By Trey Rusk
Almost anyone can buy or sell a bullet proof vest (BPV) in the United States. This includes California. People can purchase a BPV on eBay, at a gun show or on Craigslist. The only exclusion is for convicted felons (18 U.S.C. 931). This also includes non-violent felonies. Only the felon can be prosecuted for an illegal transaction. The only state that has a rule in place is Connecticut. Buyers or sellers in Connecticut must make the transaction in person.
Allow me go into more details on Bullet Proof Vests.
First let me state that there is no such thing as a bullet proof vest. There are bullet resistant vests and the more money you spend the more bullet resistance you may buy.
Most BPV's will stop handgun loads. I recommend at least a level 3 BPV.
Most BPV's will not stop a rifle round unless they have armor plates inserted for that purpose. The armor plates are heavy.
BPV's have a manufacturers'' expiration date of around 5 years. That doesn't mean that they can no longer be worn, it simply means that the producer will not be liable if the vest fails. I have tested 10 year old level 3 BPV's from a .22 to a .44 magnum round without failure.
I wore a BPV for at least 30 years on the job. Here is how to make a BPV last longer.
1. Never wash a BPV. You can wash the carrier but not the BPV itself. You can wipe the BPV with a damp cloth and spray it with Febreze.
2. Never fold a BPV. Folding will make weak point by stretching the Kevlar fabric.
3. Always try and wear a vented/ribbed T-shirt under the vest so that sweat will wick away or drain.
4. Always store the vest in a clean dry place. A BPV will attract mold and mildew if not properly stored.
Bullet Proof Vests have evolved and can be worn outside the uniform with a matching vest cover. This also helps the vest not absorb perspiration. They are also easier to get in and out of.
The Growing Market
Business men, jewelers, celebrities, and children are now BPV owners. BPV's can be installed into backpacks and brief cases for personal protection. Some police vehicles can be ordered with BPV lined doors and the demand for armored cars is increasing. I foresee residential doors being lined with Kevlar for protection against home invaders and because the material is being made lighter and stronger even umbrellas may be used as bullet barriers.
If you're really cheap you can make BPV armor plates at home using YouTube as your guide. (No kidding)
That's the way I see it.