Is It Illegal to Wear a Bulletproof Vest In Public: The Answer Will Surprise You

Is It Illegal to Wear a Bulletproof Vest In Public

There are always crazy things going on in the world, and you want to stay safe. Can you get a bulletproof vest, or is it illegal to wear in public? Certainly, no one wants to get shot. If you are at risk of taking fire, precautions are warranted. However, most people who have bulletproof vests are police or military. Are civilians allowed to buy their own body armor? Do you need special permits? Most importantly, where can’t you wear a bulletproof vest? I have owned body armor for years, and I will answer all these questions and more. Unsurprisingly, a good bulletproof vest can save your life. Hence, every prepared individual should have one in their EDC if possible. Naturally, it depends on where you live and a few other issues, but you’ll be happy to know you can get one. 

Is it illegal to wear a bulletproof vest in public? In the US, an adult can wear a bulletproof vest in most public spaces. Interestingly, there are notable exceptions in some states. For example, they may be banned at rallies and protests for practical reasons, so police can enforce laws if things get out of hand. However, most of the US allows any adult non-felon to wear a bulletproof vest in public. 

Can I Buy A Bullet Proof Vest

Not only can you wear a bulletproof vest (BV) in public, but you can buy one easily. Happily, with the increase in internet availability, getting your hands on a practical safety item like this is straightforward. Unless you live in Connecticut, where all sales must be in-person, you can order online.

Getting a bulletproof vest is not difficult. Fortunately, with a few basic measurements, you can easily find your fit. Furthermore, most bulletproof vests are adjustable. You only need to make sure it will fit around your stomach. Plus, they come in plenty of sizes for different bodies. 

I strongly recommend the BulletSafe Bulletproof Vest – Level IIIA. This well-known and trusted brand makes high-quality vests for everyone. From law enforcement professionals to high-risk convenience store clerks, everyone deserves to feel safe. Best of all, you can get a vest from extra small to 4XL delivered to your door. To find out more about BulletSafe, click here. 

Can Civilians Own Level 4 Body Armor

As a US citizen, you can own body armor. Luckily, so long as you are not a convicted felon, your armor’s rating is not an issue. Hence, any publicly available body armor is available to you as well.

Although no bulletproof vest can stop every bullet, it will still save your life in many circumstances. Notably, when you are getting shot at, your torso is the largest target. Thus, a BV is your first line of defense. 

Upgrade your BulletSafe Vest with BulletSafe Lightweight Level IV Ceramic Ballistic Plates. These lightweight and cost-effective plates will help you upgrade your vest to a Level IV easily. At just five-point six-five pounds, these incredible ceramic plates also contain high strength Polyethylene. Plus, they come in a nylon cover to prevent normal wear and tear as well. Have your vest and plates shipped today by clicking here. 


When Is It Illegal To Wear Bullet Proof Vests

Most places and times, including when you are in public, you can buy, own and wear bulletproof vests. However, there are some exceptions. For example, Topeka, Kansas, prohibits use during protests, rallies, and similar group gatherings. Likewise, it may be illegal to wear any body armor (BA) in government buildings or schools.

Exceptions include police officers and others lawfully engaged in jobs that require the armor. Regardless, if you are asked to remove your vest on government or private property, it’s best to comply. Both have unique rights on their own land. It’s a can of legal worms that’s better left unopened. Hence, if you feel your life is in danger there, don’t enter. 

Can Felons Own Body Armor

Convicted felons cannot own, wear or purchase bulletproof vests or body armor. Typically, this applies to violent felons. Moreover, any previously convicted person can mount an affirmative defense if they require a bulletproof vest for work. Employers can attest to this in writing. 

Additionally, in rare cases, other employees may also offer documentation. However, this usually applies only if an employer is absent. Still, there are some ways around this particular law. Always consult a lawyer for advice on how to handle loopholes.

Although not all body armor is a bulletproof vest, the reverse is not true. By law, a BV is body armor. Resultantly, all body armor laws apply to this piece of equipment. Other examples of body armor can range from cut-proof shirts to specialized helmets and more. 

The Federal Law

Bulletproof vests and other body armor sales are restricted by federal law. Unless otherwise noted, anyone who is a legal adult can buy BA in any state. Luckily, even areas with restrictions allow people to own and wear their armor. 

