Kathy Hochul gun assault weapon rifle
Photo: Office of the Governor of New York via AP
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By Maysoon Khan, AP

New York’s new law barring sales of bullet-resistant vests to most civilians doesn’t cover the type of armor worn by the gunman who killed 10 people at a Buffalo supermarket, a gap that could limit its effectiveness in deterring future military-style assaults.

During the May 14 attack, Payton Gendron wore a steel-plated vest, an armor strong enough to stop a handgun round fired by a store security guard who tried to halt Gendron’s rampage.

A law hastily enacted by state lawmakers after the attack restricts sales of vests defined as “bullet-resistant soft body armor.”

Soft vests, which are light and can be concealed beneath clothing, can be effective against pistol fire. Vests carrying steel, ceramic or polyethylene plates, which can potentially stop rifle rounds, aren’t explicitly covered by the legislation.

That has left some retailers confused about what they can and can’t sell — and lawmakers talking about a possible fix.

“I know you said soft vests, but what about hard armor plates, plate carriers, or armors that aren’t vests, but clothing that provide protection. Is that also prohibited? It is so vague,” said Brad Pedell, who runs 221B Tactical, a tactical gear and body armor store in New York City. He said his store tends to sell more hard-plated armor than the soft type being banned.

With the toughest armor still allowed to be sold, “I’m not convinced that this legislation is very meaningful,” said Warren Eller, a public policy professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

Assemblymember Jonathon Jacobson, a lead sponsor of the legislation, told The Associated Press he would “be glad to amend the law to make it even stronger.”

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, is also aware of the need for changes, her office said.

“Governor Hochul was proud to sign the groundbreaking new law passed by the legislature to restrict sales of body armor, and will work with the legislature to expand the definitions in the law at the first available opportunity,” it said.

Nationwide, there are few limits on sales of body armor. Before New York’s law passed, Connecticut had one of the few restrictions. It only allows people to buy it from dealers in person, not via mail order.

Pedell says many customers at his New York City store buy the armor for their own protection.

“It’s disappointing because residents are just scared, and they come to us because they are scared, and we offer help that makes them feel more confident, that they won’t get stabbed or injured or potentially killed,” Pedell said. “The fact (lawmakers) are taking that away, for whatever purpose they have in their minds, I find that really sad and unnecessary and morally wrong.”

New York’s ban is aimed at stopping criminals from gaining an advantage over peace officers, or security guards like Aaron Salter, who was killed trying to stop the gunman’s racist attack on the Buffalo supermarket.

The leaders of the Deadline Club, the New York City chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, had urged Hochul to veto the bill citing concerns about whether it would make it tough for news organizations to buy armor for journalists who work in conflict zones or cover civil unrest in the U.S.

“I know a number of photographers who have worn protective gear as a precautionary measure while out in situations that may get violent,” said Peter Szekely, the group’s advocacy chair.

New Yorkers are still allowed to own body vests and purchase them in other states, though Jacobson, a Democrat, said he would work to eliminate that option during the next Legislative session in January.

“We wanted to get things done as quickly as possible, and not let the perfect get in the way of the good,” said Jacobson. “Like all laws in New York State, we always try to make them better in the future. Of course we’ll try to make this law better.”

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  1. This Is what happens when someone that doesn’t know jack about something tries to wright regulations

    • Discrimination comes with Gun Control wherever Gun Control has been or wherever Gun Control goes. Like history defined slavery history also defines Gun Control as an agenda rooted in racism and genocide. And just like slavery Gun Control needs to be abolished.

      This your rights hinge on what an insane criminal decides to do today must be stopped cold otherwise kiss the 2A goodbye. The only way to stop Gun Control is define Gun Control by its history. Define it until the day comes when milquetoast America hears Gun Control they see nooses, slave shacks, burning crosses, concentration camps, gas chambers, swastikas and the like.

      Make no mistake about it…Gun owners who fail to define Gun Control by its history pave the way for Gun Control.

