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Body Armor Laws

BODY ARMOR LAWS

We all have a right to protect ourselves and our families.  As such, we have a legal right to acquire and wear body armor for personal and professional protection. In turn, it is also legal to sell bulletproof vests and other types of body armor to anyone in the US. 

It is the responsibility of the buyer to ascertain whether he is legally able to purchase and use body armor. This responsibility does not fall on the shoulders of the retailer. 

It is perfectly safe and legal for retailers to sell bulletproof vests to the general public. People who purchase bulletproof vests and other types of body armor are upstanding citizens who simply wish to protect themselves, their employees and their families from harm.  

Convicted felons surrender their right to own body armor.  The US has a federal ban on the possession of body armor by convicted felons (18 U.S.C. 931). Felons can only purchase bulletproof vests if their employer requires it and they get written permission to do so. Still, it is the responsibility of the felon to refrain from buying body armor. Only he can be prosecuted if he makes an illegal purchase. Retailers are not liable for what happens to body armor after it is sold. 

 

This information is current to the best of our knowledge. HOWEVER, this does not constitute nor shall be interpreted at legal advice. For legal advice contact a licensed attorney in your state. Contact your local government and/or law enforcement for the most current regulations in your area.

 

BY STATE (Alphabetical Order)

Alabama

Alabama does not have any additional body armor laws. In Alabama, any adult can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

 

Alaska

In Alaska, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

 

Arizona

Like many states, Arizona has a law in place that makes it illegal to wear body armor during the commission of a crime. This does not affect body armor retailers.

 

Arkansas

In Arkansas, it is a Class A Misdemeanor to possess body armor if you have been convicted of murder, manslaughter, aggravated robbery, assault, or battery. This law does not affect body armor retailers.

In Arkansas, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

 

California

In California, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

 

Colorado

In Colorado, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

 

Connecticut

Of all the states, Connecticut has the toughest law on body armor, prohibiting residents from buying or selling body armor except through a face-to-face sale. This means that if you choose to sell body armor online, you cannot sell to Connecticut residents.

In Connecticut, it is a class B misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment for up to six months, a fine of up to $1,000, or both, to sell or deliver body armor unless the transferee meets in person with the transferor to accomplish the sale or delivery. The law exempts sales or deliveries to:

1. authorized officials or sworn members of local police departments, the State Police, the Division of Criminal Justice, the Department of Correction, or the Board or Pardons or Parole;

2. authorized municipal or Department of Administrative Services' officials who buy body armor for the above agencies;

3. authorized Judicial Branch officials who buy body armor for probation officers; and

4. members of the National Guard or armed forces (CGS § 53-341b).

 

Delaware

Like many states, Delaware has a law in place that makes it illegal to wear body armor during the commission of a crime. This does not affect body armor retailers.

 

Florida

Like many states, Florida has a law in place that makes it illegal to wear body armor during the commission of a crime. This does not affect body armor retailers.

In Florida, any adult can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

 

Georgia

Like many states, Georgia has a law in place that makes it illegal to wear body armor during the commission of a violent crime, or while trafficking drugs. This does not affect body armor retailers.

In Georgia, any adult can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

 

Hawaii

In Hawaii, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

 

Idaho

In Idaho, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

 

Illinois

Illinois does not have any additional body armor laws pertaining to retailers. In Illinois, any adult can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

However, it is illegal to for individuals to wear body armor while in possession of a dangerous weapon, other than a firearm, during the commission or attempted commission of any offense. Unlawful use of body armor is a Class A misdemeanor.

 

Indiana

In Indiana, any adult can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

A person who knowingly or intentionally uses body armor while committing a felony commits unlawful use of body armor, a Class D felony (up until July 2014, when a new law takes effect). The new law states that a person who knowingly or intentionally uses body armor while committing a felony commits unlawful use of body armor, a Level 6 felony. Again, this law effects criminals, not retailers.

