already occurring the use of tear gas can often be a preferable way to deescalate violence then frankly using tasers, or other weaponry. In instances where violence is already occurring tear gas can help de-escalate violence but what we tried to do is draw a clear line.”
The legislation would also require state and local law enforcement agencies to implement such policies and comply with them in order to receive funds under the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program and other Department of Justice programs.
According to Kaine, the JAG Program is the leading federal source of criminal justice funding for states and localities. In the current fiscal year, Congress appropriated $484 million for the JAG Program.