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Old April 13, 2011, 02:27 PM   #1
EricReynolds
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Body Armor in NY

I work in security and I regularly wear a vest to work. Last week a sheriff's deputy I sometimes work with noticed I had it on and stated she didn't think it was legal since new legislation that was just passed. I didn't hear anything about that. As far as I know it's completely legal for a civilian to wear armor in NY as long as they aren't a felon. I did hear that it's a class e felony for someone to be wearing a vest while illegally armed. I don't know what the deal is, but I have known LEOs that have a certain attitude about armed citizens, and a citizen wearing armor?! Who do I think I am?! I don't know if that's what's going on, but I haven't been wearing my vest to work since and I'd like to be able to do so again.
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Old April 13, 2011, 02:39 PM   #2
Don H
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If I were in your shoes, the first thing I would do would't be to do without the body armor because a deputy "thought" it was no longer legal. The second thing I'd do would be to search through "new legislation" to see if I could find a prohibition on body armor. Lacking success in a search, I'd contact my state legislators' offices and ask their staff if such a thing had been passed and signed into law. If still no joy, I'd contact the NYS security operative's organization (I'd be surprised if NY didn't have one) for their take on the oifficer's claim.
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Old April 13, 2011, 03:24 PM   #3
DaveTrig
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This is the current law from the NYS Web Site:

Quote:
ยง 270.20 Unlawful wearing of a body vest.
1. A person is guilty of the unlawful wearing of a body vest when
acting either alone or with one or more other persons he commits any
violent felony offense defined in section 70.02 while possessing a
firearm, rifle or shotgun and in the course of and in furtherance of
such crime he wears a body vest.
2. For the purposes of this section a "body vest" means a
bullet-resistant soft body armor providing, as a minimum standard, the
level of protection known as threat level I which shall mean at least
seven layers of bullet-resistant material providing protection from
three shots of one hundred fifty-eight grain lead ammunition fired from
a .38 calibre handgun at a velocity of eight hundred fifty feet per
second.
The unlawful wearing of a body vest is a class E felony.
Here is a link to the proposed changes:
http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?def...tions=Y&Text=Y

I'm no lawyer, but the proposed changes do not appear to prevent a civilian from owning or wearing body armor unless in the commission of a felony. It looks like it just makes it more serious if the felony results in the death of a police officer, and establishes a registry for body armor sales.
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Old April 13, 2011, 03:55 PM   #4
Aguila Blanca
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Pretty simple. Under both the existing law and the proposed changes, in order for the wearing of body armor to be a crime, you must BOTH (a) Commit a felony, AND (b) be carrying a firearm while committing the felony, AND (c) be wearing body armor while committing the felony while armed.

If you are working as armed security, the law simply does not apply to you.

All of which shows once again that we cannot rely on the police to know or understand the laws they are charged with enforcing. While that is to an extent a slam on police officers in general, in fairness to police everywhere I acknowledge that it is ALSO a slam on our society. Bluntly, we have so danged many laws that nobody can possibly know and understand all of them.

And that's a problem. Police officers are law ENFORCEMENT officers. They should not be tasked with having to interpret laws on the fly, but when legislatures pass so many laws, with so many degrees and nuances and exceptions and loopholes, it's impossible for anyone to be on top of it all. The result is that most officers have a working knowledge of the few charges they most often encounter violations of, and for the rest of it they wing it.

That's wrong. Nobody should ever be arrested because a police officer thought something should be or must be against the law -- but it happens every day, somewhere in these United States.

Last edited by Aguila Blanca; April 13, 2011 at 04:02 PM.
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Old April 13, 2011, 05:14 PM   #5
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glad you guys cleared this one up

because the thread name drew me in and that would've been ludicrous in my opinion if this man couldn't continue wearing his vest.

**on a tangent...I do know some LE agencies offer their employees vests but it isn't required(some agencies). However, if you choose to get the vest(for free of course), you are required to wear it while on the job depending on the agency. This leaves some officers to just not have it issued in the first place.
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Old April 13, 2011, 05:31 PM   #6
EricReynolds
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Thanks to everyone for your feedback on this. What everyone has said is pretty much as I understood things to be. Now I have the task of telling a cop, "actually, you were wrong". It's a no win situation. Particularly, because I depend on this person from time to time in a professional context. The alternative is to expose myself to a threat that I have the means to protect myself from.
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Old April 13, 2011, 06:14 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EricReynolds
. . . . The alternative is to expose myself to a threat that I have the means to protect myself from.
That sounds like a "rather be caught with it than without it" situation.
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Old April 13, 2011, 06:24 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EricReynolds View Post
Thanks to everyone for your feedback on this. What everyone has said is pretty much as I understood things to be. Now I have the task of telling a cop, "actually, you were wrong". It's a no win situation. Particularly, because I depend on this person from time to time in a professional context. The alternative is to expose myself to a threat that I have the means to protect myself from.
Dude, wear the vest and if she brings it up again, explain what you discovered. You've worked with her for a while it seems, so you should be able to gauge her response. If she is a reasonable person, she should not have an issue with it. Perhaps print out the statute and show it to her and position it as a professional courtesy.

