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Body Armor Sales Rise As Mass Shootings Spike

Retailers and manufacturers of body armor are reporting increased sales due in part to new customers seeking more protection after the recent spate of mass shootings, NPR reports. Representatives of four sellers of body armor (National Body Armor, Spartan Armor Systems, Armored Republic and UARM USA Corp.) said they saw some rise in sales after mass shootings in Uvalde, Tx., and Buffalo, N.Y. They declined to provide specific numbers. These businesses believe their customers are feeling increasingly unsafe and are looking for more protection. After the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, parents especially have felt like they need to do something. Dave Goldberg, the CEO of National Body Armor, said his company experienced a boost in sales immediately following the mass shooting at a grocery store in Buffalo. "We've been increasing ever since," he said. "We went from having most products in stock, shipping same day, to now taking four to six weeks." Customers are buying items such as covert bulletproof T-shirts and backpacks as well as standard bulletproof vests of various strengths.

This broader trend in increased body-armor sales tracks with a rise in gun sales in the past few years. In April 2021, gun sellers reported that first-time gun buyers were pushing a surge in sales. Restrictions on who can buy body armor in the U.S. are few. People convicted of a violent felony are banned from purchasing body armor, but regulatory enforcement of that law is lax, according to sellers. Connecticut requires sales of body armor to be made in person, and New York has enacted restrictions on what types of body armor can be sold and who can buy it. Beyond that, no states require any kind of background check or permit. Sellers say they require buyers to be at least 18. Many retailers said gun owners are the most common return customer. They purchase body armor as an accessory to go with their weapon. There is growing popularity among people who just want a body shield to wear in everyday life. "Most people haven't worn body armor before, and they just want to be able to wear something and feel comfortable that if they were shot with a handgun, they're gonna be protected," Goldberg said of National Body Armor's customers.


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