What does New York State consider to be Body Armor? Is it something that people use to protect themselves while they are simply walking down the street? Is it something that rappers wear in their music videos? Or is it something that a hunter might need to protect themselves when they are hunting game in the woods?

New York State has very specific ideas as to who can own, use and possess body armor. Agree or disagree, that is your option. Being able to protect or police and first responders isn't an option.

What does New York State consider to be body armor?

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According to the New York Department of State website, body armor is:

any product that is a personal protective body covering intended to protect against gunfire, regardless of whether such product is to be worn alone or is sold as a complement to another product or garment. The unlawful wearing of body armor is a class E felony.

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Who can legally buy body armor in New York State?

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Who can legally walk into a store or establishment and purchase body armor in New York State? The list of people who can is short and includes:

  • Police officers;
  • Peace officers;
  • Persons in military service in NYS or military or other service for the United States; and
  • Such other professions designated by the Department of State in accordance with section 144-a of the Executive Law.

Read more: Who can take the 2024 NYS Trooper Exam? 

What penalties do you face if you unlawfully have possession of body armor and are not in one of the above professions?

The first time you are found to be in possession of it, you will face a Class A misdemeanor, a second offense would be a Class E felony. If you wear it while committing a crime, you will be charged with a Class E felony.

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