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Old April 13, 2011, 06:25 PM   #9
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Quote:
All of which shows once again that we cannot rely on the police to know or understand the laws they are charged with enforcing.
Amen to that.
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Old April 13, 2011, 07:57 PM   #10
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Well, the consensus seems to be that the vest would be legal, but it isn't clear.

However, you can rest assured that there's at least one gas bag legislator who has already proposed to outlaw the "bullet proof vest" in the name of crime control----after first disarming the people so they can't defend themselves.

Only effect it would have is to lesson the chances of a cab driver or store clerk going home to their family at the end of their shift.

Just my thoughts on the matter.
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Old April 13, 2011, 08:01 PM   #11
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Nobody knows every law. I can quote the ones I use every day. Literally, quote them word for word. But there are some that I couldn't. Speaking from my own experience, if I am unsure I research it and see if I can find a statute that covers it.
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Old April 13, 2011, 08:49 PM   #12
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Ah, but assuming you do not know the answer to a question, is it wise to answer the question or even pose an opinion when you don't have any previous experience or knowledge?
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Old April 13, 2011, 09:02 PM   #13
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Quote:
Nobody knows every law.
Nor can they, in the current state of affairs. This law was passed in order to pile on charges ...... as are many others.

Things were better when we had just 10 laws ......
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Old April 14, 2011, 05:37 AM   #14
Aguila Blanca
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nnobby45
Well, the consensus seems to be that the vest would be legal, but it isn't clear.
Where isn't it clear? Did you read the law? It is VERY clear. The law prohibits wearing body armor during the commission of a felony while carrying a firearm. How could this possibly be so unclear that you think it might not allow an armed security guard to wear his body armor while working?
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Old April 14, 2011, 07:58 AM   #15
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Did you ever notice how so-called crime control laws make more things illegal?
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Old April 14, 2011, 04:34 PM   #16
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one possible approach...

Don't tell your deputy friend she was wrong. Tell her you couldn't find anything in the law and ask for her help finding it, because, you certainly don't want to be in violation.

Then, whey she can't find anything, she'll realize she was wrong (hopefully) and admit it.

Might not work, but its worth a shot (pardon the pun)
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Old April 14, 2011, 04:44 PM   #17
Conn. Trooper
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If I don't know, I say so. Then I try and find out what the answer is. have there been times when I "knew" something and I was wrong? Yep, sadly. Do I try to not make mistakes every single day to the best of my ability? Yes. But mistakes happen.
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Old April 16, 2011, 12:20 AM   #18
EricReynolds
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Like a good citizen, I've been trying to find out the answer once and for all. I called my state assemblyman's office who told me they couldn't find anything on the books and referred me to my DA's office who told me they don't give out legal advice and referred me to the AG's office who didn't get back to me. The DA's office is the one who got me mad. They don't give out legal advice? I wasn't asking for advice, I was asking for facts. How can they prosecute me for a crime if I asked if it was a crime and was told, "we can't tell you that"?
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Old April 16, 2011, 06:10 PM   #19
youngunz4life
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I appreciate your drive, but it seems the law is clear: you are allowed to wear the vest. That on top of the common sense factor tells me you have nothing to worry about. If anything, I would talk to your friend to let her know the law and verify she truely has no other concrete support behind her original reasoning. If she doesn't then this is a done deal.
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Old April 16, 2011, 07:59 PM   #20
Don H
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EricReynolds
They don't give out legal advice? I wasn't asking for advice, I was asking for facts. How can they prosecute me for a crime if I asked if it was a crime and was told, "we can't tell you that"?
You were asking for legal advice. If you paid an attorney to answer your question, you'd also be getting legal advice. The DA's office, funded by taxpayers, doesn't have enough staff to answer questions about leash laws, how far you can park your car from the curb, what to do about the obnoxious neighbors next door, etc. I'd bet that you couldn't find anything in the law that established the DA's office that mandates them answering legal questions for citizens. The AG's office may also not be constitutionally required to answer citizen's legal questions, only those of other governmental entities.
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Old April 16, 2011, 11:21 PM   #21
hermannr
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It is very obvious from the NY state law. If you are not armed, and attempting to commit a felony, your vest is legal.

I will give you the best legal advice...read the law like it was written in English, 99.99% of the time it is worded clearly enough for a 6th grader.
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