According to 18 U.S. Code § 931

(a)In General.—Except as provided in subsection (b), it shall be unlawful for a person to purchase, own, or possess body armor if that person has been convicted of a felony that is—

(1) a crime of violence (as defined in section 16); or
(2)an offense under State law that would constitute a crime of violence under paragraph (1) if it occurred within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States.
Subsection (b), not included here, refers to felons with dangerous jobs. Sensibly, employers can still hire and outfit anyone, even felons. There are additional requirements in most places. For example, employers may need to vouch for the need to buy the equipment before a sale. 
Unfortunately, some places like Rhode Island may not allow this practice. Notably, this most often applies to violent felons. 

Body Armor Laws By State

While it is legal to own and wear bulletproof vests and other body armor in every US state, the laws vary. Fortunately, most states have few restrictions. Thus, while Connecticut has the strictest laws, each state sets its own limits. Besides, no state can override federal law.

In states with added prohibitions and laws, you could face additional felony charges if you commit a crime wearing a bulletproof vest. Predictably, most states find it sufficient to prohibit sales to felons. Included below is a list by state of the current laws. Nevertheless, it’s best to check your local legislation carefully because some cities also have laws against wearing bulletproof vests. 

Make sure you order the correct fit when you get a BulletSafe Bulletproof Vest. Since they come in sizes up to 4XL, you don’t need to worry about whether your vest will correctly cover your body. Moreover, BulletSafe offers a convenient sizing chart to help you get the right vest based on your height and weight. Everyone should feel safe out in public. Get your BulletSafe vest by clicking here. 

State Laws on Bulletproof Vests and Body Armor Overview

States without specific laws are noted as NSL. Alternately, in areas with added laws, I’ve noted the basic premise. In addition, I’ve noted states where it’s illegal to wear bulletproof vests to commit crimes as AF. This indicates it is an added felony charge if convicted. 

  • Alabama- NSL
  • Alaska- NSL
  • Arizona- AF
  • Arkansas- In Arkansas, having body armor on is Class A Misdemeanor if you are convicted of assault, aggravated robbery, battery, manslaughter, or murder. 
  • California- Additional jailtime for wearing BA while committing a crime is two to five years. 
  • Colorado- NSL
  • Connecticut- Sales must be made in person. However, online sellers can ship to authorized officials. As a result, law enforcement and some others can order online. 
  • Delaware-NSL
  • Florida- NSL
  • Georgia- NSL
  • Hawaii- NSL
  • Idaho- NSL
  • Illinois- According to Bulletproofzone, you 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- AF
  • Iowa- NSL
  • Kansas- Intriguingly, no laws prohibit sale, purchase, or wear except in Topeka. 
  • Kentucky- NSL
  • Louisiana-NSL
  • Maine- NSL
  • Maryland- Anyone with a drug trafficking conviction cannot purchase body armor. 
  • Massachusetts- NSL
  • Michigan- NSL
  • Minnesota- NSL
  • Mississippi- NSL
  • Missouri- NSL
  • Montana- NSL
  • Nebraska- NSL
  • Nevada- NSL
  • New Hampshire- AF
  • New Jersey- AF
  • North Carolina- AF
  • New Mexico- NSL
  • New York- In NY, you cannot use body armor to commit crimes, most importantly, those involving firearms. 
  • North Dakota- NSL
  • Ohio- NSL
  • Oklahoma- AF
  • Oregon- NSL
  • Pennsylvania- NSL
  • Rhode Island- Violent felons can’t buy BA/BVs. 
  • South Carolina- NSL
  • South Dakota- NSL
  • Tennessee- AF
  • Texas- NSL
  • Utah- NSL
  • Vermont- NSL
  • Virginia- AF
  • Washington- NSL
  • West Virginia- AF
  • Wisconsin- NSL
  • Wyoming- NSL

Final Thoughts

There are a lot of armed people in the world. Resultantly, wearing a bulletproof vest in public is common sense. Hopefully, you’ll never need to stop a bullet with your body. However, if you get shot, a nasty bruise is preferable to death. 

Going above and beyond for self-defense is a smart survival strategy. Wearing a bulletproof vest is a practical solution. Consequently, while you may not need to wear it everywhere, a bulletproof vest still a vital part of any prepper’s equipment. 

Sadly, too few people know that they can get body armor online. If you are not a felon, get a bulletproof vest. 

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