    • Let’s play “what’s the best caption” for the article’s top photo, lol:

      “And up next is this exquisite specimen of a weapon guaranteed to loosen the bowels of your favorite Leftist politician. While it doesn’t have one of the coveted ‘shoulder thingies that go up’, it does nevertheless have a post-style grip mounted forward, giving the observer a perception of impeding doom on a semi-nuclear scale, because forward grips make a gun more shoot-ier.”

      • How about: “Dianne Feinsteins daughter demonstrates for the proletariat what her bodyguards use to protect her and why it must be banned for all others”.

  2. I read all the further statements hearing “MOOHAHAHA!!!” in the background, with an evil mustache twist.

    • Not going to lie so did quite a few of us up here. Sucks that flexible concealable armor is a bigger pain in the ass to acquire but we don’t have evil geniuses writing our laws or justifying their existence as NYSRPA vs Bruin displayed.

      • After running around for a month now in my shiny new level 1V steel plates I’ve decided I’d rather just be shot. My beer gut would just deflect any incoming rounds straight into my neck anyways so on top of everything else I’d have to fight backwards. A sub-optimal situation all around.

  3. One suspects there’s all manner of ways to thwart the law, the same way tweaks to weapon designs have always outfoxed “sporting clause” restrictions, etc. Which is a good thing, as body armor bans make about as much sense as Dacian after he’s been binge huffing paint thinner.

    BTW, there are number of enterprising youtubers who have come up with ways of making fairly effective DIY body armor. You can’t stop the signal.

  4. Because denying civilians the use of a purely defensive item goes hand in hand with denying civilians access to suitable self defense weaponry.

    I’m sure all the store clerks at the stop and robs and bodegas appreciate the concern for their safety and well being.

    The ruling class has always been dismissive of the safety of the peasantry. “Armed guards and gated communities for me, jack squat for thee.”

    • Oh, civilians will have armor in NY. But only the civilians their ruling caste likes (cops, DHS, celebrities).

      I think it was Philly that tried banning bulletproof glass, which did piss off a lot of bodega owners when they tried to pass it.

      • It gets weirder (unless amended already) as you read into it. Can’t buy it or have it shipped to NY after July 5th area (forgot exact date) but if you already own or pick it up out of state it appears to be legal.

  5. Soft body armor doesn’t protect you from pain and organ damage from concussion, just penetration. You may still die from the impact. I dare any one of these numskulls that passed this law to see if they can withstand the impact of a 44 magnum ( which these vests are rated for ) without keeling over and begging to be taken to a hospital. One impact from any center fire handgun cartridge will most likely end any fight right there. These people are idiots.

    • Read the nij certification requirements and what 44mm of blackface deformation means re organ damage (cracking ribs and bad bruises is the upper limit). What you are talking about is more 45-70 and shotgun slug territory and bit have example (plural for shotgun) of survival but yes out of commission injuries. Pistol sucks to get hit with but organ damage is exceedingly rare even when threat level is exceeded.

        • Annnnnd came in to work with anti police protests. Apparently shooting a domestic violence suspect after stabbing a cop is racist.

        • And the cop that shot the suspect is black…… you know what go ahead and protest makes about as much sense as anything coming out of Albany for the last 6 years (longer really but it got crazy with Trump and kept going after)

      • Daily reminder that recently a border patrol officer in TX died when his body armor sustained backface deformation below the 44mm allowed. His heart stopped.

        • If true would be the first documented case of it ever happening and a tragic extreme outlier.

    • None of the laws passed in NY in the aftermath of Sandy Hook (2012) prevented the Buffalo shooting.
      None of the ones passed in the aftermath of the Buffalo shooting will stop the next shooting, either.

  6. Democrats are stupid sh1ts. They set out to specifically ban the armor used by that particular shooter, but they can’t even define that armor. Stupid sh1ts. Stupid, stupid, stupid. I like that pic at the top. Hochul reaches, and almost touches the rifle, but not quite. “Ewwwww, dead rat! I’m not touching that!” Did I mention stupid? Stupid, stupid, stupid sh1ts.

