Are Plate Carriers Legal?

Are Plate Carriers Legal?


Plate carriers have become increasingly popular among civilians for personal protection. But are these tactical vests actually legal to own and use? At PivotalBodyArmor, we want to provide clear information about the legality of plate carriers so you can make informed decisions about your safety gear.

What is a Plate Carrier?

A plate carrier is a type of bulletproof vest designed to hold ballistic armor plates. Unlike soft body armor, plate carriers provide a higher level of protection against rifle rounds and other high-velocity threats. They allow you to customize your armor setup by inserting hard armor plates into front and rear pockets.

Plate carriers like the AR500 Armor Invictus Plate Carrier offer modular customization. You can add gear like pouches, holsters, and medical kits to suit your needs. This makes them popular for tactical applications as well as preparedness.

Federal Laws on Body Armor

On a federal level, body armor is legal to own and wear for law-abiding citizens. The main legislation is the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (LEOSA), which allows active and retired law enforcement to carry concealed firearms across state lines. It also exempts them from state and local bans on possessing body armor.

For non-law enforcement, there is no federal restriction on buying or using body armor like plate carriers, unless you have been convicted of a violent felony. According to 18 U.S. Code § 931, it is illegal for violent felons to purchase, own, or possess body armor.

Body Armor Legality Details Federally Legal? Yes, for law-abiding citizens Felony Restriction Violent felons prohibited under 18 U.S. Code § 931 Law Enforcement Exempted from state/local bans under LEOSA

So for most civilians, plate carriers are legally allowed under U.S. federal law. However, there are some state-specific restrictions to be aware of, which we'll detail below.

State Laws on Plate Carriers

While plate carriers are federally legal, some states have added their own restrictions:

  • Connecticut: Requires body armor purchases to be made in person. Online sales are prohibited.

  • New York: Limits body armor purchase and ownership to law enforcement, military, and certain security professions.

Body Armor Law Restriction Affected Group CT Gen Stat § 53-341b (2019) In-person sales only General public NY Penal Law §270.20 Law enforcement/security only General public Felony Restrictions (various) Prohibited under state law Convicted felons Many states have extended the body armor prohibition beyond violent felons to include other felony convictions. Be sure to check your specific state laws. At PivotalBodyArmor, our plate carrier selection is available to law-abiding citizens in states without additional restrictions.

Legality of Plate Carrier Use

Even in states where purchase and ownership are allowed, using a plate carrier may be subject to additional laws. Some states prohibit wearing body armor while committing a crime. In Louisiana, for example, wearing body armor during any crime is a separate felony offense (R.S. 14:95.9).

Other restrictions involve intent. Michigan law 750.227g)/mileg.aspx?page=getobject&objectname=mcl-750-227g) prohibits wearing body armor while committing a violent crime with intent to injure. Similarly, New Jersey 2C:39-13 makes it a separate crime to wear a body armor while committing certain serious offenses.

Body Armor Use Details Prohibited during crime Separate felony offense in some states Intent to harm Illegal if committing violent crime in some states

So while plate carriers are generally legal to own, actually using them in relation to any crime is prohibited. Responsible ownership is key.

Proper Use of Plate Carriers

As with any tool, it's important that plate carriers are used properly and responsibly:

  1. Only use plate carriers in a legal manner for lawful purposes like personal protection.

  2. Be aware of how wearing tactical gear may be perceived in public settings. Consider a concealable carrier for discreet protection.

  3. Inspect and maintain your plate carrier regularly to ensure it's in proper working condition.

  4. Train with your plate carrier setup to be proficient in an emergency. Practice donning/doffing and accessing gear.

  5. Store your plate carrier securely when not in use to prevent unauthorized access, especially by minors.

Responsible use also means getting quality equipment from reputable dealers. At PivotalBodyArmor, we offer NIJ-certified armor plates and U.S. made plate carriers you can trust. Our team is here to answer any questions and help you find the right protection.

The Bottom Line on Plate Carrier Legality

For most law-abiding citizens, owning and using a plate carrier is legally allowed under U.S. federal law. Some states have added restrictions on purchase and possession, so always check your local laws. Using body armor while committing a crime is prohibited.

When in doubt, consult with a legal professional for specific guidance. At PivotalBodyArmor, we are committed to providing the best in personal protection while promoting responsible, legal ownership. Stay safe out there!

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