Is Body Armor Legal?

Can I buy body armor and is it legal? 

Is body armor legal? Can I buy body armor? These are valid and important questions to ask before making a purchase concerning your safety.

Finding body armor to purchase is not difficult, but the legality of body armor is confusing. As a general rule, law-abiding citizens can purchase, own and wear body armor. It’s your right to protect yourself.

There are a couple of nuances. By federal law, convicted felons are prohibited from buying and owning body armor. In some states (listed below), only felons of violent crimes are barred from owning body armor.

In certain states, if used while committing a crime, wearing body armor can add charges to a sentence. Much like having a knife or weapon on your person would add charges because it signifies intent.

You are allowed to purchase and sell body armor in person, over the phone or online in all states except for Connecticut. In Connecticut, body armor must be sold face to face, and thus cannot be purchased online or over the phone.  

Listed below are each state’s general rules and regulations concerning body armor legality.

**This information has been gathered for your convenience and should be viewed as educational material, not as the final say on the topic of body armor and the legality of possession or purchase thereof. You are responsible to do your own research and make your own decision related to your purchase, possession, use, etc. of body armor.

Alabama

In Alabama it is prohibited for convicted felons to own body armor.

Alaska

In Alaska it is prohibited for convicted felons to own body armor.

Arizona

In Arizona it is prohibited for convicted felons to own body armor.

It is a class 4 felony to commit a felony while knowingly wearing or using body armor.

“Body armor” relates to any “clothing or equipment designed in whole or in part to minimize the risk of injury from a deadly weapon.”

Arkansas

A convicted felon of a violent crime may not own or purchase body armor. It is a class A misdemeanor. Violent crimes include murder, manslaughter, aggravated robbery, battery in the first degree and aggravated assault.

“Body armor” refers to a physically worn item intended to provide protection from bullets.

California

In California it is prohibited for convicted felons to own body armor.

 It is a felony to commit a violent offense while wearing a body vest. The addition of a body vest during the crime can add from one to five years to a sentence.

 “Body vest” refers to “any bullet-resistant material intended to provide ballistic and trauma protection for the wearer.”

 Colorado

 In Colorado it is prohibited for convicted felons to own body armor.

 Connecticut 

In Connecticut is a class A misdemeanor for convicted felons to own body armor.

You may NOT purchase body armor online or over the phone. All transactions must be in person. It is a class B misdemeanor to purchase body armor without meeting the seller face to face. Failing to keep this ordinance is punishable by imprisonment, a fine or both. There are exceptions for law enforcement professionals, government officials and military members.

“Body armor” is defined as “material designed to be worn on the body and to provide bullet penetration resistance.”

Delaware

In Delaware it is prohibited for convicted felons to own body armor.

It is considered a class B felony to wear body armor while to committing or attempting to commit a felony.

“Body armor” is material worn on the body that provides “bullet penetration resistance.”

Florida

In Florida it is prohibited for convicted felons to own body armor. 

It is a third-degree felony to commit crimes such as murder, robbery and kidnapping among others while wearing a body vest.

A “body vest” refers to threat level I, soft body armor.

Georgia 

It is prohibited for convicted felons to own body armor. 

As in other states, it is a felony in Georgia to commit or attempt to commit a crime while wearing a bulletproof vest (harsher sentences for crimes involving narcotics).

“Bulletproof vest” refers to threat level I, soft body armor that is bullet resistant. 

Hawaii

It is prohibited for convicted felons to own body armor in Hawaii.

Idaho

In Idaho it is prohibited for convicted felons to own body armor.

Illinois

In Illinois it is prohibited for convicted felons to own body armor.

It is a class A misdemeanor to knowingly wear body armor and possess a dangerous weapon, other than a firearm, while committing a crime.

“Body armor” refers to soft body armor designed to stop bullets that is wearable and can be concealed.

Indiana

In Indiana it is prohibited for felons to own body armor.

In Indiana it is a level 6 felony to knowingly or intentionally wear body armor while committing a felony. It is considered an unlawful use of body armor.

“Body armor,” in this context, means metal or another material that protects against weapons or other “bodily injury.”

Iowa

In Iowa it is prohibited for convicted felons to own body armor.

Kansas

Convicted felons are prohibited from owning or purchasing body armor unless it is for their employment.

It is a crime to commit a felony while wearing body armor. 

In the city of Topeka, Kansas, it is illegal to wear body armor during parades, rallies, demonstrations, assemblies and protests. 

“Body armor” means “clothing or a device designed or intended to protect a person’s body or a portion of a person’s body from death or injury caused by a firearm.”

Kentucky

In Kentucky it is prohibited for convicted felons to own body armor.

Louisiana

In Louisiana it is prohibited for convicted felons to own body armor.

