Enter your search term

Search by title or post keyword

Can a Felon Own Body Armor?

Table of Contents

Our website is supported by our users. We sometimes earn affiliate links when you click through the affiliate links on our website

Contact us for Questions

Why would felons want to protect themselves and their family?  It is a natural thing to do.  They want to protect their loved ones, themselves, and their home just like anyone else.

This blog post will cover the issue of whether a felon can own body armor.

  • What Is Body Armor?
  • How Does Body Armor Work?
  • Limits for Felons
  • Why Own Body Armor?
  • Supporting a Felon in Owning Body Armor


What Is Body Armor?

Body armor is any type of protective clothing designed to stop attacks on an individual by deflecting penetration by a bullet, knife, or other weapon.

Body armor is used to protect military personnel, police, security guards, body guards, and private citizens.

Body armor dates back to ancient tribes, when it was made of animal hide, and to the Roman Empire, made of metal plates.

There are two types of body armor, non-plated and soft used by police and individuals, and hard-plated, used by combat soldiers, police tactical units, and even by private citizens.

More typical soft body armor started when hard-plated protection became too thick for practical use.

How Does Body Armor Work?

Body armor is actually bullet resistant, meaning it will prevent bullets of certain types, sizes, and velocities from penetrating.

An individual wearing body armor can still be injured by the bullet and can cause bruising or internal injuries.

Most body armor is made of a lightweight material such as Kevlar.  This material is made of fine threads made into fibers and woven into a web.  Layers of this web are placed together to form a panel.

Body armor is designed to give protection from smaller caliber bullets.

It is typically expensive and can range from $100 up to $1000 or more.

Limits for Felons

The familiar bullet proof vest is considered under federal law to be a type of body armor.

Under federal law, anyone convicted of a violent felony cannot legally own body armor.  The only exception to this is for an employee performing a legal business activity as part of a job.

A violent crime is defined as one that uses, attempts to use, or threatens physical force against another person.

Any offense that is a felony and involves significant risk of physical force against an individual in committing the act is classified as a violent crime.

For any other crime, a felon is allowed by law to purchase or own body armor.

Any violation by a felon with a violent offense will result in a three-year prison sentence and a longer sentence if it is used in a violent crime or drug trafficking.

In California, for example, up to three years will be added to the sentence if body armor is used in committing a crime.

In Kentucky, use of body armor will disqualify a felon for parole.

In most states, wearing body armor during a violent crime is itself a crime and will result in a sentence beyond any other imposed by the court.

A few states like Louisiana dot not allow body armor to be worn on school property or at a school function.

The reason for limiting the sale and use of body armor, especially during a crime, is that a felon committing a crime while wearing it must be determined to commit a crime.

Why else would they be wearing it?  That results in an enhanced sentence.

Some states will not allow a felon to own body armor because the state believes it will only encourage them to break the law.

All individuals have the right to protect themselves and their families.  Anyone purchasing body armor must determine if it is legal for them to do so.  Anyone selling body armor cannot be charged with a crime for selling it.

Body armor can be sold under certain conditions.  Body armor can be sold in a store, over the phone, or online.  It can be sold and shipped to all states except Connecticut.

Body armor cannot be shipped or taken outside the U.S.

Why Own Body Armor?

Body armor may be purchased by a felon wanting to protect themselves and their home.

While the average individual does not need body armor, someone in a situation in which they could be shot, may think about buying body armor.

While it is understandable to want to protect oneself and their family, a felon needs to exercise caution in owning body armor.

Because of their standing as a felon, it is not advisable for a felon to entering a situation where there could be gunfire.

Many persons would think that someone wearing body armor is expecting to be shot at whether by the police or a civilian.  It is unwise for a felon to put themselves in this type or situation.

Denying felons with a violent history the opportunity to have body armor can help deter them from placing themselves in this type of position.

In addition to owning body armor, a felon who has strong evidence of their life being in danger can request an exemption from owning a firearm.

This exception is called the “affirmative defense of necessity.”

There are five criteria, including:

  • Reasonable fear of death or serious injury
  • No reckless placement of themselves in the path of that threat
  • No reasonable alternative to firearm possession
  • Reasonable belief that possession would avert the threat
  • Maintain possession only as long as necessary to avoid the threat

Supporting a Felon in Owning Body Armor

For families of felons who want to own body armor, support them in doing so through legal means.

Be honest with them about the importance of this as part of their commitment to putting their criminal life behind them.