 

Iowa

In Iowa, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

 

Kansas

In the city of Topeka, Kansas, it is illegal to possess, carry or wear a bulletproof vest during protests, parades, rallies, assemblies and demonstrations. This statute does not affect retailers.

In Kansas, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

 

Kentucky

In Kentucky, any adult can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

 

Louisiana

Like many states, Louisiana has a law in place that makes it illegal to wear body armor during the commission of a crime or on school property. This does not affect body armor retailers.

In Louisiana, any adult can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

 

Maine

In Maine, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

 

Maryland

Maryland law mandates that all persons with a prior conviction for a crime of violence, or a drug trafficking crime, are prohibited from using, possessing, or purchasing bulletproof body armor without a permit issued by the Secretary of the Maryland State Police.

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

 

Massachusetts

Like many states, Massachusetts has a law in place that makes it a felony to wear body armor during the commission of a crime. This does

In Massachusetts, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

 

Michigan

In Michigan, any adult can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

Michigan Laws Regarding Committing a Crime While Wearing Body Armor:

(1) Except as provided in subsection (2), an individual who commits or attempts to commit a crime that involves a violent act or a threat of a violent act against another person while wearing body armor is guilty of a felony, punishable by imprisonment for not more than 4 years, or a fine of not more than $2,000.00, or both. A term of imprisonment imposed for violating this section may be served consecutively to any term of imprisonment imposed for the crime committed or attempted.

(2) Subsection (1) does not apply to either of the following:

(a) A peace officer of this state or another state, or of a local unit of government of this state or another state, or of the United States, performing his or her duties as a peace officer while on or off a scheduled work shift as a peace officer.

(b) A security officer performing his or her duties as a security officer while on a scheduled work shift as a security officer.

(3) As used in this section:

(a) “Body armor” means clothing or a device designed or intended to protect an individual's body or a portion of an individual's body from injury caused by a firearm.

(b) “Security officer” means an individual lawfully employed to physically protect another individual or to physically protect the property of another person.

 

Minnesota

In Minnesota, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

 

Mississippi

In Mississippi, any adult can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

 

Missouri

In Missouri, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

 

Montana

In Montana, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

 

Nebraska

In Nebraska, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

 

Nevada

In Nevada, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

 

New Hampshire

New Hampshire has laws in place that make committing a crime while wearing a bulletproof vest a felony, but does not have laws in place that prohibit sales of bulletproof vests by retailers.

650-B:2 Felonious Use of Body Armor. – I. A person is guilty of a class B felony if he commits or attempts to commit any felony while using or wearing body armor.

 

New Jersey

In New Jersey, any adult can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

Additionally, in New Jersey, a person can be charged separately for wearing a bullet proof vest while carrying out criminal acts. The practical effect is more jail time and fines. Separate penalties have a wide range depending on the seriousness of the underlying crime.

 

New Mexico

In New Mexico, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

 

New York

In New York, any adult can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

Section 270.20 Unlawful Wearing of a Bullet Proof Vest

A person is guilty of the unlawful wearing of a body vest when acting either alone or with one or more other persons he commits any violent felony offense defined in section 70.02 while possessing a firearm, rifle or shotgun and in the course of and in furtherance of such crime he wears a body vest. The unlawful wearing of a vest is a class E felony.

 

North Carolina

Like many states, North Carolina has a law in place that makes it illegal to wear body armor during the commission of a crime. This does not affect body armor retailers.

In North Carolina, any adult can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

 

North Dakota

In North Dakota, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

 

Ohio

Ohio does not have any additional body armor laws. In Ohio, any adult can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

 

Oklahoma

Like many states, Oklahoma has a law in place that makes it a felony to wear body armor during the commission of a crime. This does not affect body armor retailers.

In Oklahoma, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

 

Oregon

In Oregon, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

 

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania does not have any additional body armor laws. In Pennsylvania, any adult can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

 

Rhode Island

In Rhode Island, any adult can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

In 2012, Rhode Island's General Assembly passed a bill that forbids anyone convicted of a felony that is a crime of violence from buying or possessing body armor. This does not affect retailers of bullet proof vests.

