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Yes, a New York bill would ban civilians from buying or selling body armor

Across social media sites like Reddit, some users are claiming New York lawmakers want to ban the sale of body armor. That’s true for civilians.
Credit: stock.adobe.com

On May 14, 18-year-old Payton Gendron allegedly stormed into a Tops Friendly Market in Buffalo, New York, and fired into the crowd of shoppers with an AR-15 assault rifle. Ten people ranging in age from 32 to 86 were killed in the attack.

Gendron has been charged with carrying out the attack and is scheduled to be arraigned on June 2 on a 25-count indictment that includes state charges of murder and hate-motivated domestic terrorism.

Gendron was wearing body armor at the time of the shooting, and according to data from The Violence Project, at least 21 mass shooters over the last four decades have worn some kind of body armor — and the majority of those were within the last 10 years. The Violence Project is a nonpartisan research group that tracks gun violence.

On May 24, New York lawmakers introduced a bill that some social media users on Reddit say would ban body armor.  One post says: “So in their quest for stricter gun regulations, NY pols are now banning the sale/purchase of bulletproof vests? Am I missing something here?”

THE QUESTION

Would a New York bill ban civilians from buying or selling body armor?

THE SOURCES

THE ANSWER

This is true.

Yes, the bill would ban civilians from buying or selling body armor. People who can buy or sell armor would have to be employed in a profession that requires body armor for safety.

WHAT WE FOUND

New York Senate bill S9407B says “a person is guilty of the unlawful purchase of a body vest [or body armor], when not being engaged or employed in an eligible profession.”

No person, firm or corporations could sell or deliver body vests to anyone not in an eligible profession under the proposed legislation. The bill would also require the sale of a body vest to be done in person.

Eligible professions include police officers, peace officers, persons in military service in the state of New York or in other military service within the U.S., and any other profession deemed allowable by the governing department. Several state departments would establish the criteria for eligible professions.

“Such professions shall include those in which the duties may expose the individual to serious physical injury that may be prevented or mitigated by the wearing of a body vest,” the bill said.

If someone not in those categories purchases or sells body armor, they could be charged with a class A misdemeanor for the first offense and a class E felony for any subsequent offense. 

In New York, a class A misdemeanor may carry a sentence of a maximum one year in jail or three years of probation. In addition, the person could be fined up to $1,000.

A non-violent class E felony in New York can carry a sentence of one and one-third to four years of probation. The felony could also carry some jail time if the offender has a previous criminal record.

If someone not eligible sells the body vest, they would also be fined up to $5,000 for the first offense, and up to $10,000 for any subsequent offense.

The bill was sponsored by state Sen. Brian Kavanagh. On June 2, the bill passed in the Senate with a 55-8 vote. 

In order to be made law, the bill would have to pass through the New York State Assembly. If passed in the Assembly, it will be delivered to the governor who has the power to sign the bill into law or veto it. 

The VERIFY team works to separate fact from fiction so that you can understand what is true and false. Please consider subscribing to our daily newsletter, text alerts and our YouTube channel. You can also follow us on Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and TikTok. Learn More »

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