H.R. 5344 - Bill Banning Enhanced Body Armor

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
On Jul 31st 2014, US Congressman Mike Honda introduced a bill, labeled the "Responsible Body Armor Possession Act":

http://honda.house.gov/news/press-r...ion-act-keeps-military-armor-out-of-the-wrong


Washington, DC – Congressman Mike Honda (D-CA17) today introduced the Responsible Body Armor Possession Act of 2014, which allows law enforcement to respond to active shooters more effectively. It accomplishes this by prohibiting the sale, purchase, use, or possession of enhanced military-grade body armor by anyone who is not a member of law enforcement, active duty military, or other authorized users.

“There is no reason this type of armor, which is designed for warfare, should be available in our communities except for those who need it, like law enforcement,” Congressman Honda said. “There’s nothing more dangerous than what a well-armored, unstoppable active shooter can do. This bill is common-sense and long overdue.”
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There is a petition to stop this, which makes it seem like HR5344 is banning all body armor.
https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/pe...w-abiding-citizens-owning-body-armor/GNrBKFrF

WE PETITION THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION TO:
Stop H.R. 5344 from banning responsible law abiding citizens from owning body armor.
Preserve our right to own, possess, and transport body armor as a law abiding citizen of the United States. Stop H.R. 5344 from stripping citizens of our freedom and ability to defend ourselves and our families. Protect our freedom to purchase and own body armor, regardless of the protection level.

Created: Aug 08, 2014
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However this is slightly misleading, as the text of the bill bans 'enhanced body armor'
https://www.metabunk.org/attachments/honda_responsiblebodyarmorpossessionact-1-pdf.8380/

‘‘(36) The term ‘enhanced body armor’ means body armor, including a helmet or shield, the ballistic resistance of which meets or exceeds the ballistic performance of Type III armor, determined using National Institute of Justice Standard–0101.06.’’
Content from External Source
NIJ 0101.06 Defines type II (not banned) a protecting against anything up to a 9mm FMJ (Full metal jacket) or .357 Magnum JSP

Or as describe by a body armor vendor:
http://www.bulletproofme.com/Quick_Answers.shtml

  • Level II-A could be the best choice if thinness, comfort and concealability are the most important factors, e.g., if wearing for long periods, or with a lot of movement. Most folks opt for the extra safety margin of blunt trauma protection with a Level II or Level III-A these days.
  • Level II is often worn by police officers. A great balance between blunt trauma protection, versus cost, and thickness / concealability / comfort. What we recommend most often if concealing under light clothing is a priority...
  • Level III-A is a little thicker, stiffer, heavier and more expensive, but will stop more of the uncommon pistol threats, for example, it is tested for 9mm sub-machine-gun and .44 Magnum. Plus it gives you more blunt trauma impact protection – possibly better to return fire in a gunfight.
Content from External Source
Level III-A (commonly refered to as 3A) is what is being proposed as being banned.
 

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Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
So the conspiracy theory is that this is banning all body armour?

, obviously incorrect - debunked

Yes, but then there's also a broader conspiracy theory that this is part of some government plot to take over, herd people into FEMA camps, etc.

The intent of the OP was just to give perspective, since you can't really debunk things like the FEMA camp idea, I'm just trying to show what the bill is really about.

Of course many people still find the idea of banning 3A body armor to be objectionable and suspicious.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Its reminiscent of the "gov't buying billions of rounds of ammo" bit from a while ago.

Similar, however in this case the government actually are proposing to restricting ownership of something that is currently legal. The "billions of rounds" was just a misunderstanding of the ordering process and how many rounds are used. But both raise similar suspicions.
 

Pete Tar

Senior Member.
But what is the civilian use of body-armour? Is it part of hunting safety? Something people wear when they're out shopping just in case?
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
But what is the civilian use of body-armour? Is it part of hunting safety? Something people wear when they're out shopping just in case?

"Preppers" buy it in case of a collapse in civilization.
http://graywolfsurvival.com/2193/preppers-and-body-armor-safeguard-stealth-review/

And for what seem like a list for the overly cautious, including "working at a school" or "taking money to the bank".
http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2014/02/22/10-reasons-civilian-consider-buying-body-armor/
 

KAT

Active Member
Didn't people used to buy body armour and send it to soldiers in Iraq etc to make up for the poor quality they were being issued with? or was that just another anti-government story?
 

WeedWhacker

Senior Member
Didn't people used to buy body armour and send it to soldiers in Iraq etc to make up for the poor quality they were being issued with? or was that just another anti-government story?

