Congress Floats Body Armor Ban For Private Citizens

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If passed, a new bill introduced in the House of Representatives, would essentially ban private citizens from using body armor.

The Responsible Body Armor Possession Act, H. R. 378, would ban citizens from ownership of enhanced body armor, defined as “body armor, including a helmet or shield, the ballistic resistance of which meets or exceeds the ballistic performance of Type III armor, determined using National Institute of Justice Standard-0101.06” in the bill.

Level III and higher body armor can defeat most common rifle ammunition.

The body armor in question has a sole purpose of protecting the wearer from potential serious injury or death from being shot.

If passed, this bill would undermine people’s ability to own a truly defensive form of protection, with penalties for possession/ownership ranging from fines to jail time or both.

In his press release, CA Rep. Mike Honda, who forwarded the bill states:

“This bill allows law enforcement to respond to active shooting situations more effectively. The bill prohibits the purchase, sale, or possession of military-grade body armor by anyone except certain authorized users, such as first-responders and law enforcement.”

Adam Bates, a criminal justice policy analyst at the libertarian-leaning Cato Institute, says the bill “looks like a solution in search of a problem,” citing FBI data that shows only 5 percent of active shooters wear any body armor.

“It’s certainly against the spirit of the Second Amendment, which is that people have the right to protect themselves,” he said. “This idea that people have to be preemptively unprotected in case the government needs to shoot them at some point—I think that’s basically the implication of the bill.”