Banning body armour: Another bright government initiative

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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7 Responses to “Banning body armour: Another bright government initiative”

  1. Lies Says:

    I read what the police said, why they feel that this ban on body armor is important. They tell the people that it is needed to prevent criminals from wearing armor and to protect civilians from lengthy shootouts.

    This is complete crap. ANY “law” will be ignored by the non-law-abiding. Do criminals abide by laws? No. Now when a criminal has a concealed handgun and body armor he is more free then ever to commit whatever crime he wants against unarmed and unarmored civilians. If an honest citizen was walking past a shootout and got hit hed be just fine with the proper armor. If a citizen got stabbed in a mugging, hed be just fine with a thin layer of body armor on under their T shirt. If crime is SO bad in an area that a citizen WANTS to wear a thin knife stoping handgun bullet stoping Tshirt under their normal Tshirt they should be permited.

    All this law does is further turn law-abiding citizens into helpless sheep and empower criminals.

  2. Brent Says:

    @Lies I agree. Let’s stop this madness and contact your rep. We are having our rights taken away each and every day. “You can’t have this, you can’t have that, you can’t defend yourself.” This has to stop.

  3. deacon Says:

    well, you have to admit that the cops and lawyers are definitely making it easier for their mutually shared resource to go about it’s business.

    another self serving law if ever there was one

  4. Asoka Says:

    In my opinion only the police,security guards,corrections, and loss prevention officers should be allowed to wear body armour to feel safe. No regular citizen needs to wear it at least not in Canada.

    Body armour just makes it easier for the criminals to committ dangerous crimes involving guns or knives and not have to worry about getting hurt ,shot or arrested by the police.

    Without body armour it is alot easier for the police to shoot down an armed criminal shooting at them.

    Security guards and correction officers would be alot safer with body armour as well when someone either pulls a knife or needle on them, which does happen.

  5. Asoka Says:

    @Brent not being allowed to wear body armour is not having your rights taken away from you. There is no law that says you can’t defend yourself. Carry a bat with you if you feel so unsafe, it’s not against the law to own or carry a bat,which can be used in a self-defense situation, although you might have some explaining to do if you use it as a weapon but with good reason you’ll get off easy.

    Besides you can’t go to jail for beating the crap out of someone who tried to kick the crap out of you. Canada law says if there is an agreement between two people to fight each other neither person can be arrested , however if only one person wants to and insists by throwing the first punch and kick then he can be arrested and sued for assault.

  6. deegee Says:

    Body armor is not “banned” in BC. It is only controlled.
    Exceptions to requiring a permit are law enforcement, security persons, conservation officers, etc. -and- anyone with a valid PAL/RPAL.
    Please take the time to actually read the laws and don’t post misleading information.
    See the BC Body Armor Control Regulation 2-2-(d).

  7. otropogo Says:

    As others have said, law abiding people who pose no threat to public safety will be deprived of significant protection while the supposed targets of the legislation will not be deterred by it.

    But more importantly, the wording of the act and regulations is yet another consolidation of the police state. Read the texts carefully, and you will see that there is no provision for appeal against an decision of the registrar to deny a permit of to limit it’s use unreasonably. This makes the provision of a requirement to give written reasons for the decision an empty gesture.

    Secondly, according to the BC application form, the $90 application fee is non-refundable. In other words, you will be fined $90 for having the audacity to apply. Why should this hefty fee be required? I would imagine that the vast majority of applicants for a body armour permit would already have been screened for a firearms permit, and perhaps even a restricted firearm permit. Shouldn’t they, at least, be exempted from this hefty fee?

    Since there’s no such provision, the fee is clearly meant to discourage applicants.

    Thirdly, the BC Act, in section 2. 3) c) refers to a “person who is exempt under the regulations”.

    However, the grounds for exemption are not defined in the Regulations, and yet the Act requires anyone in “possession” to prove to a peace officer that he is exempt.

    Fourth, the BC act unreasonably limits the owner’s options for disposing of his body armour, limiting him to selling the armour to someone who has a permit or who is “exempt”. The Alberta Act at least permits the gifting of body armour, but neither seem to envisage selling it in other jurisdictions where such stupid and heavy handed restrictions on the freedom of honest men are not yet in force.

    And finally, the BC Act does not seem to understand the legal meaning of “possession”, as it requires the permit holder to have the permit on his person whenever he is in “possession” of the body armour. Does that mean then, that me must take it with him when traveling abroad? Or conversely, does it mean that he doesn’t need to have a permit when the body armour is in his home, but he is away?

    An interesting and not insignificant aspect of this is the lack of any regulation regarding the “safe storage” of the body armour. Who’s in “possession” when the permit holder is away, and the spouse is alone in the house with it? Is an offense being committed?

    This law makes work for lawyers, prosecutors, police, and an already overtaxed court system that is reeling under its workload as it is.

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