Do You Know Body Armor Laws In YOUR State? Here’s The List For All 50 States

Chris “Badger” Thomas RIGHT WING TRIBUNEOPINION

A bulletproof vest, or ballistics vest, is worn over the torso to protect the body from small-arms fire and light shrapnel from explosive devices. Most bulletproof vests consist of many layers of fine, tightly woven fabric (usually Kevlar) that softens and absorbs the impact from high-speed projectiles. Some vests come with either ceramic or metallic plates that are meant to protect the body from rifle fire or larger projectiles.

These vests are often worn by the military, law enforcement officials, and hostage negotiators in situations where a suspect may have a firearm or other destructive device. Private citizens, such as hunters, gun store owners, and convenience store clerks, also use them.

In the United States it is legal to purchase and possess body armor, apart from a few exceptions:

  • In Connecticut, body armor can only be purchased face-to-face, and cannot be purchased online, over the phone, or by mail;
  • In New York, the ban of body armor for private citizens is being debated;
  • In some states such as Kentucky, committing a crime while wearing or even possessing body armor is a crime in and of itself;
  • In Louisiana, it is illegal to wear body armor on school property.

LIST OF EACH STATE AND THEIR SPECIFIC LAWS via Bulletproof Zone

ALABAMA

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There are no other body armor laws in Alabama. Adults can buy and use bulletproof vests, except adults with felony conviction. Bulletproof vests and other body armor can be bought face to face or online.

ALASKA

Anyone can buy and use bulletproof vests except those with felony conviction. Bulletproof vests and other body armor can be bought face to face or online.

ARIZONA

Arizona, like most states, has body armor laws that make it illegal to wear body armor when committing a crime. It doesn’t affect retailers of body armor.

ARKANSAS

Possessing body armor is Class A Misdemeanor in Arkansas if you are convicted of manslaughter, murder, assault, aggravated robbery, or battery. The law doesn’t affect retailers of body armor. Anyone in Arkansas can buy and use bulletproof vests except those with felony conviction. Bulletproof vests and other body armor can be bought face to face or online.

CALIFORNIA

Anyone can buy and use bulletproof vest in California except those with felony conviction. Bulletproof vests and other body armor can be bought face to face or online.

COLORADO

Anyone can buy and use bulletproof vest in Colorado except those with felony conviction. Bulletproof vests and other body armor can be bought face to face or online.

CONNECTICUT

Connecticut implements the toughest body armor laws out of all states in the US. Residents are prohibited from purchasing or selling body armor with the exception of face to face sale. It means that if you are selling body armor online, you are not allowed to sell to residents of Connecticut.

This is a Class B misdemeanor in Connecticut that is punishable by 6-month imprisonment, a $1,000 fine, or both to deliver or sell body armor except when the transferee personally meets with the transferor to complete the delivery or sale. The law exempts deliveries or sales to:

  • sworn members or authorized officials of the State Police, local police departments, Board of Parole or Pardons, and the Division of Criminal Justice;
  • authorized officials of Department of Administrative Services or municipal who purchase body armor for agencies mentioned above;
  • armed forces or National Guard’s members;
  • authorized officials of Judicial Branch who purchase body armor for the probation officers.

DELAWARE

Delaware, like most states, has body armor laws that make it illegal to wear body armor when committing a crime. Retailers of body armor are not affected by this.

FLORIDA

Florida, like most states, has body armor laws that make it illegal to wear body armor when committing a crime. Retailers of body armor are not affected by this.

Anyone can buy and use bulletproof vest in Florida except those with felony conviction. Bulletproof vests and other body armor can be bought face to face or online.

GEORGIA

Georgia, like most states, has a law put in place that makes wearing body armor illegal while trafficking drugs or during commission of violent crimes. It doesn’t affect retailers of body armor.

Anyone can buy and use bulletproof vest in Georgia except those with felony conviction. Bulletproof vests and other body armor can be bought face to face or online.

HAWAII

Anyone can buy and use bulletproof vest in Hawaii except those with felony conviction. Bulletproof vests and other body armor can be bought face to face or online.

