British Columbia in its ongoing battle to fight crime has decided to ban body armour. The rationale, according to Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Kash Heed is (I think) public safety.
Heed said the bill, the first of its kind in Canada, would mean gang members “will no longer be able to hide behind body armour.”
“Police see it all too often,” said Heed in a release. “The gang member or organized criminal is out on our streets and in our neighbourhoods while hiding behind the added protection of bulletproof vests, as innocent bystanders remain unprotected and vulnerable.
“By taking away criminals’ sense of security, we decrease the potential for violence in public settings.”
Please……give me a break.
As usual, the politicians get it backwards or maybe they just spin these things thinking the public is too stupid to recognize bullshit when they hear it.
Are we to believe that these gangbangers put on body armour and then go into public places to start a shoot-out?
Or could it be that because they have rivals out to kill them they put on body armour to hopefully survive an attack.
It seems to me that if the police think that they can “decrease the potential for violence in public settings” by banning body armour they could also keep those big time drug dealers off the roads and stop drive-by shootings by banning those big, black, Cadillac SUVs that seem so popular to the trade.
The U.S. is apparently more honest in their legislation against the use of body armour. Although the article states that the US has similar legislation, that is apparently not the case.
The Canadian legislation is a blanket prohibition that makes it illegal for anyone not licensed to own or sell the product.
The Body Armour Control Act would:
• Place controls on the possession of body armour by allowing police to seize it from those unauthorized to own it;
• Create a licensing program for businesses and their employees who sell body armour, as part of the Security Services Act;
• Require those trying to buy body armour to get a permit proving a reasonable need for owning it; and,
• Require applicants to undergo a criminal-record check.
Anyone found with unlicensed armour could be fined up to $10,000 and jailed for up to six months. A business illegally selling the protective equipment could face fines up to $100,000, and the business owner could also go to jail for up to six months.
So the Canadian law manufactures criminals.
While the US legislation according to Wikipedia (if Wiki can be trusted for factual info these days) limits the ban to convicted felons and the like.
United States law restricts possession of body armor for convicted violent felons. Many U.S. states also have penalties for possession or use of body armor by felons. In other states, such as Kentucky, possession is not prohibited, but probation or parole is denied for a person convicted of certain violent crimes while wearing body armor and carrying a deadly weapon.
The U.S. law targets existing criminals.
Regardless, I can see why the police want a blanket ban on body armour.
They don’t want to find themselves in a fire fight with an opponent who is wearing the stuff. The police are looking for a tactical advantage, which is understandable from their point of view.
They also want another reason to be able to arrest and charge that part of the population that they associate with the use of body armour, namely the drug dealing crowd. More to the point, the upper echelon of that business.
Anyway, its not that the government is going to get any flack over the wording of the legislation as there are few if any law-abiding citizens who would feel the need to deck themselves out in this regalia.
But the ban won’t stop these guys from wearing this gear, any more than the guns laws don’t stop them from illegally owning and carrying firearms, or the anti-drug laws don’t stop them from dealing, or the criminal code deters them from committing murder.
So don’t feed me the crap that this legislation will improve public safety, deter criminal behaviour or even stop the wearing of body armour. If you’re worried that one of your business rivals is going to take a shot at you, a fine or even a short jail sentence is going to look to be a far better option than a trip to the morgue.
But in the world of politics the government gets to pass another law showing they’re trying to do something about crime, the police get another tool they want and life goes on as before.