ROCHESTER, N.Y (WROC) — We’re taking a deeper dive into some of the gun control laws signed by Governor Kathy Hochul earlier this week. Learning the ban on body armor would not have applied to the type the Buffalo shooter wore. The language in Senate Bill 9407B only applies to a certain type of bulletproof vests and other body armor.
There are all kinds of body armor and bulletproof vests out there. Under this law, Soft Body armor and vests are outlawed from being sold to and bought by civilians. But not hard armor plate body vests which the Buffalo shooter was wearing.
Michael Cohn, President of the New York Police Supply Store has been selling body armor and other types of bulletproof vests for 35 years. After reading up on the new law banning the sales of what the state calls “bullet-resistant soft body armor” he believes lawmakers left a loophole.
“It’s talking about soft body armor of the day,” Cohn said. “They reference .38 caliber ammunition that’s a very dated spec at least 10 or 15 years old. I was disappointed they didn’t do their homework first or put it out for public comment.”
Under the new law, purchasing or owning what the state refers to as a “body vest” after June 19th is a Class A misdemeanor on a first offense. But this section of the law only defines a body vest as “bullet-resistant soft body armor.” Vests with hard armor plates like the Buffalo shooter wore are still legal to buy.
“That hard armor would be what I was talking about his rifle plates that are specifically meant for high-powered rifle ammunition,” Cohn continued. “Under the current law, they missed that section.”
“I actually thought that the hard armor vests were included in the legislation,” Sen. Jeremy Cooney said. “I’ve just Come to learn that it’s not, that needs to be corrected and we’re absolutely committed to whether it’s a special session or in the new session in January making sure we close that loophole.”
One taxi driver recently robbed at gunpoint while on the job in Rochester, who asked us not to show his face or use his full name, is concerned about how he’ll protect himself after this. After learning he’s not eligible when trying to purchase a bulletproof vest today. Relying on pepper spray now.
“That guy was ready to shoot and kill me,” George said. “The people around there witnessed this. So that day if I wasn’t having pepper spray on me I would be dead.”
If you are caught selling or purchasing a soft body armor vest after this law takes effect the offense moves from a class a misdemeanor to a Class E felony. Senator Cooney explained he is open to expanding those who qualify for exemptions.
Right now, those deemed eligible for exemptions must be approved by the Department of State.