IDAHO

Anyone can buy and use bulletproof vest in Idaho except those with felony conviction. Bulletproof vests and other body armor can be bought face to face or online.

ILLINOIS

There are no additional body armor laws in Illinois in relation to retailers. Anyone can buy and use bulletproof vest in Illinois except those with felony conviction. Bulletproof vests and other body armor can be bought face to face or online. But, individuals are not allowed to wear body armor when in possession of dangerous weapons other than firearms during attempted commission or commission of any offense. Unlawful body armor use is Class A misdemeanor.

INDIANA

Anyone can buy and use bulletproof vest in Indiana except those with felony conviction. Bulletproof vests and other body armor can be bought face to face or online. People who intentionally or knowingly use body armor when committing felony will commit unlawful body armor use, which is a Class D felony. The new law states that people who intentionally or knowingly use body armor when committing felony commit unlawful body armor use, which is a Level 6 felony. The law doesn’t affect retailers, only criminals.

IOWA

Anyone can buy and use bulletproof vest in Iowa except those with felony conviction. Bulletproof vests and other body armor can be bought face to face or online.

KANSAS

In Topeka City, Kansas, it is not legal to carry, wear, or possess bulletproof vests during parades, rallies, demonstrations, assemblies, and protests. The statute doesn’t affect retailers.

Anyone can buy and use bulletproof vest in Kansas except those with felony conviction. Bulletproof vests and other body armor can be bought face to face or online.

KENTUCKY

Anyone can buy and use bulletproof vest in Kentucky except those with felony conviction. Bulletproof vests and other body armor can be bought face to face or online.

LOUISIANA

Like most states, body armor laws in Louisiana state that it is not legal to wear body armor on school property or during commission of crime. It doesn’t affect retailers of body armor.

Anyone can buy and use bulletproof vest in Louisiana except those with felony conviction. Bulletproof vests and other body armor can be bought face to face or online.

MAINE

Anyone can buy and use bulletproof vest in Maine except those with felony conviction. Bulletproof vests and other body armor can be bought face to face or online.

MARYLAND

Body armor laws in Maryland mandate that anyone with prior conviction for drug trafficking or crime of violence is not allowed from possessing, purchasing, or using bulletproof body armor with no permit issued by Secretary of the Maryland State Police.

People with prior conviction for drug trafficking crime or crime of violence may, with good cause shown, file a petition with the Secretary for permit to purchase, possess, and use bulletproof body armor.

MASSACHUSETTS

Massachusetts, like most states, has body armor laws that make it a felony to wear body armor when committing a crime. Anyone can buy and use bulletproof vest in Massachusetts except those with felony conviction. Bulletproof vests and other body armor can be bought face to face or online.

MICHIGAN

Anyone can buy and use bulletproof vest in Michigan except those with felony conviction. Bulletproof vests and other body armor can be bought face to face or online.

MINNESOTA

Anyone can buy and use bulletproof vest in Minnesota except those with felony conviction. Bulletproof vests and other body armor can be bought face to face or online.

MISSISSIPPI

Anyone can buy and use bulletproof vest in Mississippi except those with felony conviction. Bulletproof vests and other body armor can be bought face to face or online.

MISSOURI

Anyone can buy and use bulletproof vest in Missouri except those with felony conviction. Bulletproof vests and other body armor can be bought face to face or online.

MONTANA

Anyone can buy and use bulletproof vest in Montana except those with felony conviction. Bulletproof vests and other body armor can be bought face to face or online.

NEBRASKA

Anyone can buy and use bulletproof vest in Nebraska except those with felony conviction. Bulletproof vests and other body armor can be bought face to face or online.

NEVADA

Anyone can use and buy bulletproof vest, unless she or he has been convicted of felony. The bulletproof vests and other body armor may be bought face to face or online.

