Jacobs, Higgins join forces to restrict access to body armor
U.S. Reps. Chris Jacobs (NY-27), Grace Meng (NY-06), and Brian Higgins (NY-26) introduced bipartisan legislation in the House of Representatives that seeks to restrict access to enhanced body armor, and they named the measure in memory of Aaron Salter Jr., the retired Buffalo Police Officer and supermarket security guard killed in the Buffalo massacre who was unable to stop the shooter since he was protected by enhanced body armor during the attack.
“Four weeks ago, we witnessed an unspeakable tragedy here in Buffalo when ten people were massacred at a local grocery store,” said Rep. Jacobs. “One of those victims, Aaron Salter, was the security guard for that store and gave his life protecting others who were inside. His heroic confrontation of the shooter undoubtedly saved lives. Unfortunately, the shooter was wearing enhanced body armor that protected him from Aaron’s attempts to take him down. Had the killer not had such armor, the outcome would have been one with much less bloodshed. There is simply no reason for enhanced body armor to be used without restriction on our streets. It puts others in extraordinary danger and prevents the swift termination of a dangerous threat. We have an opportunity to make a real change here, and that is why I am proud to join Rep. Meng and Rep. Higgins in introducing the bipartisan ‘Aaron Salter Jr. Responsible Body Armor Possession Act’ to ensure military-grade armor cannot be used for malicious purposes. I urge every one of my colleagues to support it.”
“Armor designed for warfare has no place on our streets, and the ‘Aaron Salter Jr. Responsible Body Armor Possession Act’ is a common-sense step to ensure that enhanced body armor is not in the hands of bad actors,” said Rep. Meng. “Gun violence plagues our communities, and a gunman who is protected by enhanced body armor is even more frightening. Over the last decade, there have been 17 mass shootings where the gunman was protected by some form of body armor. That is two and a half times more than the previous three decades. When would-be shooters are able to arm themselves with military-grade equipment, our community is at increased risk. We must ensure that our law enforcement community – and everyone who is the first to respond to shootings – are not facing military-grade equipment that inhibits their ability to respond to the shooter. I urge all my colleagues in the House to support this legislation to help prevent future tragedies from occurring.”
“Aaron Salter was a 30-year veteran of the Buffalo Police Department, he saved many lives, but ultimately was rendered defenseless due to the shooter’s body armor, allowing a racist shooter’s rampage on a neighborhood supermarket to continue,” said Rep. Higgins. “This is a public safety bill named for a hero, which will protect communities as well as law enforcement dedicating themselves to answering the call in emergency situations.”
The Aaron Salter Jr. Responsible Body Armor Possession Act would prohibit the sale, transfer or possession of enhanced body armor by civilians – specifically, those body armor that meets or exceeds a Level III ballistic resistance level as determined by the National Institution of Justice. Presently, there are no federal restrictions on civilians' access to this level of body armor which can be legally purchased online. Law enforcement, active-duty military and other public servants whose job responsibilities require them to possess body armor would be exempted under this measure.