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Does any one know if is illegal in the state of Florida for a citizen to own and/or wear a kevlar or bullet proof vest for personal protection? Just a thought. I've also heard that they help reduce injury during auto accidents.
 

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A quick read of the Gutmacher book basically states the following.

1. If you commit a crime while possessing a firearm and you wear a bulletproof vest in the furtherance of the crime, you have committed a 3rd degree felony.

2. It is a federal felony if a convicted felon purchases or possess body armor, with an exception if it is certified by an employer as necessary for work purposes, and only used for work purposes.

Although I am not an attorney, it appears that aside from the above, there are no other limitations to it's use.
 

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If I was a high risk business owner like a convenience store owner, jeweler etc, I would wear one on the job.
 

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Laws that prohibit the use of body armor by private, law-abiding citizens, equate to the government saying "you don't have the right to prevent us from killing you", IMO.
 

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I don't see any laws that prohibit a law abiding citizen from wearing a vest for protection. The Florida weather may make it prohibitive though. I have a son in the Army deployed to Iraq. He sent me a picture of a large thermostat outside. It read 125 degrees. I can't imagine how those poor guys wear all that gear and vests in that kind of weather. Florida weather is hot enough to suffocate. I can't imagine working all day in full uniform vests and even gloves in that weather.:eek:
 

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When in the service and in a war zone you do what has to be done,amazing what the human body can adapt to,Vietnam was pretty damn hot too!
 

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They make me wear a seat belt to protect me. Then I go out on my boat I have to wear floation vest, to protect me. I walking the streets and I where a vest to protect me, now if they said you can't do that. What would you think of the whole "To Protect Me" thing?
 

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Man purpose would be to wear it if there is a high likely hood to encounter a bad guy, like in the typical "someone trying to break into my house" scenario.
If you take the time to put on the vest, it's already too late.

If you have the time to put on the vest, you probably didn't need it.

My 2¢.
 

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A quick read of the Gutmacher book basically states the following.

1. If you commit a crime while possessing a firearm and you wear a bulletproof vest in the furtherance of the crime, you have committed a 3rd degree felony.
2. It is a federal felony if a convicted felon purchases or possess body armor, with an exception if it is certified by an employer as necessary for work purposes, and only used for work purposes.

Although I am not an attorney, it appears that aside from the above, there are no other limitations to it's use.
I read that as saying that if you are involved in a defensive shoot and it is ruled unjustifiable then in addition to the normal charges the vest would get a 3rd degree felony tacked on.
 

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I want to warm up this thread again. Have been thinking about purchasing a vest (bullet proof / stab resistant). Man purpose would be to wear it if there is a high likely hood to encounter a bad guy, like in the typical "someone trying to break into my house" scenario.

What are people's thoughts on the effectiveness? Do they more harm then good for a civilian (make you feel too secure)? What "Level" is appropriate?

The one I am considering would be Level III-A and "Stab 2". Appears that III-A is not much heavier or thicker then II.
This brings to mind a quote from Massad Ayoob I read the other day - on Swamp Rat's web page.

"Circa 1970, armed citizen Richard Davis invented the Second Chance vest, concealable body armor that for the first time could be worn constantly on duty, under the uniform, by any police officer. Some alarmists speculated that “being made bulletproof” would cause cops to become reckless. Those fears turned out to be totally unfounded. As any officer who has worn armor can attest, the vest is a constant reminder of danger and, if anything, makes its wearer more cautious."


BobL
 

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I want to warm up this thread again. Have been thinking about purchasing a vest (bullet proof / stab resistant). Man purpose would be to wear it if there is a high likely hood to encounter a bad guy, like in the typical "someone trying to break into my house" scenario.

What are people's thoughts on the effectiveness? Do they more harm then good for a civilian (make you feel too secure)? What "Level" is appropriate?

The one I am considering would be Level III-A and "Stab 2". Appears that III-A is not much heavier or thicker then II.
A few thoughts on ballistic vests.

First, in the case of an active intrusion into your home, you will very likely not have time to slip into your ballistic vest. It is a real bummer if the BG steps through the bedroom door with gun in hand while your vest is still over your face.

Now, if you have a job where you periodically, or routinely, place yourself at risk for armed attack; that is a different story. It that case, the expenditure may be worthwhile.

Second, you have to assess the threat level needed. This is done by factoring threat likelihood versus wearability and concealment.

More protection is always better. Levels I, II-A, II and III-A provide no protection against any but extreme range rifle fire. Level I is pretty much useless. II-A is adequate against most handgun rounds that you may encounter [most 9mm, .40 S&W, .357 and .45 acp and lower caliber] and shotgun slugs and buckshot. But, these vests are usually light weight, for wearability, and blunt trauma can be a problem. Level II and III-A are superior, but they still provide no protection against rifle rounds. Because of their thicker material, they handle blunt trauma better. All of these vests should be worn with a chest trauma plate to reduce the chance of a disabling hit to the sternum.