 

South Carolina

Like many states, South Carolina has a law in place that makes it illegal to wear body armor during the commission of a crime. This does not affect body armor retailers.

In South Carolina, any adult can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

 

South Dakota

In South Dakota, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

 

Tennessee

Tennessee has a law in place that makes it illegal to wear body armor during the commission of a crime. The unlawful wearing of a vest is a Class E felony. This does not affect body armor retailers.

In Tennessee, any adult can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

 

Texas

In Texas, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

 

Utah

In Utah, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

 

Vermont

Vermont does not have any additional body armor laws. In Vermont, any adult can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

 

Virginia

Virginia has one additional body armor law, like many states: Any person who, while committing a crime of violence or a felony violation, has in his possession a firearm or knife and is wearing body armor designed to diminish the effect of the impact of a bullet or projectile, shall be guilty of a Class 4 felony. This law does not affect retailers.

In Virginia, any adult can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

 

Washington State

In Washington, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

 

West Virginia

In West Virginia, a person who wears or is otherwise equipped with body armor while committing a felony offense, an element of which is force, the threat of force, physical harm to another or the use or presentment of a firearm or other deadly weapon, is guilty of a felony. This does not affect body armor retailers.

In West Virginia, any adult can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

 

Wisconsin

In Wisconsin, any adult can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

In Wisconsin, donning a bulletproof vest during a felony or attempted felony can lead to an additional felony conviction, or the adding of extra years to the final prison sentence. Again, this law affects certain individuals who might wear bulletproof vests, but does not affect retailers.

 

Wyoming

In Wyoming, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.



Body Armor Laws in the US

We all have a right to protect ourselves and our families.  As such, we have a legal right to acquire and wear body armor for personal and professional protection. In turn, it is also legal to sell bulletproof vests and other types of body armor to anyone in the US. 

It is the responsibility of the buyer to ascertain whether he is legally able to purchase and use body armor. This responsibility does not fall on the shoulders of the retailer. 

It is perfectly safe and legal for retailers to sell bulletproof vests to the general public. People who purchase bulletproof vests and other types of body armor are upstanding citizens who simply wish to protect themselves, their employees and their families from harm.  

Convicted felons surrender their right to own body armor.  The US has a federal ban on the possession of body armor by convicted felons (18 U.S.C. 931). Felons can only purchase bulletproof vests if their employer requires it and they get written permission to do so. Still, it is the responsibility of the felon to refrain from buying body armor. Only he can be prosecuted if he makes an illegal purchase. Retailers are not liable for what happens to body armor after it is sold. 

Where you can sell body armor:
1.  You can sell body armor to any person in a face-to-face transaction.  No ID or background check is required and no special record keeping is needed.
2.  You can ship body armor to 49 states.  Sales to customers in Connecticut can only be done via face-to-face transaction.
3.  You can sell body armor via a store, gun show, website, via the phone or catalog.  

Where you cannot sell body armor: 
1.  You cannot sell body armor to Connecticut via the mail.
2.  You cannot ship, take, bring, or send body armor outside the USA without Federal permission.

Source: Bulletsafe (2016). http://www.bulletsafe.com/body-armor-law-wyoming.html

 

International Purchases

Australia- it is illegal to possess body armor without authorization in certain territories (South Australia, Victoria, Northern Territory, ACT, Queensland and New South Wales).

Canadian provinces- (Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba and Nova Scotia) a license is required to possess body armor, though there are no such restrictions in the rest of the country.

European Union- ballistic protection that is considered ‘for main military usage’ is forbidden to civilians.

UK- There are currently no restrictions on purchasing and owning body armor.

ALL INTERNATIONAL PURCHASES- We cannot ship, take, bring, or send body armor outside the USA without Federal permission.

Source: Safeguard Clothing (2016). http://www.safeguardclothing.com/articles/body-armor-us-laws/