NEW HAMPSHIRE

It has laws in place, which make committing crimes while wearing bulletproof vests a felony, yet New Hampshire doesn’t have laws in place, which prohibit selling bulletproof vests. A person will be considered guilty of class B felony if he attempts or commits any felony while wearing and using body armor.

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NEW JERSEY

Adults can use and buy a bulletproof vest unless they are convicted of felony. Bulletproof vests and some types of body armor can be bought over the internet or at local stores. In addition to that, people can be charged separately just by wearing bulletproof vest while carrying out a criminal act. In New Jersey, practical effects are more jail fines and time. The separate penalties have different variety depending on the underlying crime’s seriousness.

NEW MEXICO

Anybody can use and buy bulletproof vests, unless they have been convicted of felony. People can buy all body armor and bulletproof vests face to face or online.

NEW YORK

Adults can use and buy a bulletproof vest unless adults have been convicted of felony. Buying body armor and bulletproof vests can be done face to face or over the internet. In accordance to the law of New York in unlawful wearing of bulletproof vests, people are guilty of unlawful wearing of body vests when acting either alone or with some people they commit violent felony offenses defined in the law while possessing firearms, shotguns or rifles and in furtherance and in the course of crimes they wear a body vest. Unlawful wearing of vests is class E felony.

NORTH CAROLINA

Like most states, North Carolina basically has laws in place that make it illegal to wear body armors during the crime committed. It doesn’t affect the body armor retailers. Adults can buy and use bulletproof vests unless adults have been convicted of felony. Bulletproof vest and some body armor types can be bought over the internet or face to face.

NORTH DAKOTA

Anybody can use and buy bulletproof vests unless they have been convicted of felony. Other types of body armor and bulletproof vests can be bought over the internet or face to face.

OHIO

It doesn’t have other body armor laws. When compared to some states, adults can buy and utilize bulletproof vests unless they have been convicted of felon. The online market and local markets are the best places to buy the different kinds of body armor and bulletproof vests.

OKLAHOMA

Like numerous states, Oklahoma has laws in place that make them a felony to wear body armors during the crime was committed. It doesn’t affect the ones who sell the body armor. Anybody in Oklahoma can use and buy bulletproof vests unless they have been convicted of felony. If you are wondering where to buy body armor and bulletproof vests, you can buy them in local stores or online.

OREGON

Anybody can use and buy bulletproof vests, unless they have been convicted of felony. Other types of body armor and bulletproof vests may be bought face to face or over the internet.

PENNSYLVANIA

It doesn’t have extra body armor laws. In this state, adults can use and buy bulletproof vests unless they have been convicted of felony. Bulletproof vests and other kinds of body armor can be bought over the internet or in local stores.

RHODE ISLAND

Adults in Rhode Island can use and buy bulletproof vests unless they are adults who are convicted of felony. Other body armor and bulletproof vests can be bought in various local stores or online stores. Back in year 2012, the General Assembly of the state passed a certain bill, which forbids anybody convicted of felony that’s a crime of violence from possessing or purchasing body armors. It doesn’t affect the one who are selling the bulletproof vests.

SOUTH CAROLINA

Like numerous states, South Carolina also has a law in place, which makes it illegal for people to wear body armor during the crime committed. However, it doesn’t have an impact to the retailers of the body armors. Adults can buy and use bulletproof vests unless adults have been convicted of felony. Other types of body armor and bulletproof vests can be bought in a local or online store.

SOUTH DAKOTA

Anybody can use and buy bulletproof vests unless they have been convicted of felony. Other kinds of body armors and bulletproof vests can be bought face to face or over the internet.

TENNESSEE

It has law in place, which makes it not legal to wear body armors during the crime committed. Unlawful wearing of the vests is class E felony. It doesn’t affect those who sell the body armors. In the state of Tennessee, adults can use and buy bulletproof vests unless they have been convicted of felony. Bulletproof vests and all kinds of body armors can be bought in the online or local market.

TEXAS

Anybody can use and buy bulletproof vests unless they have been convicted of felony. The local market and online market has every type of bulletproof vest and all types of body armors.