Following legal guidelines in owning body armor is important.

There is a legal method for owning body armor. Be there for them.  Help them achieve this.

So what do you think about this blog post about whether a felon can own body armor?  Have you or someone you know been in this situation?  What was that like and were they successful?  Please tell us in the comments below.

6 thoughts on “Can a Felon Own Body Armor?”

  1. The rationale behind the law is absurd. Possessing body armor does not make people more inclined to commit crimes. What it’s really saying is that if you’re a felon you don’t deserve to be protected. You don’t deserve to live. When the cops open fire on you they don’t want to waste bullets, they want a clean kill. That’s what that’s about.

  2. I think felons should be able to own body armor because if they work at a gas station they are more likely to be in danger of getting robbed or shot. If they are republican in today’s political chaos they are more likely to be a victim of a violent crime like the trump supporter at Berkeley California that got attacked by a mod or the people shot and killed in the riots that happen. Today non violent felons should be allowed to own firearms to protect themselves as well as their families from unprovoked attacks on them.

  3. I am a personel superviaor i drive a police car from a apearances i am requires to make rounds and check on guards exit my car in dark areas as i may look like a cop or security guard i am not i pick up reports and confirm my guards are doing their job then i get back in patrol car and go to next locTion ..im a felon would tbis constitute reasonable cause to wear bullet proof vest …and if so who do i get to sign off that while working and unarmed in bad areas i am approved to wear a vest under my shirt..

  4. Basically this law states clearly that the life of a convicted ex- felon means nothing. There is alot of assumption here. The way things are going you don’t have to pit yourself in a situation. One simply being in public at any given time can be dangerous. There is no such thing as a safe zone. Schools at all grade levels used to be safe not anymore. Going to Walmart use to be safe, not anymore. Even going to the movies is not safe. This is another way of the govnerment saying.” Since you have broken the law (s) your life and the life of your love ones mean nothing. Their are saying the life of a police officer is more important then yours. How did we get to this point.

    • You absolutely hit the nail on the head. 19 years ago I wrote a bad check to get my pregnant girlfriend out of jail when she was gravely ill. Because the check was 1,025.00 I was charged with a felony. If the check had been $999.99 it would have been a misdemeanor. I have never done anything illegal since. I honestly thought it would have covered it. I was in the process of getting my criminal justice degree to start a career in law enforcement during that time and it literally ruined my life. I couldn’t even get into the Army because of it when I tried to enlist in 05. On another note I really want to be able to volunteer for the Ukrainian Armed Forces but I’m worried I will be rejected because of my past. I’m not a criminal nor have I ever been one. As a matter of fact the jail administrator personally called me and told me that I needed to get her out of there because she was severely I’ll and pregnant. That’s actually how we found out that she was pregnant. I didn’t rob anyone. I just wrote a bad check on my own bank account. There should be exceptions for people like me. These laws are so draconian and unfair. Something needs to be done. I know other felons and some of them own and carry firearms only to protect themselves and their loved ones from violent criminals or people who might perpetrate mass shootings. They have absolutely no desire to commit crimes or harm others. Our lives matter too. It really gets my blood boiling when I think about it.

  5. The law has a long history in this country, of creatively distorting the meaning of words, so that the common understanding of them no longer applies. I believe the definition of “violent” has sometimes been conveniently distorted to include crimes that had no element of physical violence, but were labeled as “violent” simply because the perpetrator was in a position of authority or power by virtue of the relationship with the victim. How does one go about determining whether “violent” really means violent as any normal person would assume, or whether the “legal” definition has been corrupted out of convenience to mean “You’re still screwed”?


Leave a Comment

Explore More within Felony Record Hub

Jobs for Felons
Get to work faster with jobs for felons curated for you.
post explore


How we help

This website was created by a few folks who have personally watched their loved ones struggle to get a job due to having a felony.

Your New Life Starts Here.

logo frh no text
Start Here
icon jobs

Jobs for Felons

Get to work faster with jobs for felons curated for you.

icon housing

Housing for Felons

Find housing for felons, listed by state.

icon legal

Legal Help

The legal help you need to put your past behind you

icon rights

Rights For Felons

Learn how you can get your rights back as a felon.

icon companies hiring

Companies Hiring Felons

Finding employment as a felon is tough. That’s why we have aggregated the best jobs for felons in one spot.

View Companies
icon programs

Reentry Programs

Resources to help ex-offenders gain essential life skills for making the right choices in life.

View Reentry Programs