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Last week, a New York State lawmaker introduced a bill that would ban the purchase of a body vest by anyone not affiliated with law enforcement and force residents who already own a body vest but are ineligible to own it relinquish theirs to the authorities within 15 days of the law’s implementation.
Introduced by New York Assemblyman Jonathan Jacobson, a Democrat, Assembly Bill 352 may just mark one of the most significant escalations in recent history of the left’s attacks on the right of citizens to protect themselves from wrongdoers.
“A person is guilty of the unlawful purchase or possession of a body vest when he or she knowingly and unlawfully purchases or possesses a body vest, as such term is defined in subdivision two of section 270.20 of this article,” the bill reads.
“This section shall not apply to active law enforcement officers or those whose occupations require the use of body vests as determined by the department of state.”
New York Penal Law § 270.20 defines a “body vest” as “a bullet-resistant soft body armor providing, as a minimum standard, the level of protection known as threat level I which shall mean at least seven layers of bullet-resistant material providing protection from three shots of one hundred fifty-eight grain lead ammunition fired from a .38 caliber handgun at a velocity of eight hundred fifty feet per second.”
Under the bill’s draconian rules, any ineligible New Yorker caught with a body vest would face a Class A misdemeanor the first time and a Class E felony the second. Current ineligible owners would meanwhile be granted 15 days to give up their armor.
“Any person currently in possession of a body vest, as such term is defined in subdivision two of section 270.20 of the penal law, shall 14 have 15 days from the effective date of this act to dispose of such body vest at any local or state law enforcement agency,” the bill continues.
View the bill below:
New York isn’t the first state or locality to consider a body armor/vest ban, and it likely won’t be the last. In early 2018, Chicago instituted a similar ban after the murder of a local police commander. The irony is that the commander’s murder proved that a ban would be pointless.
“Shomari Legghette, who is charged with murder in the case, was wearing a bulletproof vest at the time. The 44-year-old four-time felon already was banned from buying or wearing body armor because of his criminal record,” the Chicago Tribune reported at the time.
Meaning that the body armor ban on Legghette did nothing — absolutely nothing — to stop him from obtaining body armor.
Likewise, the city’s ban was poised to do nothing else other than leave law-abiding citizens without protection.
The city’s aldermen eventually backtracked a little by adding exemptions for journalists and actors. Yes, actors.
Attempts have also been made at the national level to ban body armor, but thus far these few attempts have been unsuccessful:
Concerns about the general public’s access to body armor became more prominent after the Pulse Nightclub shooting in 2016.
“Weeks before Omar Mateen went on an Orlando shooting spree, he stopped at a gun shop trying to buy body armor capable of stopping police handgun rounds. The store didn’t carry such armor,” The Wall Street Journal reported at the time.
“Had Mateen just gone online, he could have easily gotten armor capable of stopping not only handgun fire, but bullets from SWAT team snipers or even armor-piercing rifle ammunition—shipped right to his door with few questions and no meaningful background check.”
This was seen as relevant given as Mateen’s deadly spree, which led to the deaths of 49 innocent people, was eventually stopped by gunfire from a 13-member SWAT team.
It’s not clear though why Democrats don’t just ask for tighter regulations on the sale of body armor versus trying to ban it outright. What’s known is that, despite claims to the contrary, body armor has plenty of uses in the civilian world.
“A cashier working nights at a liquor store might see the need. So might a ride-share driver who serves high-crime areas. Anyone living in gang-plagued neighborhoods where gun violence is routine could easily justify the cost of protection against bullets,” the Tribune’s editorial board warned before Chicago’s ban was passed in 2018.
“A broad ban on body armor would deprive these and other law-abiding people of a means of avoiding sudden, violent death in a city where that fate is far too common. It’s the equivalent of banning deadbolt locks lest they be used to secure contraband.”
This point seems particularly relevant to contemporary New York City, which is now a hotbed of rampant crime thanks to its leaders’ lax attitude about crime.
Dan Crenshaw points to startling report of skyrocketing crime in NYC amid call to defund police https://t.co/6uJfF8q4Mj
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) July 2, 2020
“There have been 112 victims in 83 shootings over a nine-day period ending Saturday, according to police. Most of those shot were expected to survive, but at least six people have died in the past week and others suffered serious or critical injuries,” local station WINS reported on July 1st.
“Amid calls to defund the police ahead of the June 30 deadline for the city budget, NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said last week that the city’s homicide rate had hit a 5-year high and that the criminal justice system was ‘imploding.’ The number of people shot has risen 42 percent compared to last year.”
Months later, the crime still hasn’t abated.
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