Body armor can be the difference between life and death for many law enforcement, military officials, and civilians.

After all, the numbers show that during the past three decades, body armor has protected the lives of more than 3,000 police officers. With the added levels of protective padding, the body armor can stop a broad spectrum of different ammunition types. And while the effectiveness of body armor is unquestioned, many people are confused if the body armor is legal or not.

Body Armor – The Legal Aspect

When it comes to body armor, it is important to understand some law restrictions about how body armor vest can be purchased and used. On that note, it is important to emphasize that this issue should be observed through the prism of the Federal and the State Laws.

I – Federal Law

According to the Federal Law, the body armor is regulated by statute, 18 U.S.C.A. Section 931. The federal law strictly forbids a convicted person for a violent felony to use, own body armor. The only exception is when wearing a vest is an essential part of his work. Such as perform a lawful business activity with written certification from the employer. A violation of this law can result in three years prison sentence. The law goes further with a prolonged sentence in case of using body armor in a federal crime or drug-related crime.

II – State Laws

The state regulations also prohibit a certain category of people from owning body armor and using armor in crimes. Moreover, some states sanction the use of armor during a crime by sentence enhancement. For instance, in Kentucky, a defendant that wore body armor during the crime is ineligible for parole.

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The most strict body armor laws in Connecticut. Possession of body armor might cost a Class B misdemeanor 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.

Another interesting example is the local law in Topeka City, Kansas where it is not legal to carry or wear a bulletproof vest during certain events such as protests, rallies, and parades.

General Rule and Restrictions

Other states have specific laws that prohibit body armor in certain situations. A notable example is Louisiana were wearing armor on school property and at school events is illegal. Nevertheless, there should not doubt that body armor is legal for law-abiding citizens. Therefore, they can purchase, own and wear body armor. In simple words, body armor is legal for legal activities.

The Bottom Line

On a final note, we can conclude that body armor is a legal privilege for most law-abiding citizens. However, it crucial to determine the local state legal framework about the potential of owning and using gear like body armor.