Related story to help answer that question:

Soldiers headed for Iraq are still buying their own body armor — and in many cases, their families are buying it for them — despite assurances from the military that the gear will be in hand before they're in harm's way.
Content from External Source
Full article:
http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/world/iraq/2004-03-26-body-armor_x.htm

As a PERSONAL note.....this is a sad commentary on the United States military, and Congressional "over-sight" that allowed such a situation to develop.
 

Soulfly

Banned
Banned
Didn't people used to buy body armour and send it to soldiers in Iraq etc to make up for the poor quality they were being issued with? or was that just another anti-government story?
It might not be legal but a soldier could always give his family the information needed to purchase the armor. They could give it to anyone for that matter.
 

WeedWhacker

Senior Member
It might not be legal but a soldier could always give his family the information needed to purchase the armor. They could give it to anyone for that matter.

OK....I think the gist and point of this thread OP is about limiting the availability for "non-combat" U.S. citizens (i.e., civilians) obtaining body armor "apparel".

I would assume this, based on the concern about civilian citizens (NOT military) who, once so equipped, being a threat to legitimate LEOs and other enforcement agencies.
 

Soulfly

Banned
Banned
OK....I think the gist and point of this thread OP is about limiting the availability for "non-combat" U.S. citizens (i.e., civilians) obtaining body armor "apparel".

I would assume this, based on the concern about civilian citizens (NOT military) who, once so equipped, being a threat to legitimate LEOs and other enforcement agencies.
I know what it's about, thank you though.

Just pointing out that if the bill passed there could still be ways for a soldier (who is legally allowed to own it) to be able to purchase it even if they don't have the means to while in a combat zone.
 

jaydeehess

Senior Member.
Related story to help answer that question:

Soldiers headed for Iraq are still buying their own body armor — and in many cases, their families are buying it for them — despite assurances from the military that the gear will be in hand before they're in harm's way.
Content from External Source
Full article:
http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/world/iraq/2004-03-26-body-armor_x.htm

As a PERSONAL note.....this is a sad commentary on the United States military, and Congressional "over-sight" that allowed such a situation to develop.
But by gum they gotta keep buying A1M1 tanks even when the Army says they don't need more of them.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/04/28/army-says-no-to-more-tanks-but-congress-insists/
 

jaydeehess

Senior Member.
OK....I think the gist and point of this thread OP is about limiting the availability for "non-combat" U.S. citizens (i.e., civilians) obtaining body armor "apparel".

I would assume this, based on the concern about civilian citizens (NOT military) who, once so equipped, being a threat to legitimate LEOs and other enforcement agencies.
The video a few years ago, of the guys who robbed a bank in full armour and carrying pretty high power rifles demonstrates just how much of a threat this can pose to LEOs
 

Efftup

Senior Member.
Well this is the problem. Law enforcement wants civilian body armour banned to prevent just this kind of thing which HAS happened in the past and could get a lot worse as far as deaths of officers AND civilians is concerned.

This will however fuel paranoia that if "they" want to herd everyone off to FEMA concentration camps etc, they will be helpless if Obama takes away their guns and body armour.. etc etc.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Is the ammunition that can penetrate enhanced body armour illegal for civilian use?

Not entirely:
http://smartgunlaws.org/federal-law-on-ammunition-regulation/

Federal law prohibits the manufacture, importation, sale or delivery of armor-piercing ammunition, with very limited exceptions.10 In particular, specific exceptions exist for armor-piercing ammunition that is manufactured for certain federal and state government divisions, exportation, or testing.11 The Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) may also exempt certain armor-piercing ammunition primarily intended for sporting or industrial purposes.12

Licensed dealers are prohibited from “willfully” transferring armor-piercing ammunition. An exception exists for ammunition that was received and maintained by the dealer as business inventory prior to August 28, 1986, which may be transferred to federal, state or local law enforcement.13 Federally licensed dealers, to the extent they can transfer armor-piercing ammunition, must keep a record of any transfer.14

Armor-piercing ammunition, sometimes referred to as metal-piercing ammunition, is ammunition that is designed primarily to penetrate metal or armor, including body armor commonly worn by police officers. Under federal law, armor-piercing ammunition is defined as any projectile or projectile core that may be used in a handgun and that is constructed entirely from one or a combination of tungsten alloys, steel, iron, brass, bronze, beryllium copper, or depleted uranium.15 In addition, armor-piercing ammunition is defined as a full jacketed projectile “larger than .22 caliber designed and intended for use in a handgun and whose jacket has a weight of more than 25 percent of the total weight of the projectile.” Id. The Attorney General is required to furnish information to each licensed dealer defining which projectiles are considered armor-piercing ammunition as defined in 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(17)(B).16

