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Assemblymember Connolly Authors Ban on Body Armor Used by Mass Shooters

AB 92 will restrict the sale & use of body armor to only public safety professionals

For immediate release:

SACRAMENTO, CA – Today Assemblymember Damon Connolly introduced AB 92, which prohibits the sale of body armor in California except to law enforcement, military, and emergency services professionals. This new legislation would also make it a felony to wear body armor during the commission of a violent crime. “Body Armor” is defined as a personal protective body covering intended to protect against gunfire, including but not limited to vests carrying steel, ceramic, or polyethylene plates. Body armor has become a tool in the arsenal of American mass murderers. Just last year, an 18-year old mass shooter in Buffalo, New York wore a plate vest that could absorb automatic weapon fire. Security guard Aaron Salter fired at the shooter, but did not penetrate his armor. Salter’s bullet may have stopped him if the shooter did not have a vest; instead, Salter, a retired police officer, was killed in their exchange - allowing the shooter to continue and take the lives of ten innocent civilians.

“Simply put, the widespread availability of military-grade body armor helps mass shooters and criminals kill more people,” said Assemblymember Damon Connolly (D-San Rafael). “Keeping the communities in the North Bay and throughout California safe is my greatest priority. It is clear that the sale of body armor has empowered violent criminals, including mass shooters, to harm, kill, and prolong their rampages. This ongoing and unnecessary epidemic of violence must be stopped and AB 92 will help protect innocent bystanders and our peace officers.”

Over the past decade, body armor vests have become an increasingly common tool worn by mass shooters, such as in a Boulder supermarket attack in 2021 that killed ten; the Sutherland Springs church shooting in 2017 that killed 26; the San Bernardino shooting in 2015 that killed 16; and the movie theater shooting in Aurora in 2012 that killed 12. According to the Public Policy Institute of California, although the State’s mass shooting homicide rate is lower than the national average, mass shooting incidents occur in California every 8.3 days. This new reality, in combination with surging body armor sales to the public, has even prompted law enforcement to begin instructing officers to shoot perpetrators from the navel up to the shoulders. Previously, law enforcement had been trained to engage shooters by targeting the torso, a much larger target.

AB 92 now sits in the Assembly Rules Committee, awaiting referral to its first policy committee.

Assemblymember Connolly represents the entirety of Marin County and Southern Sonoma County.