Archive for March 22nd, 2010

Banning body armour: Another bright government initiative

March 22, 2010

Back in October of 2009 I wrote a post on the intent of British Columbia’s provincial government to pass legislation that would make body armour illegal for anyone other than a selected few – police and the like. Anyone else wearing it would be committing a criminal offense.

The move was supported and promoted (of course) by the police lobby as a great benefit to their crime fighting efforts.

At the time, I thought (and still do) that it was typically stupid legislation. But from the politician’s point of view it would allow them to say that they were being proactive in fighting crime, although in actuality the legislation would do nothing to reduce crime and violence on the streets. It would however manufacture a whole new class of criminal: body armour wearers – whether they were involved in actual criminal activities or not.

It was a given that the B.C . legislation as proposed would go through if the government wanted to proceed as it was unlikely that there would be much active opposition, as it would affect very few people on a personal level.

That seems to have been been the case, as the bill has passed 3rd reading in the provincial legislature, although it doesn’t appear to have been proclaimed yet.

Now a similar bill is being proposed in Alberta and it is interesting to see that at least one commentator has similar views about the need or value of this kind of legislation.

Body armour can in no reasonable way be described as a threat to public safety.

It is not a weapon.

The only form of self-defence more passive is curling up into a ball and begging for mercy.

If the province is determined to restrict convicted gang members from owning body armour, then let them pass a law allowing the Crown to ask a judge to make that ruling as part of post-incarceration conditions, such as existing restrictions on firearms ownership.

Further, it seems monstrously draconian to allow sales of body armour to only cops, EMTs and security guards.

The list of those able to purchase body armour should at the very least include any individual without a criminal record.

Can the province of Alberta in good conscience deny bulletproof vests to citizens at risk of criminal attack in our community, such as pizza delivery guys, cabbies driving at night and convenience store clerks in sketchy neighbourhoods?

That would be particularly ironic, given that the guy who first used the miracle fabric Kevlar to manufacture soft body armour was a pizza delivery guy who’d been shot on the job.

Regardless, I would expect that the legislation will proceed unimpeded in Alberta as it did in British Columbia.

It is interesting that last  year US Customs proposed a ban on any folder knives that could be opened one handed. In this case, the action by Customs was stopped in its tracks by public reaction. That was because Custom’s rule change would have made most of the current folding knives in the country illegal and that would have affected a massive number of people.

Which reinforces the rule that strength in numbers is always an effective strategy when it comes to dealing with politicians and the bureaucracy.


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