Amid the debate on firearms comes something else apparently contentious: the issue of protective gear.
As reported by The Washington Free Beacon, New York stands a chance to become the first state in America to outlaw bulletproof vests.
A bill sponsored by Democratic Assemblyman Jonathan G. Jacobson would make it illegal for anyone to sell body armor.
In addition: Possession would be against the law.
Therefore, per the legislation, any resident with a bulletproof vest would be required to give it to the government within 15 days of the law’s passing.
To be clear, the Empire State already has a law against wearing a bulletproof vest in the commission of a crime.
But if Jonathan gets his way, it’ll also become a crime to wear a vest to protect oneself from that same criminal act.
Could the law be the beginning of a new wave?
The Free Beacon says Maybe:
[J]acobson’s proposal would go beyond criminal use of the vests. New York has traditionally been at the forefront of efforts to restrict guns and associated accessories. If Jacobson’s bill passes, it could be the start of a trend across other blue states to target the protective items even outside their use in any specific crime.
Some have spoken out against the proposition: The Firearms Policy Coalition has established BodyArmorBan.com in an opposition effort.
According to the group, such a proposal “deprives New Yorkers of their right to passive defense by instituting a confiscatory ban on body armor.”
Back to the Beacon:
The Firearms Policy Coalition noted the bill provides an exception for police officers and questioned why normal citizens should not be allowed the same protections.
“As is tradition, police are exempt from this new restraint on the right to keep and bear arms,” the group said on its website.
The bill was prefiled on January 6th, and it permits the secretary of state to add exceptions.
“I got shot with a rubber bullet when I didn’t have body armor. So, that’s why I got it to protect me against getting hit with crowd-control munitions. And then, as the unrest continued, it showed I also need to make sure I wear it because there is often gunfire at these riots.”
More from TWFB:
Rosas said he witnessed shootings at riots multiple times throughout the summer. He noted that it is common for his media colleagues covering such events to also wear bulletproof vests and other forms of protection. He said it would be much harder for him to cover unrest in New York if the ban went into place and may have to avoid covering it altogether.
Washington Post writer Katie Mettler seems to be on the same page:
Yesterday I went shopping for a new winter coat that would fit over a bulletproof vest so I can safely (and warmly) cover the inauguration of the next president of the United States.
What an absolutely absurd sentence to write. https://t.co/zH89jT4HGa
— Katie Mettler (@kemettler) January 11, 2021
There are, of course, many purposes for such ballistic material.
Many gun owners prefer to wear protection when practicing at firing ranges, where there are various guns and gun owners around.
In addition to vests for personal protection in safety-threatening scenarios, companies have even begun selling bulletproof backpacks for students, including young children.
It’s a horrible reflection of where we are as a society, but more than ever before, it seems to me, people are desperate to find way to protect themselves from crime.
— Newsweek (@Newsweek) June 5, 2018
As for New York specifically, some may find it an unusual time to turn attention toward decreasing citizens’ defensive options:
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio says New York City’s surge in violent crime is because “people don’t have jobs, there isn’t school, [and] houses of worship until recently weren’t open.” pic.twitter.com/alO9pxSzjO
— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) August 4, 2020
Since last week’s beginning of the legislative session, Assemblyman Jonathan’s bill has yet to find co-sponsorship.
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