Bill Would Ban Civilian Ownership of Body Armor

One of 3 New Gun-Related Laws

Bill Would Ban Civilians from Owning Type III Body Armor. Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Apparently considering civilians easier to demilitarize than the police, a Democratic lawmaker has introduced legislation that would ban most Americans from possessing body armor.

Further promoting what he calls the “modern progressive agenda,” Rep. Mike Honda (D-California) introduced the Responsible Body Armor Possession Act (H.R. 378), that would ban all Americans “except certain authorized users, such as first-responders and law enforcement,” from owning enhanced or Type III body armor.

Level III body armor is thicker and heavier than Levels I, II and III armor, but can still be worn under clothing. Level III armor is designed to stop heavier bullets, like those fired from .44 Magnum handguns and 9-mm submachine guns.

Specifically, the bill defines “enhanced body armor” as “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.”

By inference, Rep. Honda’s bill would also ban the private ownership of Type IV body armor, which is designed to stop even heavier bullets, and is typically worn only by police officers and military personnel.

Without mentioning the fact that criminals are also banned by law from owning guns, but do, Rep. Honda contends in a press release that banning civilian body armor would allow “law enforcement to respond to active shooting situations more effectively.”

According to Rep. Honda, the bill has the support The Peace Officers Research Association and The California State Sheriff’s Association, who contend that there is no reason for civilians to wear Type III body armor, as it is intended only for military use. The law enforcement organizations argue that shooters would use the body armor to protect themselves from police.

Body Armor Ban Just Part of a 3-Bill Package

Not stopping with banning civilian from wearing body armor in his efforts to “limit the damage that can be inflicted by guns and those who mean harm with them,” Rep. Honda also introduced two more bills he says will “modernize our gun laws to reflect how weapons are currently getting into the wrong hands.”

Along with his Responsible Body Armor Possession Act, Honda introduced:

  • The Homemade Firearms Accountability Act (H.R. 377), would require guns that are self-assembled or manufactured at home to be regulated under the same federal laws as guns that are factory-made and purchased. For example, it would require all homemade guns have permanent serial numbers, allowing police to trace them back to their owners if they are used in the commission of a crime.
  • The Home-Assembled Firearms Restriction Act (H.R. 376), would ban the sale and purchase of “incomplete lower receivers,” the basic mechanical assembly of a gun that can easily be converted into a fully-functioning firearm if purchased. “Banning these transactions would severely reduce the number of untraceable weapons on our streets,” said Rep. Honda’s press release.​

“Representative Honda’s bills would fill gaping holes in our nation’s gun laws that make it far too easy for mass shooters, gun traffickers, and common criminals to build homemade military-style firearms and acquire military-grade body armor,” stated Kristen Rand, Legislative Director of the Violence Policy Center in Rep. Honda’s press release.

“3D printed guns remain unregulated and law enforcement deems them a threat,” added Brian Malte, Senior National Policy Director of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. “We applaud Rep. Honda for introducing legislation to regulate 3D printed guns to protect our kids and communities.”