Louisiana law states that it is unlawful to own body armor if someone has been convicted of a violent crime, burglary or robbery, trespassing, wrongful use of weapons, making or possessing a bomb, or a drug violation.

“Body armor” is defined as a metal or other material that protects against weapons or other bodily injury.

Maine

In Maine it is prohibited for convicted felons to own body armor.

Maryland

A convicted felon may not own body armor. However, one may apply for a permit to own body armor.

It is unlawful to wear bulletproof body armor as it relates to drug trafficking crimes or crimes of violence. If convicted a misdemeanor charge, fine or jail time may be applied.

“Bulletproof body armor” refers to a material or article that is worn to resist ammunition.

Massachusetts

Convicted felons are prohibited from owning body armor.

 In Massachusetts, it is unlawful to use or wear body armor while attempting to commit or committing a felony. This is an imprisonable offense.

“Body armor” is defined as glass fiber or any other material designed to protect the wearer against ammunition or other weapons.

Michigan

It is illegal for a felon convicted of a violent crime to purchase or possess body armor. Acting against this law may result in jail time or a fine. However, if body armor is needed for employment, permission may be granted for the person to use body armor.

“Body armor” means “clothing or a device designed or intended to protect an individual's body

Minnesota

In Minnesota it is prohibited for convicted felons to own body armor.

It is a felony, punishable by jail time, a fine, or both, to commit a gross misdemeanor or felony while wearing or possessing a bullet-resistant vest.

“Bullet-resistant vest” is understood to be “a bullet-resistant garment that provides ballistic and trauma protection.”

Mississippi

In Mississippi it is prohibited for convicted felons to own body armor.

Missouri

It is a Class D felony to own, purchase, or possess body armor in Missouri if one has been convicted of or attempted a dangerous felony while wearing body armor. However, if deemed required for employment, livelihood, or safety with permission from law enforcement, one is allowed to own body armor.   

“Body armor” refers to “those parts of a complete armor that provide ballistic resistance to the penetration of the test ammunition for which a complete armor is certified.” In this case, body armor includes plates with or without a carrier. 

Montana

In Montana it is prohibited for convicted felons from owning body armor.

Nebraska

In Nebraska it is prohibited for convicted felons from owning body armor. 

Nevada

Nevada law states that convicted felons cannot own, purchase, or possess body armor unless he or she has been pardoned. The penalty is imprisonment, a fine or both. 

“Body armor” is understood as “clothing or a device designed or intended to protect the body or a portion of the body of a person from injury caused by a firearm, regardless of whether the clothing or device is to be worn alone or as a complement to other clothing or another device.”

 New Hampshire

In New Hampshire it is prohibited for convicted felons to own body armor.

It is a class B felony to attempt or commit a crime while possessing body armor.

New Jersey 

In New Jersey it is prohibited for convicted felons to own body armor.

It is against the law to wear a body vest while in the act or in attempt to run after committing murder, manslaughter, robbery, sexual assault, burglary, kidnaping, criminal escape or assault.

“Body vest” refers to body armor used to protect against bullets and ballistic trauma.

New Mexico

Convicted felons are prohibited from purchasing body armor in the state of New Mexico.

New York

According to the New York Senate, it is unlawful to commit a felony involving a firearm, rifle or shotgun while wearing a body vest.

A “body vest” refers to a material that provides threat level I protection.

North Carolina

Convicted felons are prohibited from possessing body armor.

In North Carolina, it is illegal to wear or possess a bullet-proof vest while committing a crime.

North Dakota

Convicted felons are prohibited from owning body armor.

Ohio

Convicted felons are prohibited from owning body armor.

It is a felony to commit or attempt a violent offense while carrying or wearing body armor.

“Body armor” means “any vest, helmet, shield, or similar item that is designed or specifically carried to diminish the impact of a bullet or projectile upon the offender's body.”

Oklahoma

As in most states, it is a felony in Oklahoma, punishable by jail time, to commit or attempt to commit a felony while wearing body armor.

Unless approved by law enforcement, convicted felons are prohibited from owning or purchasing body armor.

“Body armor” is defined as “a vest or shirt of ten plies or more of bullet resistant material.”

Oregon

It is a class B felony to commit or attempt to commit a violent felony or misdemeanor while knowingly possessing or wearing body armor. Convicted felons are prohibited from buying or owning body armor.

“Body armor” refers to “any clothing or equipment designed in whole or in part to minimize the risk of injury from a deadly weapon.”

Pennsylvania

In PA, it is a felony in the third degree to commit or attempt to commit a felony while wearing or possessing body armor.

“Body armor” refers to any protective covering for the body made of fiber, glass fiber or another material designed to stop ammunition or other weapons.

