Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) announced this week that he will introduce legislation to restrict access to body armor and other “wares of war.”
“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, this week, in a press release obtained by GunsAmerica.
“As the pattern of these purchases becomes more and more predictable, we have to take a serious look at who is seeking this sophisticated armor and approving of a sale in the first place,” he added.
Under the Schumer bill, which he plans on introducing when the Senate returns from Summer recess, buying body armor would be like a may-issue concealed carry permit. Prospective purchasers would be required to give the FBI a “legitimate purpose” for owning body armor. If the agency disagrees with that “purpose,” the sale would not be sanctioned.
There would be an exemption for law enforcement and other occupations related to public safety.
Current federal law already prohibits violent or drug-related felons from purchasing body armor. But Schumer believes that in light of recent mass killings, law-abiding civilians should also be banned from owning protective and bullet-resistant gear…
“Sadly, these shootings are happening so frequently that there is a sort of checklist,” explained Schumer. “People intent on doing evil might look into past shootings they seek to emulate. They might look into the weapons used, and then the gear worn, and now the veritable mass shooting checklist includes body armor. 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.”
The Schumer press release cited a study that said “five percent of a group of 110 active shooters between 2000 and 2012 used body armor.”
Like with guns, Schumer sees body armor as a one-sided coin. That is, only in the context of it being leveraged to commit evil. Yes, it’s true, bad guys obtain body armor (or make it themselves) and use guns to take innocent lives. But it’s also true that good guys wear bullet-resistant gear and use guns to protect themselves, their family and their property.
While it’s hard to evaluate how often body armor protects responsible citizens because there is no agency tracking that specific statistic, we do know based on CDC research that guns are used 16 to 100 times more often by good guys to save innocent lives than by bad guys to do the opposite.
Couldn’t we reasonably assume that the same is true for body armor, at least in the sense that it keeps more good guys safe than it does bad guys? Put in a different light, wonder if Schumer would oppose the widespread adoption of bullet-resistant backpacks in schools? One could make the case that, if this were done, school children would be to a non-trivial degree safer.
Anyways, what that stat on DGUs goes to show is that lawmakers need to examine both sides of the proverbial coin before they call for sweeping restrictions on popular guns and gear — as that red tape ultimately makes the public more vulnerable to and less safe in the presence of would-be killers.