New York Gov. Kathy Hochul has banned most state residents from buying bulletproof vests for civilian use with very few exceptions.
The law, which went into effect on July 6, banned all state residents “not engaged or employed in an eligible profession” from purchasing, owning, selling, exchanging, giving away or personally disposing of body armor.
The “eligible professions” initially only included police officers, peace officers and people currently serving in the United States Armed Forces or in the New York State Army or Air National Guard.
The law was pushed through the New York State Legislature following the mass shooting at a grocery store in Buffalo in May that killed 10 people. When the law was initially passed, it only banned “bullet-resistant soft body armor,” which could have potentially served as a loophole for civilians who wanted to buy bulletproof vests made with steel, ceramic or polyethylene plates.
Notably, this loophole does not cover the steel-plated vest the Buffalo gunman wore during the shooting, which was strong enough to stop a bullet fired from the firearm of one of the grocery store’s security guards.
Democratic State Assemblyman Jonathan Jacobson, the lead sponsor of the bill, admitted that they did not know the difference between the different kinds of body armor when they were writing the bill.
“I think the important thing was that we took important steps that lessened the possibility that criminals will be using bulletproof vests in commission of crimes,” he claimed, adding that he is willing to rework the legislation to cover body armor using steel, ceramic or polyethylene plates.