Rhode Island

In Rhode Island, convicted felons of violent crimes are prohibited from buying, owning, or possessing body armor. However, if approved by the government, convicted felons may possess body armor for employment and other approved activities. Failure to comply may result in prison time, a fine or both.

“Body armor” is defined as “personal protective body covering intended to protect against gunfire.”

South Carolina

Convicted felons of violent crimes may not buy, own or possess body armor. There are exceptions for employment and other approved activities.

It is a felony to commit or attempt to commit a violent crime while wearing body armor. The penalty is prison time, a fine or both.

“Body armor” refers to “clothing or a device designed or intended to protect an individual's body or a portion of an individual's body from injury caused by a firearm”

South Dakota

Convicted felons are prohibited to purchase or own body armor in South Dakota.

Tennessee

Convicted felons may not own or purchase body armor.

It is considered a class E felony to knowingly commit a felony of violence, burglary or car theft, arson, or a felony involving controlled substances while wearing a body vest.

“Body vest” refers to threat level I, bullet-resistant, soft armor.

Texas

In Texas it is a third-degree felony for a convicted felon to own or possess metal or body armor.

“Metal or body armor” is defined as “any body covering manifestly designed, made, or adapted for the purpose of protecting a person against gunfire.”

Utah

In Utah it is an increased penalty for someone wearing body armor who commits, and is convicted of, a violent felony or an attempt involving a dangerous weapon. The sentence for this crime can be a first, second- or third-degree felony. 

“Body armor” refers to “any material designed or intended to provide bullet penetration resistance or protection from bodily injury caused by a dangerous weapon.”

Vermont

Convicted felons are prohibited from purchasing body armor in Vermont.

Virginia

Convicted felons may not purchase body armor in Virginia.

It is a Class 4 felony to commit a crime of violence or a felony involving controlled substances while wearing body armor and possessing a firearm or knife.

Virginia law defines body armor as material “designed to diminish the effect of the impact of a bullet or projectile.”

Washington

In Washington convicted felons are prohibited from purchasing body armor.

West Virginia

Those convicted of a felony may not purchase body armor 

It is a crime to commit a felony offense involving physical force, threats of force or a firearm while wearing body armor. If convicted, the penalty is imprisonment, a fine or both.

West Virginia defines “body armor” as a “jacket, vest, or other similar apparel or device constructed to provide ballistic resistance to penetration and deformation and intended to protect the human torso against gunfire. 

Wisconsin

A convicted felon of a violent crime may not own or possess body armor in Wisconsin. One can apply to law enforcement for an exception on the grounds of personal safety among other reasons.

“Body armor” is defined as “any garment that is designed, redesigned, or adapted to prevent bullets from penetrating through the garment.”

Wyoming

In Wyoming convicted felons are prohibited from owning body armor.

**Premier Body Armor is not the official authority on these laws and regulations. For more information, contact your local government official, law enforcement officer or lawyer.

Sources: We found our information from the following links.

Alabama: https://www.criminaldefenselawyer.com/resources/criminal-defense/criminal-offense/when-its-illegal-to-own-a-bullet-proof-vest

 

Alaska: https://www.criminaldefenselawyer.com/resources/criminal-defense/criminal-offense/when-its-illegal-to-own-a-bullet-proof-vest

 

Arizona: https://www.lawserver.com/law/state/arizona/az-laws/arizona_laws_13-3116

 

Arkansas: https://codes.findlaw.com/ca/penal-code/pen-sect-12022-2.html

 

California: https://codes.findlaw.com/ca/penal-code/pen-sect-12022-2.html

 

Colorado: https://www.criminaldefenselawyer.com/resources/criminal-defense/criminal-offense/when-its-illegal-to-own-a-bullet-proof-vest

 

Connecticut: https://www.cga.ct.gov/2009/rpt/2009-R-0401.htm

 

Delaware: https://delcode.delaware.gov/sessionlaws/ga131/chp368.shtml

 

Florida: http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0700-0799/0775/Sections/0775.0846.html

 

Georgia:https://codes.findlaw.com/ga/title-16-crimes-and-offenses/ga-code-sect-16-11-160.html

 

Hawaii: https://www.criminaldefenselawyer.com/resources/criminal-defense/criminal-offense/when-its-illegal-to-own-a-bullet-proof-vest

 

Idaho: https://www.criminaldefenselawyer.com/resources/criminal-defense/criminal-offense/when-its-illegal-to-own-a-bullet-proof-vest

 

Illinois:http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?DocName=072000050HArt%2E+33F&ActID=1876&ChapterID=53&SeqStart=90200000&SeqEnd=90600000

 

Indiana: https://codes.findlaw.com/in/title-35-criminal-law-and-procedure/in-code-sect-35-47-5-13.html

 

