U.S. Rep. Angie Craig unveiled a bill Wednesday that would make it easier for local police departments to purchase armored vehicles.

The Minnesota Democrat's legislation comes on the heels of a shooting earlier this year in Burnsville that killed police officers Paul Elmstrand and Matthew Ruge and paramedic Adam Finseth, who were responding to a domestic abuse call. First responders used an armored vehicle in the standoff to help rescue injured officers. The vehicle sustained 41 shots from a rifle that day while first responders went in to save other officers as well as the two officers and paramedic who had been fatally shot, according to Craig's office.

"We may have had even more injury, and God forbid death that day, without this vehicle," Craig said on the House floor Wednesday.

"Three months ago I stood on the House floor and pledged to honor Matthew, Paul and Adam's lives by giving the first responders who keep our community safe the support they need on the ground," Craig said of the three first responders who died in the shooting. "That's why today I'm introducing the Protect Local Law Enforcement Act, a bill that would allow local law enforcement to purchase vehicles like the one used in Burnsville with federal funds, which is currently restricted by the federal government."

Currently, law enforcement agencies that receive federal Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants (JAG) cannot purchase armored vehicles unless they certify the vehicles will be used exclusively for one of the following purposes: disaster-related emergencies, hostage and active shooter situations, search and rescue missions or anti-terrorism missions.

Once departments receive armored vehicles using federal funding, they can only be used for the sole purpose they specified, making it illegal for the vehicles to be used for another type of emergency.

Craig's bill would broaden law enforcement's ability to buy armored vehicles using federal funding by removing restrictions in a recent executive order from the White House.

Her bill introduction coincides with National Police Week. House Republican lawmakers introduced a package of law enforcement-related bills Wednesday morning, including a resolution from former police officer and Minnesota GOP Rep. Pete Stauber that condemns violence against cops and recognizes their work.

Craig's office worked on the legislation with local law enforcement and the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association, the state's largest trade association representing more than 10,000 rank-and-file police officers, correctional officers, dispatchers and firefighters.

"Violence in communities — and against those in law enforcement — is increasing and beyond unacceptable," Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association Executive Director Brian Peters said in a statement. "Legislation like this helps to keep our communities and law enforcement more safe."

Police officers have experienced a surge in assaults over the last decade, most commonly during responses to domestic disturbance calls like the one that precipitated the death of the first responders in Burnsville, according to data from the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

Since 2021, officers have reported at least 3,400 assaults in Minnesota, with a 10% increase last year.

Craig is running for re-election this fall and her seat is again targeted by national Republicans hoping to expand their majority in Congress. Crime has been a major issue in several of her races, but Craig's work on policing issues has helped her secure the endorsement of law enforcement groups such as the MPPOA in the last election cycle. The group has endorsed her again in 2024.