- Shooters used tactical gear such as helmets and body armor at Ovaldi and Buffalo.
- Studies show that flak jackets are increasingly being used in mass shootings.
- Body armor regulations are few in the United States, although New York may enact a ban on body armor.
The Violence Project, a nonprofit organization that tracks mass shooting trends, has noticed a rise in the use of body armor in mass shootings.
According to the group, 21 shooters have worn body armor over the past 40 years, most in the past decade.
Officials said May 14 in Buffalo, New York, a gunman used an assault rifle to shoot 13 people and kill 10 in a racially motivated mass shooting. The gunman was wearing heavy body armor that absorbed the impact of bullets fired by security guard Aaron Salter Jr., who died during the attack.
Ten days later, on May 24, in Ovaldi, Texas, a gunman used an assault rifle to shoot and kill 21 people, including 19 children. The gunman Yuvaldi was also wearing a tactical jacket, but the equipment, according to the bullets, could not withstand the law enforcement forces at the scene.
Other gunmen who have used body armor include the San Bernardino Shooters in 2015 and the Aurora Kino Shooters in Colorado in 2012.
Body armor ranges from bulletproof vests and stab wounds to ceramic plates that can withstand bullets. The majority of body armor is purchased by law enforcement, military, and security agencies.
Body armor and other tactical gear are readily available in most parts of the country, and many sellers can sell them online to citizens looking to protect themselves during home invasions, wear them at public events, or use them when hunting.
In the United States, anyone over the age of 18 who has not been convicted of a violent crime can purchase body armor. No background checks, ID or permits are required. Connecticut is the only state that prohibits most citizens from purchasing body armor online.
A New York state bill sponsored by Democratic Assembly member Jonathon Jacobson was to ban the “purchase or possession of a body jacket” in the state if one exists. The bill was introduced in January 2021 but was rescinded in March 2021 and will not go forward unless another legislator supports it.
After the Buffalo shooting, New York State Senator Sean Ryan proposed banning the online sale of flak jackets in New York.
Some politicians have unsuccessfully tried to pass legislation to ban body armor, especially after the high-level shootings. In 2014 California Democratic United States Representative Michael Honda proposed a ban on body armor after a gunman wearing body armor killed two people with an assault rifle in 2014.
In 2019, Senator Chuck Schumer proposed a bill that would require people to get permission from the FBI to purchase body armor. Nor did a similar bill sponsored by Democratic Representative Grace Menjing, Democratic Representative of the House of Representatives.
Representatives for Schumer and Meng did not immediately respond to Insider’s requests for comment.
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