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Lawmakers Weigh Body Armor Bans
Calls for new gun restrictions inevitably follow most American mass shootings, including the one that killed 10 people at a Buffalo supermarket six weeks ago. But in the wake of the Tops supermarket massacre, legislators here and in several other states also have turned their attention to a new target: civilian body armor.To get more news about bullet proof, you can visit official website.

Such equipment—including helmets, bulletproof vests and armor plates—is designed to protect soldiers and law enforcement officers in the line of duty. Until recently, however, no state but Connecticut had restricted how ordinary citizens buy and sell military-grade tactical gear. The armor has, critics say, empowered violent criminals—including mass shooters—to return fire at law enforcement and extend their rampages.
Over the past 20 years, sales of body armor—like sales of guns and ammunition—have grown steadily among the general population, said Aaron Westrick, a professor of criminal justice at Lake Superior State University who has worked extensively with body armor companies and law enforcement. That has complicated some procedures for police officers, who now must train to shoot around body armor, and alarmed some lawmakers and advocates, who question why so many Americans now own tactical gear intended for combat.

In Buffalo, a bulletproof vest allowed the accused 18-year-old gunman to continue his attack even after being shot by a store security guard, retired police officer Aaron Salter Jr. Salter was among those killed. According to the Violence Project, a nonpartisan research center, 21 mass shooters in the past 40 years have worn body armor.

“The shooter in Uvalde had it, in Buffalo, in Aurora, in Boulder, in Sutherland Springs,” New Jersey state Sen. Joseph Cryan, a Democrat and former county sheriff, said of the Tops shooting and other massacres in Texas and Colorado. Cryan’s proposed civilian body armor ban is in committee. “Why do we have to wait for another one?”
New York passed the nation’s first body armor ban June 6; it is a narrow prohibition on soft body vests that legislators have said they will soon expand. New York’s ban earned votes from both parties, though 46 of the 63 Republicans in the legislature opposed it. Pennsylvania Democrats also have promised to introduce body armor legislation this session. On June 16, three of New York’s U.S. representatives—two Democrats and a Republican—introduced a bill to nationally bar the sale of high-performance body armor to civilians.

Already, however, these measures have proved deeply controversial. At least one body armor manufacturer has promised to sue New York, arguing the state has no right to outlaw protective equipment.

Even among researchers who study gun violence, there’s some doubt that restrictions on body armor sales will make shootings less deadly or less frequent. Instead, Democratic lawmakers have sometimes described the bans as a kind of policy fallback: Given the deadlocked politics of gun control, they’ve said, regulating body armor is one rare area of possible bipartisan consensus.

“Mass shootings are horrific—don’t get me wrong—but they’re such an insignificant part of the violence we’re confronting,” said Warren Eller, a public policy professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. “The probability of having an armed offender wearing a body vest get into a firefight with law enforcement is really, remarkably insignificant.” Guns killed more than 45,000 Americans in 2021, according to the Gun Violence Archive, a nonpartisan data collection group. Only 705 of those deaths took place during mass shootings.

Few Existing Restrictions
Lawmakers have attempted to regulate body armor before, but without much success. In 2019, Democratic U.S. lawmakers in the House and Senate proposed two separate, federal body armor bills that never made it to a vote. New York state also has repeatedly considered, but never adopted, a proposal to create a central registry of body armor sales and distributors.

This time, however, proponents have been bolstered by the back-to-back tragedies in Buffalo and Uvalde, Texas, where both gunmen wore some type of tactical gear. In Buffalo, a set of law enforcement-grade hard armor plates saved the shooter from a bullet that police say might have ended his attack much earlier. In Uvalde, the gunman wore a plate carrier vest without its bulletproof inserts—a nonprotective get-up that some legislators have nonetheless said illustrates the threat of mass shooters and body armor.

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