Iowa: https://www.criminaldefenselawyer.com/resources/criminal-defense/criminal-offense/when-its-illegal-to-own-a-bullet-proof-vest

 

Kansas: http://www.kansas.gov/government/legislative/bills/2002/536.pdf

 

Kentucky: https://www.criminaldefenselawyer.com/resources/criminal-defense/criminal-offense/when-its-illegal-to-own-a-bullet-proof-vest

 

Louisiana: https://law.justia.com/codes/louisiana/2006/146/78742.html

 

Maine: https://www.criminaldefenselawyer.com/resources/criminal-defense/criminal-offense/when-its-illegal-to-own-a-bullet-proof-vest

 

Maryland: https://law.justia.com/codes/maryland/2010/criminal-law/title-4/subtitle-1/4-106

 

Massachusetts: https://malegislature.gov/laws/generallaws/partiv/titlei/chapter269/section10d

 

Michigan:http://www.legislature.mi.gov/(S(bbfjfzwhfkmbmvgphdt1fqpb))/mileg.aspx?page=getObject&objectName=mcl-750-227g

 

Minnesota: https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/cite/609.486

 

Missouri: https://www.criminaldefenselawyer.com/resources/criminal-defense/criminal-offense/when-its-illegal-to-own-a-bullet-proof-vest

 

Mississippi: https://house.mo.gov/billtracking/bills041/biltxt/intro/HB0919I.htm

 

Montana: https://www.criminaldefenselawyer.com/resources/criminal-defense/criminal-offense/when-its-illegal-to-own-a-bullet-proof-vest

 

Nebraska: https://www.criminaldefenselawyer.com/resources/criminal-defense/criminal-offense/when-its-illegal-to-own-a-bullet-proof-vest

 

Nevada: https://www.leg.state.nv.us/Session/72nd2003/bills/AB/AB64.pdf

 

New Hampshire: https://law.justia.com/codes/new-hampshire/2012/title-lxii/chapter-650-b/section-650-b-2/

 

New Jersey: https://law.justia.com/codes/new-jersey/2009/title-2c/2c-39/2c-39-13

 

New Mexico: https://www.criminaldefenselawyer.com/resources/criminal-defense/criminal-offense/when-its-illegal-to-own-a-bullet-proof-vest

 

New York: https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/laws/PEN/270.20

 

North Carolina: https://law.justia.com/codes/north-carolina/2014/chapter-15a/article-81b/section-15a-1340.16c

 

North Dakota: https://www.criminaldefenselawyer.com/resources/criminal-defense/criminal-offense/when-its-illegal-to-own-a-bullet-proof-vest

 

Ohio: http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/2941.1411

 

 

Oklahoma: http://www.oscn.net/applications/OCISWeb/DeliverDocument.asp?CiteID=69776

http://www.oscn.net/applications/oscn/DeliverDocument.asp?CiteID=69783

 

Oregon: https://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/166.641 https://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/166.643

 

Pennsylvania: https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/LI/consCheck.cfm?txtType=HTM&ttl=18&div=0&chpt=9&sctn=7&subsctn=0

 

Rhode Island: https://law.justia.com/codes/rhode-island/2014/title-11/chapter-11-47/section-11-47-20.4/

 

South Carolina: https://www.scstatehouse.gov/query.php?search=DOC&searchtext=own%25&category=LEGISLATION&session=0&conid=8243752&result_pos=950&keyval=1144012&numrows=50

 

South Dakota: https://www.criminaldefenselawyer.com/resources/criminal-defense/criminal-offense/when-its-illegal-to-own-a-bullet-proof-vest

 

Tennessee: https://law.justia.com/codes/tennessee/2010/title-39/chapter-17/part-13/39-17-1323/

 

Texas: https://codes.findlaw.com/tx/penal-code/penal-sect-46-041.html

 

Utah: https://le.utah.gov/xcode/Title76/Chapter3/76-3-S203.7.html?v=C76-3-S203.7_1800010118000101

 

Vermont: https://www.criminaldefenselawyer.com/resources/criminal-defense/criminal-offense/when-its-illegal-to-own-a-bullet-proof-vest

 

Virginia: https://law.lis.virginia.gov/vacode/title18.2/chapter7/section18.2-287.2/

 

Washington: https://www.criminaldefenselawyer.com/resources/criminal-defense/criminal-offense/when-its-illegal-to-own-a-bullet-proof-vest

 

West Virginia: http://www.wvlegislature.gov/WVCODE/ChapterEntire.cfm?chap=61&art=7&section=15

 

Wisconsin: https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/statutes/statutes/941/III/291/5m/a

 

Wyoming: https://www.criminaldefenselawyer.com/resources/criminal-defense/criminal-offense/when-its-illegal-to-own-a-bullet-proof-vest

 


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