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Should States Require Background Checks for Body Armor?

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Apart from felons convicted of a violent crime, it is completely legal in every U.S. state for regular civilians to buy, own and wear concealable body armor and other body armor products, all without a background check. But should it stay this way? Recent tragic events have raised the emotions of the public and politicians have voiced concerns questioning whether or not states should require background checks and other restrictions on concealable bulletproof vests and body armor. However, is this a legitimate concern and would it help to prevent tragedy? Keep reading for Spartan Armor’s response.

Charles Schumer: If You Want Body Armor, You Need Approval from the FBI

This past August, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer told the public he considers body armor ‘wares of war’ and that he intends to introduce a bill restricting the sale of body armor to civilians. According to the New York Post, the bill would require the FBI to establish standards for who is allowed to buy body armor, including concealable bulletproof vests. This is following a series of mass shootings in which the gunmen wore body armor, such as the Dayton, Ohio shooting in August 2019. Schumer’s proposal would include exceptions for police and other public safety officials.

Here’s what Schumer had to say about concealable body armor and civilians:

“The ease with which those intent on doing evil are able to get advanced body armor is shocking ... In addition to the House-passed background checks bill, it’s time to require anyone seeking sophisticated body armor to get sign-off from the FBI.”

Shcumer also added, “What we have learned is that a good number of those intent on mass shootings buy body armor.” With this in mind, Schumer said he would push for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to allow a House-passed universal background checks measure to get a full Senate vote, calling it “the most important and immediate thing we can do.”

Is It Constitutional to Restrict the Sale of Body Armor in America?

Schumer and other politicians have used the days following the tragic mass shooting in Dayton, OH to leverage the public’s heightened emotions in support of a body armor restriction bill that otherwise would not seem as relevant.

Currently, there are already laws in place to prevent convicted violent felons from purchasing, owning and using body armor. However, there’s no way to predict if someone without a criminal background will purchase a concealable bulletproof vest and commit a crime while wearing it. While this is the concern of this current national conversation, there’s also no way of predicting whether or not a person will purchase a gun in order to commit a violent crime. The only way to prevent someone from committing acts that constitute a national tragedy is to be able to tell the future or to make it illegal for all civilians to purchase guns, ammunition and body armor. Ultimately, this would be unconstitutional, as it would take away the rights and freedoms of the people to secure their own personal protection.

Body Armor Is Personal Protection, Not a Weapon

Our country was founded on the belief that the public should have the right to protect themselves from harm and unlawful activity. Body armor is not a weapon with the capacity to do harm to others, but only works as a means of protection. Further, it is inaccurate to assume that every civilian who purchases body armor wishes to do harm. In fact, the majority of past mass murders did not involve the shooter wearing body armor. Researchers from the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training Center conducted a study and found that only five percent of 110 active shooters from 2000 to 2012 had worn body armor.

Those who support more restrictive body armor laws may believe that requiring background checks for purchasing body armor will help reduce illegal activity involving armored criminals. However, background checks won’t be able to predict or stop someone who is intent on doing harm to others. For example, many past mass murderers had no previous criminal background. And even if someone does have a criminal background, there are many ways for them to acquire weapons illegally. This means that stringent background checks or an outright ban on the sale of concealable bulletproof vests would not solve the problem of mass murder in this country.

If anything, the restriction of body armor could cause more harm than good. Body armor is effective personal protection which can be used in other ways beyond stopping bullets. According to an article from, former police officer Mike Faw believes civilians have a right to own and use body armor, and that it can provide advanced protection while driving motorcycles and snowmobiles. In fact, vests have been shown to drastically increase the survival rate for motor accidents.

When shooting in a range, bulletproof vests also work to keep civilians protected from accidents. And, of course, in the case of an armed home intruder, a bulletproof vest can be the difference between a homeowner’s life and death.

What Are the Current Body Armor Laws?

Anyone without a felony conviction of a violent crime can purchase, own and use a concealable bulletproof vest in all 50 states. Wearing one during the commission of a crime is a separate offense in most states, including New York, where it is a felony punishable by up to four years in prison. In some states, it is also illegal to wear body armor while trafficking drugs, or when possessing dangerous weapons and firearms during the commission of an offense.

In other states, it is illegal to wear concealable body armor while on school property or at school-sponsored events, during parades, rallies, demonstrations, assemblies and protests.

Connecticut is the only state in which body armor must be purchased face-to-face. All other states allow the purchase of body armor online, over the phone or through a catalog.

It is also illegal to ship or take body armor with you outside of the U.S. without Federal permission.

You’ve Got the Right. Spartan Armor Has the Tools

At Spartan Armor, we believe civilians and law enforcement alike should have access to life-saving concealable bulletproof vests and other body armor. That’s why we consider it our duty to supply top quality body armor to our fellow Americans. If you’re in the market for superior body armor, start with choosing a superior body armor carrier.

The Spartan Armor Systems Tactical Level IIIA Certified Wraparound Vest is extremely durable and comfortable, and is meant to be worn over clothes. The carrier offers Level IIIA protection, and can be upgraded by adding a rifle rated ballistic plate.

The Spartan Armor Systems Concealable IIIA Certified Wraparound Vest is a soft armor option designed to be worn under clothes and protect against standard handgun ammunition.

The next step is selecting your concealable body armor plate. We sell steel core and composite/ceramic plates to offer a wide range of options for all of your body armor needs.

All orders with Spartan Armor Systems qualify for free shipping, while all military members, law enforcement, and first responders enjoy an additional 10% discount. If you have any questions regarding body armor, or you’d like helping with selecting the right body armor products for you, you can speak with one of our knowledgeable team members at (520) 396-3335, or contact us online. We’re here to exceed all of your personal body armor needs.


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