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Body Armor Laws by State 2024

Body Armor Laws by State 2024

Navigating the legality of body armor across the United States reveals a generally permissive landscape, with the majority of states allowing its possession and use. However, there are notable exceptions, with only one state explicitly outlawing the wearing of body armor.

In New York, laws are notably restrictive, making it generally unlawful for civilians to purchase, possess, sell, or exchange body vests or similar items. Exceptions are granted to those in peacekeeping professions such as police and active-duty military. This stringent approach reflects the state's efforts to regulate potentially dangerous equipment and maintain public safety standards.

In addition to New York's stringent laws, certain states impose specific regulations on the wearing of body armor during criminal activities. For instance, in states like California and Florida, wearing body armor during the commission of a crime is explicitly prohibited. This measure aims to deter individuals from using protective gear to facilitate unlawful activities and reinforces the state's commitment to maintaining public safety standards. Similarly, states like Georgia and Maryland restrict the possession of body armor for individuals with prior convictions related to violent offenses or drug trafficking, aiming to prevent potential misuse of protective equipment. These nuanced regulations underscore the importance of understanding state-specific laws to ensure compliance and uphold public safety.

While the majority of states do not impose specific restrictions on the possession or use of body armor, it's essential for individuals to familiarize themselves with local regulations to ensure compliance with the law. Understanding the nuances of body armor laws by state can help individuals navigate legal complexities and make informed decisions regarding their safety and protection.

Body Armor Laws by State 2024

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State
Body Armor Legality
Purchase Options
Additional Laws
AlabamaLegalOnline or in-person
AlaskaLegalOnline or in-person
ArizonaLegalOnline or in-person
  • It is a class 4 felony to commit a felony while wearing or using body armor.
ArkansasLegalOnline or in-person
  • It is a class 4 felony to commit a felony while wearing or using body armor.
CaliforniaLegalOnline or in-person
  • The wearing of a body vest during a crime can add from one to five years to a sentence.
ColoradoLegalOnline or in-person
ConnecticutLegalIn-person only
  • Body armor may only be purchased in person.
  • It is a class A misdemeanor for convicted felons to own body armor. There are exceptions for law enforcement professionals, government officials, and military members. "Body armor" is defined as “material designed to be worn on the body and to provide bullet penetration resistance.”
DelawareLegalOnline or in-person
  • It is a class B felony to wear body armor while committing or attempting to commit a felony.
FloridaLegalOnline or in-person
  • It is a third-degree felony to commit crimes such as murder, robbery, and kidnapping, among others, while wearing a body vest.
GeorgiaLegalOnline or in-person
  • It is a felony to commit or attempt to commit a crime while wearing a bulletproof vest.
HawaiiLegalOnline or in-person
IdahoLegalOnline or in-person
IllinoisLegalOnline or in-person
  • It is a class A misdemeanor to wear body armor knowingly and possess a dangerous weapon other than a firearm while committing a crime.
IndianaLegalOnline or in-person
  • It is a level 6 felony to knowingly or intentionally wear body armor while committing a felony
IowaLegalOnline or in-person
KansasLegalOnline or in-person
  • In the city of Topeka, Kansas, it is illegal to possess, carry or wear a bulletproof vest during protests, parades, rallies, assemblies and demonstrations. This statute does not affect retailers.
KentuckyLegalOnline or in-person
LouisianaLegalOnline or in-person
MaineLegalOnline or in-person
MarylandLegalOnline or in-person
  • A civilian with a prior conviction for a crime of violence or a drug trafficking crime may file, for good cause shown, a petition with the Secretary for a permit to use, possess, and purchase bulletproof body armor.
MassachusettsLegalOnline or in-person
MichiganLegalOnline or in-person
  • If body armor is needed for employment, permission may be granted for a person with a prior felony conviction to use body armor.
MinnesotaLegalOnline or in-person
MississippiLegalOnline or in-person
MissouriLegalOnline or in-person
  • If body armor is needed for employment, permission may be granted for a person with a prior felony conviction to use body armor.
MontanaLegalOnline or in-person
NebraskaLegalOnline or in-person
NevadaLegalOnline or in-person
New HampshireLegalOnline or in-person
  • It is a class B felony to commit or attempt to commit any felony while using or wearing body armor.
New JerseyLegalOnline or in-person
  • A civilian can be charged separately for wearing a bullet proof vest while carrying out criminal acts.
New MexicoLegalOnline or in-person
New YorkRestrictedRestricted
  • It is unlawful in most cases to purchase, possess, sell, or exchange body vests or similar items. Exceptions are made for those in peacekeeping professions such as police and active-duty military
North CarolinaLegalOnline or in-person
  • A civilian can be charged separately for wearing a bullet proof vest while carrying out criminal acts.
North DakotaLegalOnline or in-person
OhioLegalOnline or in-person
OklahomaLegalOnline or in-person
  • A civilian can be charged separately for wearing a bullet proof vest while carrying out criminal acts.
OregonLegalOnline or in-person
PennsylvaniaLegalOnline or in-person
Rhode IslandLegalOnline or in-person
South CarolinaLegalOnline or in-person
  • A civilian can be charged separately for wearing a bullet proof vest while carrying out criminal acts.
South DakotaLegalOnline or in-person
TennesseeLegalOnline or in-person
  • It is a class E felony to knowingly commit most felonies while wearing body armor.
TexasLegalOnline or in-person
UtahLegalOnline or in-person
VermontLegalOnline or in-person
VirginiaLegalOnline or in-person
  • It is a class 4 felony to commit or attempt to commit any felony while using or wearing body armor.
WashingtonLegalOnline or in-person
West VirginiaLegalOnline or in-person
  • A civilian can be charged separately for wearing a bullet proof vest while carrying out criminal acts.
WisconsinLegalOnline or in-person
  • A civilian can be charged separately for wearing a bullet proof vest while carrying out criminal acts.
WyomingLegalOnline or in-person
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