Last month, we learned about a new bill in the New York State legislature that would not only authorize the confiscation of firearms and accessories from law-abiding gun owners but would also outlaw the possession of body armor by civilians. Anyone owning body armor under the proposed law would have a short period of time to voluntarily surrender it or it would be confiscated as well. After further analysis, it became clear that the law would also affect parents who have purchased bulletproof backpacks to protect their children in the event of a school shooting. This has manufacturers of such products up in arms, along with the parents who have already purchased them. (Free Beacon)
A New York bill aimed at confiscating body armor would also force parents to hand over safety products designed for school shootings.
Democrat assemblymember Jonathan G. Jacobson wants to make New York the first state to outlaw bulletproof vests, but his far-reaching legislation would also end up seizing protective backpacks from students and parents. Two bulletproof backpack makers and one local retailer said the bill damages an industry created to protect children from school shootings.
Gabi Siboni, director of the Israeli company ArmorMe, estimates that tens of thousands of New Yorkers have purchased bulletproof products in recent years due to the rise in campus violence and high-profile mass shootings.
Assemblyman Jonathan Jacobson, the bill’s author, is sticking to his guns (pun intended). He released a statement saying that “bulletproof vests are used by those intending to protect themselves while committing crimes.”
Oh, really? How does that position square with all of the people who bought school backpacks that can stop bullets? Are they sending their little tykes off to the bus stop early so they’ll have time to knock over a convenience store on the way?
While it should really go without saying, Jacobson’s bill would turn an entirely new class of lawful citizens – parents who purchase such products for their children – into criminals. Also, as we previously noted, there is already a law on the books making it illegal to wear body armor while committing a gun crime, providing enhanced sentences for those that do. What Jacobson doesn’t seem to grasp is that criminals don’t generally pay a lot of attention to laws and regulations because they’re criminals.
We shouldn’t allow this debate to get down into the weeds with specific discussions about bulletproof backpacks. The entire proposal is a pile of hot garbage. Body armor is not a weapon. The few cases where criminals have made effective use of body armor have tended to be in mass shooting scenarios. The vast majority of body armor regularly being used by people who are not in law enforcement or security work is employed by reporters, EMTs and others whose jobs take them into dangerous neighborhoods or situations on a regular basis.
Are those the sorts of people that Jacobson would like to see locked up? People have a fundamental right to protect themselves to the best of their ability if they are behaving in a lawful fashion. This proposal is simply asinine and very likely unconstitutional. A part of me almost wants to see it signed into law just to watch the court challenges to it play out.