Is Body Armor Legal in NY?

Body armor is considered protective equipment throughout the US. But that doesn’t mean that just anyone can buy it. Each US state has its own set of laws, and this goes for weapons and body armor.

In this article, you’ll learn about the legality of body armor in the state of New York and some other useful information about body armor itself.

Is it Legal in New York?

As mentioned above, different government rules regarding body armor exist throughout the United States. For example, in Connecticut, you can’t buy body armor via phone or the internet. The only way to purchase ballistic and other protective vests is face-to-face.

But let’s review some federal limitations that pertain to body armor. First, you have to be an adult to buy a bulletproof vest in any US state. Second, felons can’t legally own or purchase body armor unless it’s dictated by their job. In these instances, the person wearing body armor has to have written permission from their employer.

In the state of New York, all adults can buy bulletproof vests online or face-to-face, as long as they haven’t been charged and convicted of a felony. Wearing a bulletproof vest is considered unlawful if committing a felony or if the wearer is with a person or persons committing violent felony offenses. This is regarded as a class-E felony.

Selling Body Armor

In case you want to sell a protective vest of any kind (body armor) in the state of New York, you can do it as an in-person transaction or online. In this case, no ID check is needed. This goes for background checks, as well. Body armor can be shipped to 49 out of the 50 US states. As outlined above, Connecticut only allows face-to-face transactions when selling body armor.

In New York, you can sell protective vests at gun shows, in a store, via phone, on a website, or through a catalog.

As is the case with every other US state, you can’t take, ship, bring along, or send protective vests outside the US’s confines. The only exception here is having Federal permission.

Civilians Who Often Wear Body Armor

Although it may sound a bit unbelievable, some civilians legally wear body armor in New York and throughout the US. Here’s a list of people who are often seen with this kind of protection:

  • Bodyguards
  • Private investigators
  • Shooting range personnel
  • Judges
  • Attorneys
  • Journalists
  • Subpoena servers
  • Hunters
  • Forest rangers
  • Couriers
  • Convenience store employees
  • Pawnshop owners
  • Jewelry shop owners
  • People who live in dangerous areas, notorious for high crime activity
  • Homeowners with various home invasions experiences
  • Victims of abuse/stalking
  • ATM repairmen

The list of people who often wear body armor is extensive. But according to the Second Amendment, one of the foundations of the United States says that people have the right to bear arms to protect themselves. Why wouldn’t it be legal for them to wear ballistic vests? After all, this gear is there for protective purposes.

Regardless, there are rules and regulations that govern purchasing, owning, and wearing body armor. These differ from state to state. Although we’ve already outlined those pertaining to New York, you should learn before making a purchase as a civilian. Getting more information regarding this is as simple as making a call to your local police station (but don’t dial 911 with this type of question. Google your local police station’s phone number).

Even if you are sure that you know everything there is to know about the legality of purchasing, owning, and wearing body armor in New York, you should check with the relevant authorities, just to be safe.

Why the Strict Regulations?

Although not everyone will see the legal measures around body armor as “strict,” when you think about it, there are some non-negotiable rules. But bulletproof vests aren’t dangerous; they can’t hurt anybody -they’re just used for personal protection. So, why all the legalese?

Although a bulletproof vest is harmless by and in itself, when worn by an individual who plans on committing a violent crime, it makes that individual much harder to pin down by law enforcement officers. The lack of any laws, rules, and regulations would encourage the potential assailants to wear body armor while performing crimes.

Fortunately, in most US states, wearing body armor while committing a crime makes you eligible for sentence enhancement. This serves as a deterrent for criminals to wear bulletproof vests. Additionally, as someone with a criminal record, you aren’t qualified to legally purchase, own, or wear a protective vest.

Finally, the rules for body armor are there to avoid inciting violence. If the rules were completely loose, people would be more encouraged to equip themselves with body armor, contributing to the general uneasiness on the streets in cities and towns.

As a body armor’s legal owner, you aren’t required to keep the proof of purchase for your protective equipment. As long as your rap sheet is clean, you don’t owe anyone any explanation. Protecting yourself is your given right in the United States, and you are allowed to do so, as long as you are abiding by the law.

The State of New York and Body Armor

As long as you aren’t a convicted felon and you purchase body armor in person or online, you don’t have to worry about owning or wearing a ballistic vest. However, bear in mind that your sentence will likely be enhanced if you commit a violent felony while wearing body armor.

If you live in New York and need to protect your well-being, you don’t have to be reluctant about buying body armor. Many civilians choose to exercise their right to defend themselves from assaults.


  1. Best Health and Fitness Tracker, Whoop. Get 1 Month Free: See it here!
  2. EDC Assisted Opening knife we can’t live without: See it here!
  3. Best EDC Concealed Carry Pistol: See it here!
  4. Extreme Performance Morning Dink: See it here!
  5. Best 3D Printer For Gun Parts and Accessories: See it here!
  6. Our Top Rated EDC Flashlight: See it here!
  7. AR Red Dot Sight We Can’t Live Without: See it here!
  8. Best Handgun Safe For Quick Access: See it here!
  9. Top Wireless Security Camera For Home Security: See it here!
  10. The Range Bag You’ve Always Been Looking For: See it here!
  11. CIA Approved Sharp Shooting Course: See it here!

Matthew Osborn

Matt is an entrepreneur who has created and successfully exited multiple companies and brands. Now, he dedicates his time to Legionary, where he produces content on guns, family, and freedom.

Recent Posts