Transportation laws for Body Armor
Bulletproof vests are arguably the most vital piece of lifesaving equipment a person can have, protecting the most exposed part of our body and the vital organs beneath. Since body armor has proven to be so successful it is of little surprise that lawmakers have made it their business to attempt various regulations behind the argument that, if highly restricted, it would be ensured that people attempting criminal activities wouldn’t benefit from the protection of the vests; giving the police an upper hand. These regulations have surged in the majority of states and they restrict from how you purchase your body armor to if you may even own one at all. In most states, as in the federal government, the use of bulletproof vests while committing a crime can result in more severe charges and sentences; also being in possession of a vest can be punishable itself depending on your criminal record. An example was a bill pushed by US Congressman Mike Honda in 2014 called “Responsible Body Armor Possession Act” which by prohibiting the sale, purchase, use or possession of “enhanced military-grade body armor” by anyone that wasn’t in active military duty or law enforcement. “There is no reason this type of armor, which is designed for warfare, should be available in our communities except for those who need it, like law enforcement” Congressman Honda stated. The term “enhanced body armor” is specifically describing any armored vest or helmet that surpasses the NIJ certified Type III armor. It is important to know the respective laws in your state before attempting to transport any sort of body armor.
In terms of federal laws, Congress has regulated body armor in two ways:
– An offense that has an element the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the person or property of another or
– Any other offense that is a felony, and that, by its nature, involves a substantial risk that physical force against the person or property of another may be used in the course of committing the offense.
Body armor being defined as, “any product sold or offered for sale, in interstate or foreign commerce, as personal protective body covering intended to protect against gunfire, regardless of whether the product is to be worn alone or is sold as a complement to another product or garment.”
So, knowing the lawful limits of owning a bulletproof vest in your state, now for transporting it on a plane. It isn’t illegal to have them in your carry-on or checked bag, but being in possession of a bulletproof vest draws extra attention that can lead to in depth questioning by TSA agents since this isn’t an item that travelers often takes with them. In the end of course it is the on duty officers final judgement if he will either let you pass or require you to leave your vest behind. Some airlines can also cause problems if the weight of your carry on passes their predetermined limit, and with a heavy armored vest that isn’t too hard to achieve. Since an interrogation is a real possibility, it is important to have proper documentation and a clear idea as to why and what you plan to do with that armor, no question is off limits when it comes to border control. All these aspects can also affect even those trying to walk across any American border. So independent from your choice of transportation the laws apply mostly the same.
Should body armor be legal?
Is there such a thing as Overprotection?
When considering how precious and delicate life can be, one is often confronted with questions like, do I feel safe? Am I being prepared? Is there such a thing as “too prepared?” The most common conclusions tends to be that no matter how protected you are, you are not bulletproof. And nowhere less is that the case than in states like Connecticut, where state laws have been passed that directly confront the second amendment. These laws severely criminalize the buying and selling of protective body armor by any means that is not a person-to-person transactions. As a direct consequence, Public Act 98-127 not only restricts civilians’ access of life-saving protection but also directly affects law enforcement and military personnel, who depend on catalog or online bulk transactions, from acquiring an indispensable part of their gear. Why does that matter in Florida, or any other of the 49 states, you may ask. With New York following Connecticut’s footsteps and queuing up a few body armor restrictions this year the picture could not be clearer since some other anti-gun states are expected to jump on the bandwagon against self-protection for all the wrong reasons. The main drive behind these attempts to forcefully restrict the American people of their constitution given right is the general disarming of America with school shootings bearing the burden of being the excuse.
“The people intent on committing these atrocities outfit themselves with the macabre tools of their trade … and the defensive gear to ensure they do the most damage,” says Josh Sugarmann, executive director of the Violence Policy Center. A D.C.-based gun control research organization.
Although Mr. Sugarmann attempts to make a solid point about how the use of protective gear can, in some situations, hinder police’s attempts at controlling a situation since the criminal can be better protected against police force. To stop the main concern, criminals being better protected from law enforcement, some states have made it illegal for a person with a criminal record ranging from a simple misdemeanor to anyone that has been incarcerated from ever attempting to own any type of body armor or weapon. While this might put a dent in most former criminals attempts at acquiring protection there are still a wide variety of known ways you can acquire bulletproof protection illegal through the internet. So are these laws really helping the public (which should be their sole intention) or are they inadvertently just making it harder for the common law-abiding citizen American to take their safety into their own hands.
Should these restrictions continue to spread across the states we could inevitably find ourselves at a point where choosing protection based on your personal needs will be a thing of the past and only an option for certain law officers and active military personnel; confining citizens to a very limited and compromising number of options for self-preservation. In a country built on the foundation of freedom, having limited options for protections seems to directly interfere with that fundamental right. So does body armor hurt people? Of course not, their invention came from the need to preserve life and minimize injuries. And taking into account that police scanners, radar detectors and night vision binoculars are still 100% legal, we can only ask ourselves; Are we focusing on the problem at hand? Or just demonizing an important life-preserving tool in order to feel a little “safer.”
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