  7. I’m optimistic about the opportunity to litigate this new NYS body-armor law.

    The first step is to get a court to acknowledge that body armor falls within the scope of “arms” in the 2A. Once this is achieved, the rest of the argument ought to be clear-sailing.

    That I wear body armor is no threat to anyone. I am within my rights to bear such “arms”.

    A felon or other prohibited person can be disarmed of such arms. And, a criminal not yet a prohibited person can be punished specifically for bearing body-armor in pursuit of some crime (e.g., a robbery).

    If there is any “balancing test” applicable to the question, then what is that argument? What could the state possibly hope to achieve by dis-body-armoring a citizen who enjoys 2A rights?

    If there is a text, tradition and history test, what would that be? Statue of Northampton might be properly read to prohibit wearing conspicuous body armor; but, permit concealed body armor. What would we make of this in the NYS statute? Soft body armor is prohibited while hard armor is permitted. Armored car drivers need to wear hard armor, which is conspicuous. It could terrify the people; yet concealed soft armor should not have that effect. So, why would Northampton instruct that the NYS law is consistent with history?

    Body armor takes every argument for protecting the pubic against ballistic harm takes any balancing-interest argument unpersuasive. And it is this which makes the NYS law fascinating. It is, in some way, a Caetano II (where Caetano I involved a modern stun gun.)

  8. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m sooo glad that New York Democrats are so friggin’ stupid. The sad part is that, as stupid as they are, NY Dems are still smarter than the average NY voter.

    • NY’ers not on the D plantation chose to spend their days doing right-wing tribal-signaling rather than making converts among the downstaters.

      SCOTUS might be of help in NYSRPA v. Bruen, but NY’ers will forever have its scofflaw government and control-freak culture until NY’ers actually do the hard work of altering their culture.

      • You have the culture war backwards, NYC is doing everything at all levels to convert the rest of the state to their culture using all levels of media education and government of which they have held a monopoly for quite some time. California has a better voter distribution and realistically however many we can manage to convert our only viable strategy is forcing change through court challenges as we are a prime example of democracy working ™

        • Which one is in any way relevant? While I am very proud of how far members of my organization have been able to push several court cases your criticism is beyond unhelpful especially when we have had record numbers of new gun owners welcomed to the community. Not the first time you spouted this nonsense off either so what are you actually trying to communicate here?

        • I spouted off nonsense? You mean I am mistaken in claiming that most of downstate NY is grossly citizen-disarmist? Great to hear, and sorry about that!

          As for what I’m trying to communicate: If you are an NY’er, then I probably am not saying anything you don’t already know and aren’t already experiencing, so there’s not really much to answer to you directly. More generally, it’s not a secret that NYC’s been a citizen-disarmist shithole long before the current pushes for disarmism (q.v. the Sullivan laws, etc.), but NYC isn’t the whole of NY. What I was trying to get across is that making those changes to the culture will be required even given a few wins in the SCOTUS. SCOTUS cannot and will not take every case coming its way.

          I see it as no different as what they’re doing in Hawaii, where the government will be throwing up all sorts of mischief even as they’re dragged kicking and screaming on NYSRPA v. Bruen. True, they deserve to be righteously benchslapped every step of the way, but we should also remember that a SCOTUS that dictates every single detail of what they say 2A is is also one that can turn such against us when its own composition changes (or if some of them go squishy). It’s simply much better longer-term to turn those places into pro-2A cultures and have fewer of the cases happen to begin with. No one is saying that one should not take cases to court when rights are infringed.

        • Lot of words to not make a point. We know downstate is a pit and past long island we have limited success with helping new members. You painted the whole state with the same brush so yes nonsense now try again with a bit less ranting.

  9. They can ban all the hard metal bullet resistant vests they want as long as I’m still allowed to procure AR500 practice targets especially the ones that are curved to minimize the damage to the plate. I also like it when they diagonally clip the top corners of the targets so that it reduces some of the weight as I carry them out to the 100 yard line. Also I like shooting those 6×6 and 6×8 mini target plates. Lastly, I also prefer the target plates that have the “Environmental coating” on them that help absorb some of the fragments so that it doesn’t pollute Mother Earth with bullet fragments.

