• TGB

Armor News - Chuck Schumer Wants to Use the FBI to Restrict Body Armor Sales

According to a report by The Hill Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has recently stated his intention to introduce a bill that would force body armor sales to civilians, meaning non-LEO/Mil. buyers, to be run through some sort of check process run by the FBI. 

Pictured - A commercially available rifle rated armor plate.

Details are so far non-existent but it can be assumed the process would work like most other forms of background check, where the buyers info is checked against databases containing info on known terrorists, felons (who cannot legally possess body armor in the U.S.), etc. 

However, both its viability and criminal-catching potential are questionable. For example the Dayton, Ohio mass shooter was apparently able to pass a background check for firearms purchases, meaning it's highly unlikely if not totally impossible that he would have been "caught" in a check for an armor purchase. There are several other examples of such individuals having passed background checks, making the concept itself a highly questionable method of stopping or at least mitigating the severity of such events, never mind that the presence or lack thereof of body armor in these shootings has not appeared to be a measurable problem as of yet.

Furthermore many criminals purchase cheap, easily available armor such as used soft armor or steel rifle plates as these are inexpensive, commonly available from a wide variety of sources including offline markets (which would never be affected by any sort of background check system), and are easily found by the common person unfamiliar with body armor. Steel armor in particular is essentially impossible to restrict as it can be easily manufactured from several types of easily obtained raw steel plate. There are already several "garage manufacturers" that produce steel armor using nothing but raw plate and low end plasma cutters or the like.

That said I find the viability of such restrictions on the sales of body armor to be of dubious usefulness at best and possibly representing a threat to American citizens rights to personal safety at worst. Among civilian armor buyers it is overwhelmingly law abiding citizens who purchase commercially available armor, to include high end soft armor and ceramic rifle plates. While criminal usage of armor does occur, the armor used is typically common low end armor such as the aforementioned steel plates. In addition possession of body armor by violent felons is already a Federal offense punishable by up to 3 years in prison for simple possession, with use in a crime resulting in enhanced charges. 

With all that in mind I find the reasoning behind Schumer's proposed bill to be inadequate to say the least, especially given the potential for misuse to prevent the possession of a defensive, life saving product by upstanding American citizens. 

Stay safe, and keep informed. 

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