Dear Representatives Stanton and Fitzgerald,
I am writing on behalf of the members of the Fraternal Order of Police to advise you of our support for H.R. 3269, the “Law Enforcement Innovate to De-Escalate Act.”
Under current law, conducted energy devices—a tool that provides an electric shock aimed at temporarily disrupting muscle functions—and other less-than-lethal devices are categorized as firearms. However, in practice, these devices are very different in both their use and purpose. Less-than-lethal technology is designed to end a physical threat in lieu of using deadly force—a firearm. Federal law should recognize the difference as well.
The legislation you have introduced will create a new definition by using the term “less-than-lethal projectile device” in Federal firearms law. These devices are those which are not designed or intended to fire a projectile at a velocity exceeding 500 feet per second and that is “not likely to cause death.” This new definition will also be applied for tax purposes.
Law enforcement is investing more and more in training and technology to reduce the number of fatal incidents when apprehending suspects. Conducted energy devices and similar devices are part of these efforts, and redefining these important tools will increase their availability and use in the field.
On behalf of the more than 367,000 members of the Fraternal Order of Police, I thank you for your leadership on this issue. If I can provide any additional information about this bill, please do not hesitate to contact me or Executive Director Jim Pasco in our Washington, D.C. office.