  10. What a flucked nation where CIVILIANS feel that they have to discuss BULLET PROOF clothing at all. It’s beyond parody to most of the world.
    I simply cannot imagine what it must be like wearing a STEEL PLATE vest all the time. All the time?? Of course because if not what is the point in the first place.

    • If you had a target painted on you due to the nature of your chosen profession, what would you be wearing? You are right that most people have no need for it, but why should those that do be prohibited from having it just because a bad guy wore it during the commission of a crime? Isn’t it just another way of the government telling you that they want it easier to kill you should they decide to do so? And what is to stop our nefarious ne’er do wells from crossing a state border and buying what they want? As with most gun control, only the law abiding are harmed.

      • Only the law abiding are harmed, Yep.
        And Albert, what ever happened to The Sun Never Sets on The British Empire, I guess all that Blue Blood inbreeding wasn’t such a good idea after all.
        Union Jackass

        • What happened was all their real men were killed off in two great wars, leaving nothing but mommas boys. That’s what happened. Again, evolution is indeed a thing.

      • That one painted a target on himself. And the only parody is that he’s as dense as a neutron star to think that body armor is a bad idea in the land of stabby stab everyone getting stabbed.

        Of course, I would be happy to give his panty wetting highn-ass a very personal demonstration of what it’s like sans armor, and afterwards with armor, to prove the point.

      • How many of the doing nothing cops in Uvalde Tx were WEARING VESTS? Yet they STILL did diddly squat. (I’ll bet was at least 90%)

        • In fairness standard patrol vests (kevlar or uhmwpe in level 2 or 3a) will do basically nothing with most rifle rounds. With that said I have trouble believing they didn’t have rifle plates readily available as even our podunk village police have some low end level 4 plates just in case.

      • Assuming not sarcasm any insert useful for the kids that is thin/light/able to handle m193 let alone 855 would start around $800 and 3-4 pounds at 1/2 an inch thick if it can be found as a single plate lately and prices only go up for any improvement. And all of that for a brief window of usefulness running away or getting low and having it in the way when a shooter is not able to advance or move around it’s protective angle. Not against the idea (especially for the more likely and less cumbersome pistol rated options) it’s just not cost effective for most compared to hardening the school.

  11. Did she really call it a glock tho? lmfao. Every time, they showcase a weapon used in a crime, they get it totally fucked up. It could be a knife and they’d be like “This spoon killing could have been prevented”.

    • If it doesn’t involve grifting the state (and Seneca’s tribal businesses) with Buffalo stadium our stand in governor is not really interested in getting it right and seems to be ok doing whatever her donors suggest. We don’t even get the occasional competency that Coumo demonstrated in only pushing things till lawsuits he couldn’t win started to kick in. Unrelated note need to check and see if any anti police protests are on for today as a domestic violence call saw one of the community shot after he stabbed an officer in the arm.

  12. I’m not sure why anyone would be surprised by this. The people running New York are not interested in safety, responsibility, or protecting people. They are not going to do anything that would be “common sense”. All they know how to do is force their will on everyone else. Idiocy goes hand-in-hand with tyrannical behavior.

    • Thankfully they do tend to go together and especially when we occasionally get to challenge both in court. And also this is why one should never even entertain the idea of giving up more rights for “safety” we will always end up with neither.

  13. Just another brilliant example of the Knee Jerk legislation that gets passed without the Lawmakers fully understanding the topic.

    It will do nothing but prevent the law Abiding from protecting themselves. Criminals will ignore this law just like they ignore the 23,000 and counting Gun Control laws already on the books.

  14. I departed my home town NYC in 1967. I enjoy shooting rifles at paper targets. You have one guess as to why I departed NYC. By the way, in the past, while still a resident of NYC, I held a security clearance. I have also held a Pennsylvania Concealed Carry Permit for 40 or so years. Never even passingly thought of returning to NYC, where the Pistol License Department of the NYPD puts the MAFIA to shame.


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