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.