Federal government seeks ban on civilian reinforced body armor

Councillors Brian Higgins and Grace Meng reintroduced the bill to block the sale of reinforced bulletproof vests used by civilians following the tragic incident that occurred on May 14, 2022. Buffalo Police praised the brave actions of former officer Aaron Salter, who confronted a shooter at a Buffalo Tops supermarket and potentially saved a life in the process.

In an effort to stop civilians from purchasing and using tactical body armor, Brian Higgins and Grace Meng have resurrected the proposal following the tragic incident on May 14, 2022. The Buffalo Police Department praised the bravery of former officer Aaron Salter, who confronted a mass shooter at a Buffalo Tops supermarket and potentially saved a life.

Congressman Brian Higgins, who represents New York’s 26th Congressional District, commented on the incident, highlighting the role Salter played in neutralizing the threat. “It’s often said that a good guy with a gun can stop a bad guy with a gun, and Aaron Salter Jr. was the epitome of that,” said Congressman Higgins.

Despite Salter’s quick reaction, Buffalo Police Chief Joe Gramaria said the outcome may have been different if the shooter had not been wearing tactical body armor. Gramaria noted that Salter’s shots were aimed accurately, but the armor absorbed the bullets, making them ineffective.

The incident prompted Reps. Higgins and Meng to reintroduce a bill aimed at restricting civilian possession of reinforced body armor. The bill had been introduced previously but failed to pass during the last Congress, leading the lawmakers to reintroduce the measure.

“These types of shootings, including the one that occurred here on May 14th, are becoming tragically commonplace, and we will not stop working,” Higgins said.

Meng also conveyed the far-reaching impact of this tragic incident, noting that its effects were felt by New Yorkers across the state. She described the incident as a “horrific racial tragedy” that not only affected the Buffalo community but the entire state.

Support for the bill extends beyond lawmakers, with Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown and family members of the victims also urging its passage. Zeneta Eberhart, whose son was wounded in the shooting, said it’s inappropriate for military-grade equipment to be used on civilian streets.

New York state has already passed a similar ban, but supporters of the federal bill point out that the shooter obtained his bulletproof vests from another state. Gramaria acknowledged that a potential gunman could find other ways to obtain such equipment, but stressed the importance of initiating a national ban as a necessary first step.

The bill includes exemptions for law enforcement, active-duty military personnel and others who require such equipment as part of their job. As the reintroduced bill gathers support, its advocates remain steadfast in their mission to address concerns about the presence of tactical body armor in civilian settings.

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