Hagerty, Sinema Introduce Bipartisan Legislation Supporting Increased Use of Non-Lethal Weapons for Law Enforcement

May 8, 2024

Bipartisan bill would allow law enforcement officers to use new non-lethal technologies to de-escalate interactions

WASHINGTON—United States Senators Bill Hagerty (R-TN) and Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ) introduced the bipartisan Law Enforcement Innovate to De-Escalate Act, legislation strengthening public safety by ensuring law enforcement officers can access new non-lethal weapons, such as tasers and stun guns. Introduction of the legislation comes in advance of National Police Week.

“It is crucial that police officers are equipped with the best available technology to keep Americans safe,” said Senator Hagerty. “Our brave law enforcement officers put their lives in danger every shift, and I’m pleased to introduce this legislation that will ensure they have access to the most effective tools to de-escalate dangerous situations.”

“Law enforcement officers put their lives on the line to keep our communities safe,” said Senator Sinema. “Our bipartisan bill gives them the tools to de-escalate tense conflicts without endangering officers, citizens, and uninvolved bystanders.”

The Law Enforcement Innovate to De-Escalate Act will amend the statutory definition of a “firearm” established by the Gun Control Act by codifying the distinction between modern less-than-lethal projectile devices – such as tasers – from lethal firearms.

Hagerty and Sinema’s bipartisan legislation establishes the legal definition for a “less-than-lethal projectile device” through a two-part test conducted under the supervision of Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. A less-than-lethal projectile device must:

  • Not be designed or intended to expel a projectile at a velocity exceeding 500 feet/second.
  • Be designed in a manner that is not likely to cause death or serious bodily injury.

Hagerty and Sinema’s legislation would give law enforcement the resources they need to responsibly crack down on crime. Differentiating tasers from traditional firearms is a necessary step to further incentivize the use of non-lethal weapons to de-escalate a situation in a manner that protects both law enforcement officers and community members.

This bill is endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), Hispanic American Police Command Officer Association (HAPCOA), Major County Sheriffs Association (MCSA), Major City Chiefs Association (MCCA), and the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE).