NEW PORT RICHEY (FOX 13) – Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco said he hopes the federal government will give a second thought to ordering police agencies return some surplus military equipment given out under a long-standing Department of Defense program.

The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office says it returned 159 assault rifles after the order. The agency says it was planning to give back the guns anyway.

Other military equipment they have, like armored vehicles, can be kept because they were attained under a different program.

Across the country, the Obama administration is taking back tracked armored vehicles — similar in appearance to tanks but without cannons or guns — grenade launchers, and bayonets from police agencies. The move is a result of an executive order last year aimed at demilitarizing police. Some of the orders to return the equipment have been received as recently as December.

A Department of Defense spokeswoman says they have not asked for rifles back, but several police agencies who spoke with FOX 13 said they returned the guns.

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