Sunday, October 4, 2015

War on body armor heats up

Under federal law, felons are banned from owning body armor. Now, Democrats in Washington want to put the rest of America's civilian population on par with felons when it comes to bullet resistant attire.

A Democrat sponsored bill was introduced in Congress earlier this year  would ban civilians from possessing more effective varieties of body armor. To help sell his bill, Rep Mike Honda of California labels such armor as "military grade", a deceptive term used to refer to body armor capable of stopping mid-range rifle rounds.

In a release from Honda, he quotes a California prosecutor who claims prohibiting Americans from possessing the means to block bullets fired at them "will serve to combat our nation’s epidemic of gun violence and protect communities."

Strikes me, Honda's bill, if enacted, would leave more bullet riddled bodies to be counted.

Let's move beyond Honda's inflammatory rhetoric, and consider some facts.

Best I can tell, just one state, Connecticut, presently decrees only police or other select agents of the state have the right to own body armor. Everyone else in Connecticut, even those facing threats of violence apparently, are SOL. Hardly seems fair.

There have been a couple of notorious shootouts where bad guys wearing body armor were able to chew the cops up pretty bad. But those events were in the 1980s, and 1990s. And it only happened a couple of times. I don't recall any recent headlines of such occurrences. Police have significantly upgraded their guns, gear and ammo over the past couple of decades.

The vilification of civilian body armor again went front and center last week when police disclosed the campus shooter in Oregon was in possession of it (though reports lack detail of the type of ballistic gear he allegedly possessed).

It is also now reported that this shooter in Oregon committed suicide. Body armor didn't contribute to his shooting toll as he killed people in a gun-free classroom.  As I've stated previously in social media posts, if this guy was wearing heavy duty (known as Type III or higher body armor), it probably slowed him down if, indeed, he was actually wearing it.

Body armor is heavy, and bulky. In most cases, it restricts mobility, as well as the ability to shoulder and accurately fire a weapon. Those who wear such armor in the police or military undertake extensive training to compensate for the drawbacks it presents.

Also, in Aurora, Colorado James Holmes was reported to have had body armor.  He surrendered rather than engage in a firefight with police. His body armor did nothing to advance his victim count, but he was so overloaded with gear, guns and ammo, his effectiveness in killing might have actually been higher if he'd traveled lighter.

Lots of people own body armor for legit reasons. Business owners in high crime areas (think pawn shops, liquor stores, indy convenience stores).

Emergency first responders are another group. Not all paramedics or ambulance drivers are public safety employees. In some communities, these are private workers.

News media too, often don body armor when covering events. War, riots, etc. often demand extra degrees of protection. Reporters and camera crews in Ferguson were so equipped - sometimes in gear provided by employers, sometimes they have to dig into a personal stash. In Ferguson, indy media doing live streams of protests reportedly made mad scrambles to get gear - some of which was purchased off eBay.

There was a civilian rush to buy body armor during the 2002 DC sniper shootings. Can't say I blame those who beefed up their wardrobes during that time of uncertainty. It would be impossible for most to do so, under the Democrats' and Rep. Honda's plan.

Body armor doesn't cover head to toe. There are points of vulnerability. In most cases, it is designed to protect a body's most vulnerable area - the chest, for example, with its lungs, heart and spinal column.

If memory serves, when Eric Rudolph was bombing abortion clinics (and other targets) back in the 1990s, there were clinic workers who began taking the extra step. Body armor isn't just for bullets. It can be effective against shrapnel and other fragments thrown by bombs or other explosions.

I don't recall the Left being so fearful of body armor when clinic workers were buying it up. Or when DC's government workers, their families, friends and neighbors were the ones packing it on.

No comments:

Post a Comment