The level III and IV vests provide protection from many common rifle rounds. But, they are bulky and heavy and can not be concealed to any real degree.

So, you have to decide on the likely top limit of your threat spectrum and then on your desired use. If you wish to use the vest concealed, you will probably have to sacrifice some threat protection. If not, then the sky is the limit.

Now we get to cost. About the cheapest ballistic vest is going to run you $400, with the average running around $500-$600 for adequate torso coverage. Once you step up to level III or IV, the price jumps to around $800+, depending on what extras you want to add.

The real question is not whether you need a ballistic vest or not, but rather will you have it on when you need it? Ballistic vests are hot. They are manufactured to be virtually waterproof to meet National Institute of Justice standards. They are uncomfortable. The panels are stiff and the carriers are restrictive. Unless you sacrifice a good deal of midrift protection, they are very uncomfortable to wear while sitting [especially in a vehicle]. The biggest problem faced by law enforcement agencies [virtually all of which ISSUE their enforcement personnel vests] is getting their personnel to WEAR the darn things. Level III and IV vests are also difficult or impossible to conceal, depending on carrier type.

If you do not intend to wear the thing regularly, many vest suppliers sell LE trade-ins [http://www.bulletproofme.com/Bullet_proof_Vests_Catalog.shtml : this just an example, I do not endorse this company or any other]. The prices are about 30% less than new and some of these vests have never been worn. Most agencies replace their issued vests every 5 years as recommended by the manufacturers.

A vest can save your life, but only if you have it on when you need it.

I hope this helps.:cool:

P.S.: Concerning facing a felony for wearing a ballistic vest if a shooting is ruled unjustifed, I wouldn't worry about that. If the shooting is unjustified, it is illegal and therefor a crime. Aggravated assault [where you miss your target] is a 3rd degree felony. Aggravated battery, attempted homicide or even homicide are all even higher felonies. If the shooting is unjustifiable, you're screwed anyway.
 

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I have two vests, a 11a and a 111a which were issued to me while on different dept's. They sit in the closet on hangers out of direct sunlight. It's the last thing I think of grabbing if there's a problem I need to address.

They are hot, so hot that I could wear mine while working in 20 below zero wind chill blizzards and be comfortable underneath it. I didn't like wearing vests at all as they seriously restricted my movement.

Mac pretty much covered it when he posted:

Ballistic vests are hot. They are manufactured to be virtually waterproof to meet National Institute of Justice standards. They are uncomfortable. The panels are stiff and the carriers are restrictive. Unless you sacrifice a good deal of midrift protection, they are very uncomfortable to wear while sitting [especially in a vehicle]. The biggest problem faced by law enforcement agencies [virtually all of which ISSUE their enforcement personnel vests] is getting their personnel to WEAR the darn things. Level III and IV vests are also difficult or impossible to conceal, depending on carrier type.

Brownie
 

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Most agencies make it manditory for uniform officers ; )
 

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Why wear it concealed? It works for Travis JR.

GARANT.jpg
 

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If you take the time to put on the vest, it's already too late.

If you have the time to put on the vest, you probably didn't need it.

My 2¢.
That's kind of the way I feel about it. Just because Florida doesn't require us to retreat anymore, doesn't mean we shouldn't do it when we can. If you've got time to don a vest, you've got time to get out of danger.

Remember, the best defense is to plain ol' not be there, right?

Besides, and I'm no lawyer, so, I may be out on a limb here, but, I can imagine if you put on that vest, then go through your house and end up having to use lethal force...I suppose a particularly evil prosecutor could paint you with intentions you didn't have. Remember, jurys are human, if they can paint a nice pretty visual picture of a guy "suiting" up for battle, loading weapons and charging like Rambo into someone firing away, castle doctorine is likely to be of no help. :rolleyes:

Not trying to burst your bubble..just thinking things through. Honestly, I see nothing wrong with owning one anyway. When the Zombies attack, it'll take 'em longer to chew through it! :rolf:
 

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Well, at first I was going to say you should probably see a shrink if you're paranoid to the point that you think you need body armor. Then I stopped and realized how expensive shinks are... just buy the vest.

J
 

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:rolf

My health insurance may cover the shrink but not the vest. Maybe it will go under "preventive care" in the future ;-) . My mind is not made up yet either way. Maybe it will be one of these "just get it" things and keep it in the closet never using it. I appreciate the input so far!
If you're gonna just get it and keep it in the closet, then you just might ought to think about an alarm system, another gun, or a big ole mean dog that will bark if leaves fall off the tree.
 
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