Is it Legal to Buy Body Armor?

Just as important as making sure that you have chosen the correct level of protection in the correct style for the situation you will find yourself in is knowing the law on body armor for your location. Some countries have specific guidelines about how body armor may be bought and sold, and it is your responsibility to be aware of any restrictions in place where you live. These are the restrictions in some major areas:

    • In Australia it is illegal to possess body armour without authorisation in certain territories (South Australia, Victoria, Northern Territory, ACT, Queensland and New South Wales).
    • In certain Canadian provinces (Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba and Nova Scotia) a license is required to possess body armour, though there are no such restrictions in the rest of the country.
    • In the European Union, ballistic protection that is considered ‘for main military usage’ is restricted to civilians.
    • In the United Kingdom, there are currently no legal restrictions on the purchase and ownership of body armour.
    • In the United States it is legal to purchase and possess body armour, except for a few states:
    In Connecticut, body armour can only be purchased in person, and cannot be purchased online, over the phone, or by mail In New York, a proposed ban of body armour for private citizens is currently debated In Kentucky, committing a crime while wearing or even owning body armour is a crime in and of itself In Louisiana, it is illegal to wear body armour on school property or on campus.

    Even in regions, where wearing body armour is legal, overt (visible, on top of clothing) body armour is likely to attract attention from both the general public and law enforcement officials. Police officers may want to confirm why you are wearing a vest as this is unusual for a civilian out in public places. Additionally, this may cause other people to become worried and frightened as they might think there is an imminent danger or that you are a threat yourself. In such cases it is important to remain calm and explain your reasons for wearing body armour. As long as you are abiding by the law, police officers are likely to be understanding.
    A way to avoid this situation altogether is to opt for a covert vest, which is worn underneath the clothing. This still provides you additional safety against ballistic, stab or spike attacks, but remains out of sight to anyone else. You can then move freely in public places with a greater degree of anonymity. Keep in mind that the restrictions mentioned above are not an exhaustive list of all body armour regulations and laws in existence. It is your responsibility to check with local and national standards and rules before you purchase body armour. If you are unsure about any such laws, it is imperative that you educate yourself to avoid breaking the law.