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What are laws on Body Armor per state?

What are laws on Body Armor per state?

Jul 02, 2021
UNITED STATES BODY ARMOR LAWS BY STATE Alabama Alabama doesn't have any...

What are laws on Body Armor per state?

What are laws on Body Armor per state?

UNITED STATES BODY ARMOR LAWS BY STATE


Alabama

Alabama doesn't have any additional body armor laws. In Alabama, any civilian can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or in person.

Alaska

In Alaska, civilians can purchase and use a bulletproof vest,  but not if he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

Arizona

Like many other states, Arizona has a law in place that makes it illegal to wear body armor during the commission of a crime. This does not affect body armor retailers.

Arkansas

In Arkansas, it is a Class A Misdemeanor to possess body armor if you have been convicted of murder, manslaughter, aggravated robbery, assault, or battery, and this law does not affect body armor retailers.
In any other case, civilians can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

California

In California, civilians can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

Colorado

In Colorado, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

Connecticut

Of all the states, Connecticut has the toughest law on body armor, prohibiting residents from buying or selling body armor except through a face-to-face sale. Online retailers cannot market and sell to Connecticut residents.
In Connecticut, it is a class B misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment for up to six months, a fine of up to $1,000, or both, to sell or deliver body armor unless the transferee meets in person with the transferor to accomplish the sale or delivery.
The law exempts sales or deliveries to:

    1. authorized officials or sworn members of local police departments, the State Police, the Division of Criminal Justice, the Department of Correction, or the Board or Pardons or Parole;
    2. authorized municipal or Department of Administrative Services’ officials who buy body armor for the above agencies;
    3. authorized Judicial Branch officials who buy body armor for probation officers;
    4. members of the National Guard or armed forces (CGS § 53-341b).

Delaware

Delaware has a law in place that makes it illegal to wear body armor during the commission of a crime. This does not affect body armor retailers.

Florida

Florida has a law in place that makes it illegal to wear body armor during the commission of a crime, and, and this does not affect body armor retailers.

In Florida, any civilian can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

Georgia

Georgia has a law in place that makes it illegal to wear body armor during the commission of a violent crime, or while trafficking drugs. This does not affect body armor retailers.

In Georgia, civilians can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

Hawaii

In Hawaii, all civilians can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless they have been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

Idaho

In Idaho, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

Illinois

Illinois does not have any additional body armor laws pertaining to retailers. In Illinois, any civilian can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

However, it is illegal to for individuals to wear body armor while in possession of a dangerous weapon, other than a firearm, during the commission or attempted commission of any offense. Unlawful use of body armor is a Class A misdemeanor.

Indiana

In Indiana, any civilian can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or in person.

A person who knowingly or intentionally uses body armor while committing a felony commits unlawful use of body armor, a Class D felony (up until July 2014, when a new law takes effect). The new law states that a person who knowingly or intentionally uses body armor while committing a felony commits unlawful use of body armor, a Level 6 felony. Again, this law effects criminals, not retailers.

Iowa

In Iowa, any civilian can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

Kansas

In the city of Topeka, Kansas, it is illegal to possess, carry or wear a bulletproof vest during protests, parades, rallies, assemblies and demonstrations. This statute does not affect retailers.

In Kansas, civilians can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or in person.

Kentucky

In Kentucky, any civilian can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

Louisiana

Louisiana has a law in place that makes it illegal to wear body armor during the commission of a crime or on school property. This does not affect body armor retailers. In Louisiana, any adult can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.
It is illegal to wear body armor on the premises of a school

Maine

In Maine, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless they have have been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

Maryland

Maryland law mandates that all civilians with a prior conviction for a crime of violence, or a drug trafficking crime, are prohibited from using, possessing, or purchasing bulletproof body armor without a permit issued by the Secretary of the Maryland State Police.

A civilian with a prior conviction for a crime of violence or a drug trafficking crime may file, for good cause shown, a petition with the Secretary for a permit to use, possess, and purchase bulletproof body armor.

Massachusetts

Massachusetts has a law in place that makes it a felony to wear body armor during the commission of a crime. In Massachusetts, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless they have been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

Michigan

In Michigan, any civilian of age can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that civilian has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.
In Michigan, an individual who commits or attempts to commit a crime that involves a violent act or a threat of a violent act against another person while wearing body armor is guilty of a felony, punishable by imprisonment for not more than 4 years, or a fine of not more than $2,000.00, or both. This is not applying to state officers and security officers performing their duties while on or off a scheduled work shift.

Minnesota

In Minnesota, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

Mississippi

In Mississippi, any civilian can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

Missouri

In Missouri, any civilian can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

Montana

In Montana, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

Nebraska

In Nebraska, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

Nevada

In Nevada, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

New Hampshire

New Hampshire has laws in place that make committing a crime while wearing a bulletproof vest a felony, but does not have laws in place that prohibit sales of bulletproof vests by retailers.

