Buffalo Democrat targets online bulletproof vest sales after massacre

A Buffalo lawmaker this week introduced a bill aimed at restricting access to bulletproof vests like those worn by a teenage white supremacist who is said to have killed 10 people in the police hometown.

Senator Sean Ryan’s (D-Buffalo) proposal would effectively prevent such gear from being sold online by requiring a seller to physically deliver the vests to customers.

It is alleged that the Buffalo shooter was able to secretly purchase body armor, hide it from his parents, hide it from members of the community simply by having it shipped to his home, and no one could know what he was up to.” Ryan told the Post Thursday.

Blocking internet sales could make it harder for prospective shooters to purchase body armor by venturing to the relatively few stores in the Empire State that sell such gear compared to the internet, Ryan argues.

Ryan hopes to find an assembly sponsor for the bill, which would be included in a broader guns bill the Albany Democrats plan to pass next week.

shoot suspect Payton Gendron
Shooting suspect Payton Gendron was wearing a bulletproof vest.

“I’ve had several calls today from numerous members of the Assembly looking for a co-sponsor… So I think there will be a bon appetite in the Assembly and the Senate,” he added.

State law allows New Yorkers to purchase bulletproof vests, but wearing one during a gun felony can land violators in prison for up to five years.

Sales of such tactical equipment have increased in recent years amid rising violent crime, civil unrest and the ongoing war in Ukraine.

“We can’t get our regular inventory that easily, so there is some backlog,” Brad Pedell, co-owner of 221B Tactical in Midtown, told the Post.

Pedell added that effectively banning the sale of bulletproof vests online would hurt the bottom line of his company, which sells a range of tactical gear.

He also questioned whether the law, if passed before state legislatures adjourn for the year on June 2, would actually deter criminals, aside from being an inconvenience to law-abiding citizens.

“A fraction of the people who buy body armor buy them to commit a felonious, heinous crime while protecting themselves, compared to people who are just scared,” Pedell said.

Police secure an area around a supermarket
A person wearing a bulletproof vest while committing a gun crime can face violators in prison for up to five years.
AP/Derek Gee

Ryan, who represents a county near the scene of the recent racially motivated massacre at a Buffalo grocery store, responded to those criticisms by saying a ban on online sales would limit access for would-be mass murderers, at least to some extent and possibly save lives in the process.

“If your business is selling body armor worn by mass shooters to defy and evade law enforcement, then you are in the wrong industry. And there is no single solution to gun violence and the scourge of mass shootings, so we have to find many ways to save lives by addressing the problem, and part of the problem is the increase in sales of body armor to civilians,” Ryan added .

https://nypost.com/2022/05/26/buffalo-democrat-targets-online-bulletproof-vest-sales-after-massacre/ Buffalo Democrat targets online bulletproof vest sales after massacre

JACLYN DIAZ

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