BUFFALO, N.Y. — Congressman Brian Higgins (D-NY) is reintroducing legislation in the name of the security guard at Tops who died after being unable to stop the shooter, who was wearing body armor.
Higgins and Grace Meng (D-NY) reintroduced the Aaron Salter, Jr. Responsible Body Armor Possession Act, which would prohibit the sale, transfer, or possession of enhanced Level 3 body armor by civilians unless they meet specific employment exemptions, like being in law enforcement or active-duty military personnel. Level 3 can involve ceramic or metal plates which can be inserted into a vest. Softer ballisitic vests can easily stop a round from a pistol. But Level 3 armor may also protect the wearer from a more powerful rifle round.
“One year ago, a racist, hateful individual traveled to my community of Western New York to commit mass violence at a supermarket on Jefferson Avenue in East Buffalo,” Higgins in a released statement.
“Armed with an AR-15 assault weapon, he shot 13 of our neighbors, killing 10 of them in just two minutes and three seconds. It is often said that the best way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. Retired police officer Aaron Salter, Jr., the security guard on duty on May 14, 2022, was a good guy with a gun, but his weapon was no match for the military-grade body armor the shooter wore. Body armor designed for war zones has no place in our neighborhoods. The Aaron Salter, Jr. Responsible Body Armor Possession Act prohibits civilians from buying and selling this enhanced armor. I am proud to once again join Rep. Meng in introducing this commonsense measure. It protects communities, as well as law enforcement answering the call when public safety is at risk.”
Meng, a member of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, added: “In past mass shootings, perpetrators have worn body armor that has prolonged the duration of these horrific attacks.”
“Aaron Salter, Jr., faced such an individual whose body armor ensured that the massacre continued despite shots received from Salter’s firearm. The fact that bad actors have access to equipment designed to stop military grade ammunition is dangerous for communities and threatens law enforcement’s ability to respond during a shooting. We must do any and everything we can to limit the devastation of mass shootings before they begin. Our bill is a commonsense step to ensure dangerous individuals cannot access enhanced body armor. I thank Congressman Higgins for his leadership and we will work to see it signed into law.”
Some of the shooters in other mass shooting incidents also wore body armor.
Higgins introduced the same bill, which failed to pass, in the last term of Congress after the Tops case. He says this re-introduced measure will be circulated to help determine bi-partisan support. But he is hopeful the volume of mass shootings this year may cause even some members who are against gun control to be more receptive to a body armor ban.