A couple weeks back we reported on a bill introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives by California Democrat Mike Honda to ban the sale of body armor to “civilians” in the United States. At the time the full text of the bill hadn’t been released, but a couple days ago it was finally posted to Congress’s official website. And yes, it really is as bad as you’d expect . . .
Right off the bat, the Orwellian newspeak used in this bill has risen to levels previously uncharted. The unofficial title of the bill is the “Responsible Body Armor Possession Act,” and yet the language of the bill bans the possession, ownership, or purchase of “enhanced” body armor. Apparently, according to this Democrat representative, “responsible ownership” means an outright ban. I wonder if Gabby Giffords’ “Americans for Responsible Solutions” outfit operates under the same definition.
Anyway, on to the text:
SEC. 2. BAN ON PURCHASE, OWNERSHIP, OR POSSESSION OF ENHANCED BODY ARMOR BY CIVILIANS; EXCEPTIONS.
(a) In General.–Chapter 44 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:
“Sec. 932. Ban on purchase, ownership, or possession of enhanced body armor by civilians
“(a) Except as provided in subsection (b), it shall be unlawful for a person to purchase, own, or possess enhanced body armor.
“(b) Subsection (a) shall not apply to–
“(1) a purchase, ownership, or possession by or under the authority of–
“(A) the United States or any department or agency of the United States; or
“(B) a State, or a department, agency, or political subdivision of a State; or
“(2) enhanced body armor that was lawfully possessed by any person at any time before the date this section takes effect.”.
(b) Enhanced Body Armor Defined.–Section 921(a) of such title is amended by adding at the end the following:
“(36) The term `enhanced body armor’ means body armor, including a helmet or shield, the ballistic resistance of which meets or exceeds the ballistic performance of Type III armor, determined using National Institute of Justice Standard-0101.06.”.
(c) Penalties.–Section 924(a) of such title is amended by adding at the end the following:
“(8) Whoever knowingly violates section 932 shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 10 years, or both.”.
In short, the bill would make it a felony to posses any object that exceeds type III bullet resistance according to the NIJ standards. I say object because while the bill seems to indicate that the target is “body armor” it also includes helmets and “shields.” In theory, the broad definition in use for “body armor” could include things like large pieces of AR500 steel plate, which are commonly used as targets for long range shooters. Not to mention the people who depend on bulletproof vests to defend their lives. Little Jimmy and Janie can still have their bullet blocking backpacks as long they don’t work too well.
Mike Honda seems intent on forcing his constituents to become victims by removing all options available for self defense. No concealed carry, no modern rifles — not even the ability to own an ballistic-blocking object specifically designed to save lives. Banning bulletproof vests is like banning fire extinguishers because a couple people have been beaten to death with them.
There’s a silver lining to this cloud, though. Mike Honda is fighting a tough battle to keep his seat against a young upstart who’s getting more funding and endorsements, and it is quite possible this bill is nothing but an empty election year ploy designed to show his constituents that he is “doing something” about these evil criminals (never mind the fact that the likelihood of the bill getting a vote in the Republican controlled House is virtually nil). Thankfully it seems like his days of “helping” in Washington may be numbered.