Are Bullet Proof Vests Legal in California?

Yes. Bulletproof vests are legal in California. Everyone wants to protect themselves and their beloved families from specific violence or attack. That is why residents in California may need to acquire bulletproof vests for personal and professional protection.

A bulletproof vest is typically worn to protect the body from minor firearms such as guns and explosives. Most bulletproof vests consist of many layers. These layers are fine, tightly woven fabric, such as Kevlar. The layers are made to soften and absorb the effect of high-speed weapons. 

What is the Composition of Bullet Proof Vests?

Composition of Bullet Proof Vests

Some bulletproof vests have either ceramic or metallic plates. The primary purpose of the plates is to protect the body from rifle fire or longer projectiles. We all know that qualified military and law enforcement officers wear these bulletproof vests

In other cases, they are worn by hostage negotiators, most especially in circumstances whereby a suspect might have a gun or any other destructive device. Citizens like hunters, gun store owners, and convenience store clerks also wear them. 

Do not forget that even criminals use them. A bulletproof vest’s potential for achieving results is unquestioned. According to studies and research, bulletproof vests dramatically decrease the wearer’s chance of death. This brings us back to our question, are bulletproof vests legal? Who should wear them? Well, let’s find out!

The Federal Law 

Under Federal law, a bulletproof vest is considered “body armor,” regulated by statute, 18 U.S.C.A section 931. The law restricts any person who has been convicted of a felony from possessing a bulletproof vest. 

However, it can only be exceptional for a person wearing the bulletproof if they are employees performing the order of legal and authorized business activity by official personnel in the government and who have attained previously written certification from the employer. 

If this law is violated, the consequences will be three years in prison. In addition, wearing a bulletproof vest during the act of a crime of violence or federal drug trafficking will lead to an enhanced sentence. 

Since the bulletproof vest reduces the chances of dying, lawmakers regulated it so that criminals do not get the protection that the bulletproof vest provides. How will they achieve this? There are guidelines on how a bulletproof vest will be purchased and who is supposed to purchase them. 

If these guidelines are violated, there are criminal penalties for illegal possession. Hence, convicted felons surrender the right to possess a bulletproof vest.

Where Are Bullet Proof Vests Sold?

Bulletproof vests can be sold to any person in a face-to-face transaction. In addition, there is no need for an ID or background checks. Bulletproof vests can be shipped to other areas. Sales to customers in Connecticut can only be made through face-to-face transactions. They can also be sold in a store, at a gun show, on a website over the phone, or via catalog. In addition, the retailers can sell bulletproof vests to California citizens and are not liable once the bulletproof vest has been sold.

Where Are Bullet Proof Vests not supposed to Be Sold?

Bulletproof vests cannot be sold to Connecticut through the mail. They cannot be shipped, bought, taken, or sent out of California and the country without Federal approval.

Who is allowed to Wear a Bullet Proof Vest?

Citizens who are adults or have attained the age of 18 years and above are allowed to wear a bulletproof vest to protect themselves from attack, violence, and crimes committed by criminals. 

However, it is the buyer’s responsibility to verify whether they meet the federal laws and if they are in a legal position to purchase a bulletproof vest. Note that this responsibility does not fall on the shoulders of the retailer. 

Felons should always refrain from buying bulletproof vests. If not, they will have no choice but to be prosecuted. So they are liable for every action they think of and take. 

If you are aged 17 and want to wear a bulletproof vest, you must receive a written confirmation from your local police department to buy one.

Can Bullet Proof Vest be worn in Public?

Can Bullet Proof Vest be worn in Public

In California, it is okay to wear bulletproof in public since you are within your rights if you are 18 years and above, and more importantly, you are not a person with felony convictions. 

However, wearing them in certain situations like in schools or school-sponsored activities may not be legal. Ironically, even though it is legal to wear a bulletproof vest in California, it doesn’t expressly mean that you should wear one. Wearing bulletproof makes you look like you are a criminal or a terrorist, creating tension in public. 

Other citizens will stare at you in suspicion unless you have an occupation that puts you in danger, for example, an armed track driver or even a doctor at an abortion clinic. Still, you will spend the rest of the day being questioned by police officers. 

The police will not question you because it is illegal but because they might assume you are an armed, dangerous criminal who might be a threat to society. Remember, the role of the cops is to serve and protect, meaning they are always on the lookout in case they come across felons. We already know that they are not supposed to wear bulletproof vests. The criminals don’t obey the laws of the land. They might even be planning to attack and shoot that particular public place. 

Do Bullet Proof Vests Bans Make Sense?

You will not be hurt when wearing a bulletproof vest since it minimizes internal injury. There is a raging debate about whether they should be banned and illegalized since their possession and use is criminalized in several ways. In those laws, there is a sense that enhances the sentences for a particular crime committed while the defendant was wearing body armor. 

Whenever you willingly and knowingly put on a bulletproof vest and commit a crime, it tells more about you. The pursuit of going against the law and minimizing the chances that law enforcement can hurt or even subdue you makes sense when more years are added to your sentence.


Wearing a bulletproof vest in California is acceptable if you are 18 and above. However, there is an exception. Wearing the vest in a school or its sponsored event is not allowed. Also, you won’t enjoy the protection of a bulletproof vest if you have been convicted of a felony. Therefore, it is up to you to determine whether you qualify to wear the vest.

Reference 1: Are bulletproof vests legal in California — instructions, and tips (

Reference 2: Are Bulletproof Vests Legal In California? Your Guide To Bulletproof Vests (

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