FPC Sues State Of New York Over Body Armor Ban By: Mark Chesnut

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The fact that some states like New York ban the private ownership of body armor basically tells me just one thing—they want to be able to kill you without you having any protection to avoid that. Such laws are absurd, making anyone who owns body armor for any reason a criminal.

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Under current New York law, a “person is guilty of the unlawful purchase of body armor when, not being engaged or employed in an eligible profession, they knowingly purchase or take possession of body armor.” Further, it is not permitted for anyone to “sell, exchange, give or dispose of body armor … to an individual … not engaged or employed in an eligible profession.”

Violations are subject to a Class A misdemeanor for a first offense and a Class E felony for any subsequent offense.

A new lawsuit filed yesterday by the Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) is challenging New York’s ban. FPC President Brandon Combs said his organization filed the case, Heeter v. James, because of the laws absurdity.

“New York’s body armor ban shows that the State’s commitment to authoritarianism has collapsed into absurdity, making it a crime to buy and use simple personal protection equipment,” Combs said in a release announcing the lawsuit. “New York’s laws have gone so far off the deep end that it would surprise exactly no one if Gov. Hochul and her goons banned safety glasses next. FPC looks forward to eliminating this unconstitutional law and teaching New York another lesson about constitutionally protected rights.”

One item highlighted in the lawsuit was the popularity and widespread use of body armor.

“Body armor is in common use in every state for lawful purposes,” the complaint stated. “Indeed, a recent analysis of the body armor market concluded that American civilians spent $41.9 million on body armor in 2022, which is projected to increase to $69.2 million by 2034, as the materials to make body armor become more and more lightweight, thereby increasing the popularity of body armor.”

The complaint also pointed out that in defending the ban the state will have a hard time living up to the second standard from the 2022 Supreme Court decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Club v. Bruen.

“New York cannot meet its burden; there exists no American tradition of depriving citizens of the ability to lawfully purchase, sell, or take possession of purely defensive arms and armor,” the complaint states. “Indeed, there were no restrictions concerning body armor at all prior to 1900.”

Through the lawsuit, FPC is seeking a declaratory judgment that plaintiffs have a fundamental, constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms, including body armor, and that New York’s ban is unconstitutional. FPC also seeks a permanent injunction to block enforcement of the ban.