A person is guilty of a class B felony if he commits or attempts to commit any felony while using or wearing body armor.

New Jersey

In New Jersey, any civilian can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless they have been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

Additionally, in New Jersey, a civilian can be charged separately for wearing a bullet proof vest while carrying out criminal acts. The practical effect is more jail time and fines. Separate penalties have a wide range depending on the seriousness of the underlying crime.

New Mexico

In New Mexico, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

New York

In New York, as of July 2022 private citizens can no longer purchase ballistic Level IIIA vests, you can still purchase Level III and Level IV plates and our carriers but that may change soon 

A civilian is guilty of the unlawful wearing of a body vest when acting either alone or with one or more other persons he commits violent felony offenses while possessing a firearm, rifle or shotgun and during and in furtherance of such crime he wears a body vest. The unlawful wearing of a vest is a class E felony.

North Carolina

North Carolina has a law in place that makes it illegal to wear body armor during the commission of a crime. This does not affect body armor retailers. In North Carolina, any civilian can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

North Dakota

In North Dakota, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

Ohio

Ohio does not have any additional body armor laws. In Ohio, any civilian can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

Oklahoma

Oklahoma has a law in place that makes it a felony to wear body armor during the commission of a crime. This does not affect body armor retailers. In Oklahoma, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

Oregon

In Oregon, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania does not have any additional body armor laws. In Pennsylvania, any civilian can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

Rhode Island

In Rhode Island, any civilian can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

In 2012, Rhode Island’s General Assembly passed a bill that forbids anyone convicted of a felony that is a crime of violence from buying or possessing body armor. This does not affect retailers of bullet proof vests.

South Carolina

South Carolina has a law in place that makes it illegal to wear body armor during the commission of a crime. This does not affect body armor retailers. In South Carolina, any civilian can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

South Dakota

In South Dakota, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

Tennessee

Tennessee has a law in place that makes it illegal to wear body armor during the commission of a crime. The unlawful wearing of a vest is a Class E felony. This does not affect body armor retailers. In Tennessee, any civilian can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

Texas

In Texas, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

Utah

In Utah, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

Vermont

Vermont does not have any additional body armor laws. In Vermont, any civilian can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

Virginia

Virginia has one additional body armor law, like many states: Any person who, while committing a crime of violence or a felony violation, has in his possession a firearm or knife and is wearing body armor designed to diminish the effect of the impact of a bullet or projectile, shall be guilty of a Class 4 felony. This law does not affect retailers.

In Virginia, any civilian can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

Washington State

In Washington, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

West Virginia

In West Virginia, a civilian who wears or is otherwise equipped with body armor while committing a felony offense, an element of which is force, the threat of force, physical harm to another or the use or presentment of a firearm or other deadly weapon, is guilty of a felony. This does not affect body armor retailers.
In West Virginia, any civilian can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

Wisconsin

In Wisconsin, any civilian can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless that adult has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.
In Wisconsin, donning a bulletproof vest during a felony or attempted felony can lead to an additional felony conviction, or the adding of extra years to the final prison sentence. This law affects certain individuals who might wear bulletproof vests, but does not affect retailers.

Wyoming

In Wyoming, anyone can purchase and use a bulletproof vest, unless he or she has been convicted of a felony. Bulletproof vests and all other body armor can be purchased online or face-to-face.

INTERNATIONAL:

The ITAR (International Trade Arms Regulation)

Pursuant to ITAR you may not ship or bring on your persons body armor out of the United States.

Body armor and helmets are crucial equipment for contractors, business professionals, NGO volunteers and government workers operating in dangerous areas abroad. They also can pose an organizational challenge due to export controls under U.S. law.

On June 7, the State Department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) and Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) proposed rules to reorganize the regulation of personal protective equipment (PPE), protective shelters and related items. Several items and technologies would be moved from stricter DDTC control under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) to new BIS-administered categories under the Export Administration Regulations (EAR), with license exceptions available under certain circumstances. Companies have the opportunity to submit comments on the proposed rules.

Under the “President’s Export Control Initiative,” the different U.S. agencies responsible for national security and export control have been systematically reviewing the country’s export regulations. These latest proposed rules result from the review of Category X of Part 121 of the ITAR (the U.S. Munitions List or USML). Under current law, Category X includes:

  • body armor for military applications, defined to include those with NIJ level III and IV characteristics;
  • helmets compatible with military communication hardware, optical sights or slewing devices;
  • anti-gravity, pressure and atmospheric diving suits;
  • certain clothing to protect against and reduce detection by radar, infrared (IR) or other sensors and visors/eyewear to protect against lasers or thermal flashes discharged by ITAR-controlled articles; and
  • tooling and equipment specially designed/modified for the production of Category X equipment.

