By Meredith Mays, Legislative Representative, IACP
he Commercial Equipment Direct Assistance Program (CEDAP) has been completely cut from the FY 2010 House of Representatives and Senate budgets and also from the President’s budget request. Since the program’s inception in fiscal year (FY) 2005, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has awarded thousands of grants to smaller jurisdictions who are not eligible for funding through the Urban Areas Security Initiative grant program. The program received $8 million in FY 2009, $17.6 million in FY 2008, and $33.7 million in FY 2007.
According to FEMA, CEDAP seeks “to enhance regional response capabilities, mutual aid, and interoperable communications by providing technology and equipment, along with the training required to operate that equipment, to law enforcement and emergency responder agencies in smaller jurisdictions and certain metropolitan areas.” http://www.fema.gov/government/grant/cedap/index.shtm
In the past, CEDAP grants have been used to purchase communications equipment, chemical detection sensors, thermal imaging tools, and personal protective equipment.
The IACP is strongly opposed to eliminating the CEDAP program and will work with Congress and the administration to fully restore it.
Nationwide Concealed Carry Legislation Introduced in Senate
Senator John Thune (R-SD) recently introduced S. 845, Respecting States’ Rights and Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2009. S. 845 would allow an individual to carry concealed firearms when visiting another state that allows the carrying of concealed weapons or the District of Columbia as long as the individual was entitled to carry concealed firearms pursuant to the laws of his or her home state. The visiting individual would be obligated to follow his or her home state’s laws regarding concealed carry and would also be obligated to follow the laws of the state they are visiting regarding concealed carry in specific types of locations.
The IACP is strongly opposed to this legislation. It is the IACP’s belief that states and localities should have the right to determine who is eligible to carry firearms in their communities. It is essential that state and local governments maintain the ability to legislate concealed carry laws that best fit the needs of their communities.
Specifically, S. 845 would do the following:
- Require states to allow a person to carry concealed weapons even if the person carrying the concealed weapon is barred from possessing guns under the law of the state in which they wish to carry. For example, Alaska allows adult residents of the state to carry a concealed weapon without a license or background check as long as they are allowed to possess a gun—even if they have committed violent misdemeanors, have committed misdemeanor sex offenses against minors, or are dangerously mentally ill and have been voluntarily committed to a mental institution. S. 845 would force every state to allow all Alaskans who are permitted to carry loaded, concealed firearms, including these criminals and dangerous mentally ill people, to carry concealed guns in every other state, even if that state completely bans gun possession by such persons.
- Undermine state concealed carry licensing systems by allowing out-of-state visitors to carry concealed firearms even if those visitors have not met the standards for carrying a concealed weapon in the state they are visiting. For example, some states require a person to show that they know how to use a firearm or meet minimum training standards before obtaining a concealed carry license. These states would be forced to allow out-of-state visitors to carry concealed weapons even if they do not meet that state’s concealed licensing standards.
New Legislation Seeks to Eliminate Crack/Powder Cocaine Disparity
Several bills were recently introduced in the House of Representatives that would amend the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) and the Controlled Substances Import and Export Act (CSIEA). H.R. 18, introduced by Representative Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD), seeks to remove the sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine, with regard to trafficking, possession, importation, and exportation of such substances, by lowering the minimum sentence for crack cocaine to the applicable sentence for powder cocaine.
H.R. 1459, introduced by Representative Robert Scott (D-VA), eliminates increased and mandatory minimum penalties for drug offenses involving mixtures or substances that contain cocaine base (that is, crack cocaine). H.R. 1459 also eliminates restrictions on judicial authority to grant probation or suspended sentences for certain cocaine offenses.
H.R. 1466, introduced by Representative Maxine Waters, requires approval by the Attorney General for prosecutions under CSA or CSIEA where the substance contained cocaine or cocaine base, in an amount less than 500 grams. H.R. 1466 also amends the CSA and the CSIEA by deleting the specified mandatory terms of imprisonment for the use and distribution of certain controlled substances.
IACP is opposed to any legislation that lowers the minimum sentence for the possession, importation, trafficking, and/or exportation of crack or powder cocaine. Rather, the IACP believes that a better solution to address the disparity between crack and powder cocaine would be to raise the minimum sentence for powder cocaine.
Each piece of legislation listed above is currently being considered in the House of Representatives. ■