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FPC Challenges New York’s Ban on Body Armor

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Three men wearing body armor

On July 1, Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) filed a lawsuit in the Western District of New York, challenging New York’s body armor ban.

Known as Heeter v. James, the case challenges New York State’s prohibition on buying and owning body armor. The State’s anti-protective equipment law was passed in response to Bruen, and makes it up to a Class E felony to “knowingly purchase or take possession of body armor”.

Why a state would ban benign, defensive, personal protective equipment is a question that bothers many citizens, Second Amendment attorneys and civil rights groups, raising the specter of a scenario in which the State could be weaponized against a defenseless civilian population.

“New York’s body armor ban shows that the State’s commitment to authoritarianism has collapsed into absurdity, making it a crime to buy and use simple personal protective equipment,” said FPC President Brandon Combs. “New York’s laws have gone so far off the deep end that it would surprise exactly no one if Governor Hochul and her goons banned safety glasses next. FPC looks forward to eliminating this Unconstitutional law and teaching New York another lesson about Constitutionally protected rights.”

The FPC suit challenges the ban under a Second Amendment argument, asserting that body armor ban is an infringement on the fundamental, individual right to keep and bear defensive arms in common use. The suit argues for relief for FPC members (if you’re in New York and not an FPC member, now would be a good time to become one).

As usual, the New York law carves out exclusions for a second tier of citizens, including:

  • police officers
  • peace officers
  • military personnel
  • and such other professions designated by the department of state

The suit goes through the significant and rich history of the both use of and development of body armor solutions as part of the American culture.

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