The federal definition of armor-piercing ammunition, which is based on its content and weight, rather than on the ammunition’s actual performance against body armor, has been criticized because it fails to halt the manufacture and sale of all types of ammunition that can penetrate body armor.17

The existing ban on armor-piercing ammunition can be made more effective by adopting performance standards that require ammunition to be tested for its ability to penetrate bullet-resistant vests and body armor, as opposed to the existing standard based on the bullet’s content.18
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jaydeehess

Senior Member.
What does the hard core extremist gun lobby want? Neighbourhood militias with mortars, tanks, and full combat capability?

Iraq almost had that in the years of the failed American occupation. Worked out so well for them.
 
Surely this line:

Stop H.R. 5344 from stripping citizens of our freedom and ability to defend ourselves and our families.

would only apply in a combat situation where one would have the time to strap on the armour in anticipation of a perceived threat. With that being the case, presumably, there would be very little opposition to the bill as that kind of scenario is highly improbable in America is it not? So is this conspiracy mainly being raised by the types who anticipate a stand up fight with authorities and/or a lawless citizenry?
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Surely this line:

Stop H.R. 5344 from stripping citizens of our freedom and ability to defend ourselves and our families.

would only apply in a combat situation where one would have the time to strap on the armour in anticipation of a perceived threat. With that being the case, presumably, there would be very little opposition to the bill as that kind of scenario is highly improbable in America is it not? So is this conspiracy mainly being raised by the types who anticipate a stand up fight with authorities and/or a lawless citizenry?

You'd think. Body armor enthusiasts describe several use cases:
http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2014/02/22/10-reasons-civilian-consider-buying-body-armor/

1 – Dangerous Neighborhood
If you live in a dangerous neighborhood, you could be putting your life at risk every time you step out of your house. Someone may attempt to rob you while you are going to and from your car. It can be a great way to protect yourself and not have to worry about anyone knowing that you are wearing the body armor at all.

2 – Taking Money to the Bank
If you have a job that requires you to deposit money in the bank for a business, you want to be sure that you are safe and protected. The vests are lightweight so that you can easily move around while wearing it, but ensure that even if someone were to try to take the money from you that your chances of survival after a shot will be high.

3 – Receiving Threats from an Ex
When an ex feels as though they have been hurt, they may act out in a crazy way. The body armor will protect you, if he or she attempts to shoot you out of anger.

4 – Intruders Enter Your Home
If an intruder breaks into your home, the body armor will protect you, if they attempt to shoot you. It will also help you to have the confidence that you need to be able to get to your phone and call the police.

5 – Work at a School
If you work as an officer or even as a teacher at a school, body armor may be an investment you want to make. In the past, there have been many teachers that have been killed while on the job by individuals attacking the school. No students will be able to tell that you are wearing the vest during your workday.

6 – Work at a Bank
Working at a bank can be dangerous. The body armor is not illegal for you to wear to work and will not be detectable by a potential bank robber.

7 – Work Late at a Restaurant or Business
The body armor can be essential when you are working late at night as that is when most robberies occur. The vest will better your chances of being able to make it through the ordeal.

8 – Delivery Driver
If you work as a delivery driver, body armor can help protect you, while you are making your deliveries. There are people who get desperate and may try to take the items that you are trying to deliver.

9 – Courthouse Worker
If you work at a courthouse, you may have to deal with people that are not happy with the sentences that they received. If someone decides to attack the courthouse, you will be glad that you invested in body armor.

10 – Work at the Post Office
The post office can be very stressful and there are times when someone may snap. When this happens, it can cause them to go on a rampage and wearing the body armor will increase your chances of walking out of the post office alive after a rampage occurs.
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MikeC

Closed Account
I'm sure tank enthusiasts could recite several use cases where possession of a QF 75mm+ gun behind 50+mm of armour would be justified....and that list from Mick looks pretty reasonable to me :)
 

jaydeehess

Senior Member.
If I were to use these points as guidance I'd be wearing body armour all the time. I'd be sleeping in the thing, burglars don't really work sociable hours.

Mick's post number one in this thread states
"Level III-A is a little thicker, stiffer, heavier and more expensive, but will stop more of the uncommon pistol threats, for example, it is tested for 9mm sub-machine-gun and .44 Magnum. Plus it gives you more blunt trauma impact protection – possibly better to return fire in a gunfight."

