Tear gas has been banned from the war by the Geneva Protocol but law enforcement still uses it against large crowds like the peaceful protestors who have been outraged by the death of George Floyd due to police brutality.
What We Know:
- The House Democrats, Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.), Mark Takano (Calif.), and Jesus Garcia (III.) are on the works for their proposal to ban chemical weapons such as tear gas.
- The United Nations passed the protocol in 1925 that prohibits the use of chemical and biological weapons in a war that causes asphyxiation of bacteriological methods of warfare against the people.
- The ban became effective in the U.S. in 1997 with a loophole that law enforcement was permitted to use in certain situations like, large crowds.
Tear gas is a chemical weapon banned in war.
It is a deep shame that US leaders chose to tear gas our own people last week. It should never, ever happen again.
This week I’m joining @RepMarkTakano & @RepChuyGarcia to introduce a National Ban on Tear Gas:https://t.co/95G7ugsA38
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) June 10, 2020
- Unfortunately, the use of chemical weapons increased due to the recent protests against police brutality.
- According to the CDC, prolonged exposure of tear gas can “lead to long-term effects such as eye problems including scarring, glaucoma, and cataracts”. The chemical weapon has also been linked to miscarriages and can also increase the risk of the coronavirus. The study comes from the U.S. military training exercises that decribed young soldiers contracting pneumonia, respiratory illnesses, and influenza.
- A recent case that sparked outrage took place in Seattle during a peaceful protest against a young girl being maced in her face. This has caused 14,000 complaints against the Seattle police.
- Many have extended their support towards the bill such as Rep. Nydia Velazquez.
Today's police forces look more like armies equipped with weapons of war. A fed'l program from the 1990s sends surplus military equipment to NYPD & other police. Today, I've introduced legislation to end this initiative once and for all. #BlackLivesMatter #EndPoliceViolence 1/3 pic.twitter.com/wLmYY6MnH6
— Rep. Nydia Velazquez (@NydiaVelazquez) June 10, 2020
Thank you. It should already be illegal to gas your own citizens. Behind you 100 percent.
— Robert Reich (@RBReich) June 10, 2020
- Under the draft bill, law enforcement agencies would need to surrender their tear gas and Justice Department’s Inspector General would conduct a yearly audit on police departments to confirm compliance.
Cities including Denver, Portland, and Seattle have temporarily suspended their use of chemical agents like tear gas. However, many states have not spoken about the use and their plan on suspending or ending. As to when the bill will be finalized and presented, there is no clear date but the lawmakers are working hard to get it on the floor.