117 Colleges Now Have Military Equipment: Report
Including grenade launchers, armored vehicles
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Sep 13, 2014 3:25 PM CDT
Some 117 colleges have received powerful weapons through the federal 1033 program.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – It's not just municipal police forces that have obtained military-style weaponry through a federal program: Modified grenade launchers and M-16 rifles are on college campuses, too, the Chronicle of Higher Education reports. The publication finds that 117 colleges have received equipment thanks to a federal system called the 1033 program. The program, which lawmakers and President Obama are reassessing following events in Ferguson, Mo., provides the equipment to colleges for free; the educational institutions just have to pay the shipping costs, the Chronicle notes.

The University of Central Florida has a modified grenade launcher intended to shoot tear-gas canisters; Hinds Community College, in Mississippi, also has a grenade launcher. At least 60 schools have M-16 assault rifles, and Ohio State has an armored vehicle. The 1033 program "is a force multiplier for us," says the head of both Florida State's police and an international campus police group, citing understaffing. "We are not given budgets comparable to some large cities and municipalities, so we need to find ways to make it reach." But other campus figures question the system; click for the Chronicle's full report.