I can tell when a LEO is wearing a vest and theirs are the thinner Level II. It makes them look quite barrel chested.

Of course the bill only applies to the heaviest protection vest available, Level III. In the cases described in the list , the vast number of times those scenarios would occur will not require this level of vest. This line really gets me
"Someone may attempt to rob you while you are going to and from your car. It can be a great way to protect yourself and not have to worry about anyone knowing that you are wearing the body armor at all" Since wearing the vests that this bill refers to WOULD be pretty visible to anyone looking at you (John, have you gained 25 pounds or are you wearing two extra sweaters?").Someone robbing you as you go to your car is right next to you. A level three vest may stop a bullet and save your life but its going to hurt. If the perp then notices you are still good to go he's as likely to recognize you are in a vest, at which point he may well assume you also have a weapon (its a pretty small leap of logic to make), and shoot you in the head.

The courthouse bailiffs may have access to such armour. Is the stenographer going to wear it? The Judge sits behind a podium that could better be armoured rather than the judge him/herself.

Threats from an ex or intruders in your home- what, you're wearing the vest 24/7? Really? Home invaders don't usually give you time to run to the closet and choose a wardrobe adjustment.

Money to a bank - since these type of vests are going to be fairly obvious, the perp just shoots you in the head from close range. He has to get close anyway to take what you have. Wearing a less obvious vest might do you better. You can get a level I sport coat or business suit.

Post Office/disgruntled employee - keep in mind that your co-workers will know you are wearing a vest of this type so if they go off the deep end they just shoot for the head. If you aren't wearing head to toe protection they target your upper leg, THEN shoot you in the head as you lay there in shock.
 
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WeedWhacker

Senior Member
Well....then the answer seems to be: "Aim for the head".

Slightly facetious, I know. The torso is the larger target...with many vital organs of course. Still, a person's legs and especially the thighs can be tempting targets, and sometimes fairly extensive in width........Bonus: Non-fatal (unless a major artery...the femoral... is hit), but certainly will bring a person down.

It occurred to me that the torso is 'only' a large target when it is viewed directly front- or back-on. A person presenting a side-view? Very different. I don't shoot, so this is a layman's bit of thinking, here. Too much Hollywood, I imagine.....
 
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KAT

Active Member
Head??? you guys ever hear of helmets? legs can bed protected, to some extent, with a kevlar suit, which can look quite like a normal one (though make you stick out a bit in areas where everyone else is in jeans).
 

WeedWhacker

Senior Member
Head??? you guys ever hear of helmets?

Yes....but a Kevlar helmet as part of an "enhanced body armor" ensemble isn't exactly 'covert'...I think some of the discussion pointed out that certain types and designs of torso protection can be concealed under appropriate clothing.
 

Jason

Senior Member

WeedWhacker

Senior Member
Hmmm....suddenly I am reminded of this OLD trope:

"One of the most common old saws touted by the NRA is “if we outlaw guns, only criminals will have guns."
Content from External Source
Reminded from this article.

When it comes to any attempts to enforce restrictions, people (whether legally or illegally) tend to find a "way" around any such limits.

Sadly.
 

Hevach

Senior Member.
Most of those cases mentioned above it seems to me the unaffected armors would be sufficient, some of them even preferable.

Honestly, the best argument for level III armor I can think of is one nobody seems willing to make: Hunting accidents frequently involve shotguns, sometimes at very close range, and while I can't find much information on what kinds of body armors are effective with shotguns, I would imagine concealability isn't a concern but maximum protection is. I know it's a long way from the narrative gun rights groups want, but that kind of drunken stupidity does happen. A lot. Consider a particular vice president who showed an epic disregard for the 10 o'clock rule and muzzle sweep discipline, and imagine if the same mistake had been made hunting deer instead of birds.
 

jaydeehess

Senior Member.
Head??? you guys ever hear of helmets? legs can bed protected, to some extent, with a kevlar suit, which can look quite like a normal one (though make you stick out a bit in areas where everyone else is in jeans).

From post 26 arguing against the bill
"Someone may attempt to rob you while you are going to and from your car. It can be a great way to protect yourself and not have to worry about anyone knowing that you are wearing the body armor at all."
Yeah a helmet would offer added protection. Part of the supposed appeal though is that you aren't obviously wearing protection. I don't envision helmets becoming common fashion anytime soon so its going to be a bit obvious.
 
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