UTAH

Anybody can utilize and purchase bulletproof vests unless they have felony conviction. The bulletproof vests and some kinds of body armor can be bought face to face. There are also some online stores that offer these.

VERMONT

It doesn’t have any extra body armor laws. Adults can buy and utilize bulletproof vests in Vermont unless they have been convicted of felony. The other types of body armor and bulletproof vests can be bought in a local store. They can also be purchased in online stores.

VIRGINIA

It has an extra body armor law like lots of states. Anybody who commits crime of felony violation or violence has in their possession a knife or firearm and wearing body armor made to minimized the effects of the impacts of projectile or bullets will be guilty of class 4 felony. This law doesn’t affect the retailers. Adults can use and purchase bulletproof vests unless that adults have been convicted of felony. Other types of body armor and bulletproof vests can be bought in a local store or in the online market.

WASHINGTON STATE

Anybody can use and purchase bulletproof vests unless they have been convicted of felony. The other kinds of body armor and bulletproof vests can be bought locally or through different online stores.

WEST VIRGINIA

Anybody who wear or equipped with body armor while committed felony offense, an element of this is force, the physical harm to another, threat of force, or the presentment or use of firearms or some deadly weapons are guilty of felony. This doesn’t affect the retailers of the body armors. In the state of West Virginia, adults can consider purchasing and using bulletproof vests unless they have been convicted of felony. Some kinds of body armor and bulletproof vests may be bought face to face or online.

WISCONSIN

Adults can buy and use bulletproof vests unless they have been convicted of felony. Bulletproof vests as well as some kinds of body armor can be bought in local stores or in online stores. However, in this state, donning bulletproof vests during felony conviction or a person attempted felony may result to addition felony conviction or add extra years to the prison sentence. This law basically affects particular individuals who could wear bulletproof vests, yet doesn’t affect the retailers.

WYOMING

Anybody can use and buy any kinds of bulletproof vests unless they have been convicted of felony. The best place to get other body armor and bulletproof vests is in local stores and in online stores.

The effectiveness of body armor is unquestioned—studies have shown that it dramatically decreases the wearer’s chances of death. It is precisely the effectiveness of body armor that has led lawmakers to regulate it so that criminals do not get the protection it provides. Restrictions include laws on how a vest may be purchased and by whom, to criminal penalties for illegal possession or use during a crime.

Under federal law, a bulletproof vest is considered “body armor,” which is regulated by statute, 18 U.S.C.A. Section 931. That law forbids anyone convicted of a violent felony to own or possess a vest, unless the person wearing the vest is an employee who is doing so in order to perform a lawful business activity and who has obtained prior written certification from the employer. A violation incurs a maximum of three years in prison. And using a vest during the commission of a federal crime of violence or a federal drug-trafficking crime will result in an enhanced sentence. (42 U.S.C. Section 3796ll-3(d)(1).)

Legislation promised in the U.S. Senate would make the legal sale of body armor a “may issue” process signed off on by federal law enforcement.

U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY, announced his legislation on Sunday to require FBI permission before anyone except law enforcement could buy what he termed “sophisticated body armor,” setting a bar that would require a clear purpose, such as an occupational requirement, for the buyer to seek the safety equipment.

“The bottom line here is that the ease by which one can acquire wares of war demands the FBI sets reasonable regulations on who can get it.  Shockingly, with the click of a mouse, the scroll of a thumb or the dialing of a phone, just about anyone can order-up the kind of advanced armor or tactical law enforcement gear we see used in wars or all-out law enforcement raids, and that is unacceptable and needs to change,” said Schumer, who plans to introduce his bill after the current Senate recess.

Sen. Chuck Schumer said Sunday that the legislation would require the bureau to set standards on who would be eligible to purchase bullet-resistant vests and other body armor.

The New York senator says there would be exceptions for law enforcement and other public safety professionals.

Schumer says he’ll introduce the bill after the Senate returns to Washington in September.

H/T Guns.com

Chris “Badger” Thomas is a Veteran who served our country as an Army Combat Medic.

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