The DDTC and BIS Proposed Ruleswould shift several items and technologies from ITAR to EAR control, in many cases easing or streamlining the regulations for use, export and manufacture of PPE, shelters providing ballistic or nuclear/biological/chemical protection and related items. Those items remaining on the USML would be clarified in a revised Category X. It is important to note that these are proposed rule changes which have not taken effect. Similar proposed rules are still awaiting finalization after several months pending review and comment, and there is no schedule for full implementation.

Under the proposed rules, armored plate “specially designed” for military use, body armor made to “military standards or specifications”and military helmets would be controlled by the EAR under new Export Control Classification Number (ECCN) 1A613, except for those NIJ level IV. The items which would move from ITAR to EAR control under the proposed rules include level-III body armor made to military standards and helmets compatible with military communications hardware.Certain specially designed shelters currently under ITAR control would also move to this new ECCN.4

Existing ECCN 1A005 would control soft body armor not made to military standards and hard body armor level IIIA or less. Police helmets and shields would continue to be controlled by ECCN 0A979.

Items, equipment, software and technologies controlled under the new proposed ECCNs would be subject to export control for all countries except for Canada, but would have license exceptions available under certain circumstances. The Strategic Trade Authorization (STA) license exception would provide an exception for the export of items and equipment under ECCN 1A613 for destinations in or nationals of certain U.S.-allied countrieswhen end-use statements and other requirements of the STA license exception are met. The Temporary import, export and reexport (TMP) and Baggage (BAG) license exceptions would allow individuals to travel with ECCN 1A613 body armor for personal use under ECCNs 1A613(d)and 1A005 without a license to countries not subject to an arms embargo (however, export to Afghanistan would be allowed when meeting certain conditions and to Iraq under more limited circumstances). Additional license exceptions may apply for limited-value shipments and replacement parts. It would be advisable to seek guidance regarding whether these license exceptions may apply in a given circumstance and what implementing steps may be required.

Certain PPE would remain under ITAR control in a new Category X as described in the DDTC proposed rule. This includes:

  • NIJ level IV body armor, ceramic or composite plates and helmets or helmet shells.
  • Integrated helmets incorporating “optical sights or slewing devices, which include the ability to aim, launch, track, or manage munitions.”
  • Certain protective clothing, equipment or face paints specially designed to protect against or reduce detection by radar, IR or other sensors 900-nanometer or greater wavelengths.
  • Certain visors or eyewear “employing other than common broadband absorptive dyes and UV inhibitors” with optical density greater than 3 to protect against visible wavelengths, thermal flashes associated with nuclear detonations or near-IR or ultraviolet wavelengths.
  • Developmental PPE and shelters as well as parts/components/accessories/attachments developed under a Department of Defense contract.
  • Parts, components, assemblies and associated equipment for controlled PPE, including any component, part, accessory, attachment, equipment or system that is classified, contains classified software, is manufactured using classified production data or is developed using classified information.

Technical data and defense services related to the revised Category X would also be ITAR-controlled, but not test, inspection or equipment for the production of the controlled items, which would be EAR-controlled under ECCN 1B613.

The DDTC and BIS are accepting comments on the proposed rules until July 23, 2012. Companies, organizations or industry groups who use PPE or manufacture PPE, shelters or items covered by the proposed rules may be interested in commenting, given the potential impact of the changes being contemplated.


77 FR 33688 (June 7, 2012) and 77 FR 33698 (June 7, 2012).

Military design, standards or specifications serve as the dividing line between control under ECCNs 1A613 and 1A005 for level IIIA and lower plates and body armor under the proposed rules. Removal of such non-objective standards has been one of the goals of the export control reform initiative. BIS might consider clarification and introduction of more objective, positive standards during the comment period for these two ECCNs.

DDTC has already published a Commodity Jurisdiction (CJ) decision under present rules finding that an advanced ACH/MICH-style helmet, designed in certain respects to be compatible with communication equipment, was EAR-controlled under ECCN 1A005. See CJ of 6/24/2011 for Advanced Combat Helmet AS-501. MICH stands for “Modular Integrated Communications Helmet.”

In an important change for manufacturers of PPE and shelters, as well as equipment for their production, the proposed rules would move test, inspection, and production equipment controlled by ECCN 1A613 or USML Category X to new ECCN 1B613. Thus, test, inspection and production equipment for both EAR-controlled and ITAR-controlled items under USML Category X would be subject to EAR control. Similarly, software and technology relating to ECCNs 1A613 and 1B613 (including certain equipment relating to USML-Category-X items as noted above) would be EAR-controlled under ECCNs 1D613 and 1E613, respectively.

The countries authorized for these ECCNs under STA are Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, and the United Kingdom.

This would exclude armored plate “specially designed for military use” and helmets.

Information obtained from Pilbury law