Why California's Body Armor Ban Proposal is Unconstitutional
Hold on to your tactical vests, folks! California Assembly Bill 92 and Illinois House Bill 3238 have both been introduced and aim to ban the sale of most body armor to average civilians. That's right, no more online purchases or trips to your local gun store for the everyday Joe.
But these bills aren't just a bummer for tactical gear enthusiasts - it's also unconstitutional. In this post, we'll take a closer look at the details of the bills, explain why it's unconstitutional, and discuss the potential impact on the tactical gear community. So sit tight and get ready for a wild ride as we dive into the details of Assembly Bill 92 and House Bill 3238.
Table of Contents
- The Restrictions of AB-92: What you Need to Know
- Restricting Rights Does Not Make Communities Safer
- Illinois Follows Suit
- A Blow to the Body Armor Community
The Restrictions of California Assembly Bill 92: What You Need to Know
The bill, introduced by Assemblyman Conley, would make it a misdemeanor for any person to purchase or take possession of body armor unless they are employed in specified professions such as law enforcement. This bill also makes it a misdemeanor for a person, firm, or corporation to sell or deliver body armor to anyone not engaged in those professions. The bill would require sellers to verify that the person they are selling to is from an eligible profession, and would authorize the Department of Justice to expand the list of eligible professions.
AB 92 would further restrict the ability of individuals to purchase body armor than current laws in California, which already make it a felony for a person with a violent felony conviction to purchase, own, or possess body armor. If this bill were to pass, it would greatly restrict the ability of average civilians to purchase body armor.
It would also hurt businesses that sell body armor as they would not be able to sell to a majority of their customer base. This would also result in a loss of revenue for these businesses. Additionally, it would make it difficult for law-abiding citizens who depend on body armor for their protection, hunting, or outdoor activities, to acquire it.
Under existing California laws, it's already a felony for a person who has a violent felony to purchase, own or possess body armor. It's also unlawful to commit a violent crime while wearing body armor. There is an enhancement for that. However, this bill aims to go even further than the existing laws and make it so that average citizens will no longer be able to lawfully buy the best body armor from Spartan Armor Systems®.
According to Assemblyman Conley, the sponsor of the bill, "It is clear that the sale of body armor has empowered violent criminals, including mass shooters, to harm, kill, and prolong their rampages. This ongoing and unnecessary epidemic of violence must be stopped and AB 92 will help protect innocent bystanders and our peace officers".
It's important to note that the bill has yet to pass and there may be changes made to it. But as it stands now, it would greatly restrict the ability of average citizens to purchase body armor in California.
AB 92: Restricting rights and not making communities safer
The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution states that "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." This includes the right to purchase body armor, as it is a form of self-defense and protection. Restricting the ability of average citizens to purchase body armor would be a violation of their Second Amendment rights.
The bill would greatly restrict the ability of average citizens to purchase body armor, and would disproportionately affect law-abiding citizens who use body armor for lawful purposes such as hunting, outdoor activities, and personal protection. It would also make it more difficult for law-abiding citizens to protect themselves. These restrictions on the rights of average citizens would not pass the test of constitutionality as they would be in violation of the Second Amendment.
The Supreme Court case District of Columbia v. Heller (2008) established that the Second Amendment protects a person's right to keep and bear arms for self-defense. In the case, the court struck down a ban on handgun possession in the home as a violation of this right. Similarly, Assembly Bill 92 would be a violation of the Second Amendment as it would restrict the ability of average citizens to purchase body armor for self-defense.
Assembly Bill 92 would restrict the rights of average citizens to purchase any level of body armor for lawful purposes such as self-defense, hunting, and outdoor activities. The bill would disproportionately affect law-abiding citizens and would not make communities any safer. Instead, it would only make it more difficult for law-abiding citizens to protect themselves.
Illinois Follows Suit
Just like California, Illinois has proposed their own body armor ban. The Illinois House Bill 3238 has been proposed to prohibit the manufacturing, selling, importing, purchasing, and possessing of armor plate, body armor, and military helmets in the state with a few exceptions. Starting from January 1, 2024,if the bill goes through, it will be unlawful for anyone in Illinois to have possession of armor plate, body armor, or military helmets, except for those who legally owned them before the bill's effective date or inherited them from a person with an endorsement or from a person authorized to possess such items.
Individuals who owned these items before the effective date of the bill can keep them, but they are required to file an endorsement affidavit within six months after the bill's effective date, under oath or affirmation, and in the form and manner specified by the Illinois State Police. The time to get your body armor online is now.
The bill provides specific exemptions to the prohibition, and noncompliance with these provisions is considered a Class A misdemeanor for a first offense and a Class 4 felony for a second or subsequent offense.
A Blow to the Body Armor Community
The bill would have a significant impact on the body armor community, as it would greatly restrict the ability of average citizens to purchase body armor. This would disproportionately affect law-abiding citizens who use body armor for lawful purposes such as hunting, outdoor activities, and personal protection. The bill would make it more difficult for these individuals to acquire the equipment they need to stay safe like the concealable Ghost Shirt package from Spartan Armor Systems®.
These bills could lead to unintended consequences such as driving sales of body armor underground, where it would be harder to regulate and ensure that the equipment is being used for lawful purposes. Additionally, it would make it more difficult for law-abiding citizens to protect themselves, which is not the intended goal of these bills.
The body armor community can take action to fight these bills by contacting their legislators and expressing their opposition to the bill. They can also organize grassroots efforts, such as letter-writing campaigns or rallies, to raise awareness about the negative impact of the bill on their community. It's important that the body armor community makes their voices heard and fights against this infringement on their rights.
The body armor community needs to take action to fight this infringement of their rights and ensure that they are able to purchase body armor for lawful purposes. The bill may have some people feeling like they're stuck in a game of whack-a-mole, trying to protect their rights. But let's not let this bill pass without a fight.
Contact your legislators, join grassroots efforts and make sure your voice is heard. Together, we can protect our rights and continue to stay safe in the field, on the hunt, or simply going about our daily lives.