>> US Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Monday telling the nation's largest police union that it will soon be easier for cops to get their hands on military hardware.>> Good equipment saves lives. The executive order that the President will sign today will ensure that you can get the life-saving gear you need to do your job and send a strong message that we will not allow criminal activity, violence, and lawlessness to become a new normal.
>> Scenes like this of armored vehicles rolling through American streets in the aftermath of civil unrest in cities such as Ferguson and Baltimore prompted a backlash against a program called 1033, which handed surplus military hardware over to cops. Here is Republican Senator Rand Paul responding in 2014.>> I think many of us were horrified by some of the images that came out of Ferguson.
We were horrified by seeing an unarmed man with his hands over his head being confronted by an armored personnel carrier.>> In 2015, the program was significantly scaled back.>> There is a big difference between our military and our local law enforcement, and we don't want those lines blurred.
>> But Donald Trump on Monday issuing an executive order lifting that ban, restoring the flow of armored vehicles and high-powered weapons to police. Trump has urged a more forceful response to crime, insisting police be given the leeway to fight crime as they see fit. Last month he appeared to encourage police to rough up people they arrest.
>> Please don't be too nice.>>
Like when you guys put somebody in the car and you're protecting their head, I said, you can take the hand away, okay?>> The White House later said the president was merely joking. Pro-police groups point acts of domestic terrorism, such as San Bernardino or the Pulse night club shooting in Orlando, as examples of where cops need military-grade equipment to protect themselves and the public.