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  1. #1
    guanxi is offline Junior Member
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    Is it legal to possess a bullet proof vest?

    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? Texas

    I live in Texas. I am shopping for a bullet proof vest and I was told this might be illegal to possess if you have a felony. Really? That doesn’t make sense so I am looking for clarification. I do have one non-violent felony which happened over 30 years ago. So if possessing a bullet proof vest for self defense is an offense... what is the penalty?

    Could someone provide a link to statutory or case law that would clarify this?

    Thank you.
  2. #2
    dmcc10880 is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by guanxi View Post
    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? Texas

    I live in Texas. I am shopping for a bullet proof vest and I was told this might be illegal to possess if you have a felony. Really? That doesn’t make sense so I am looking for clarification. I do have one non-violent felony which happened over 30 years ago. So if possessing a bullet proof vest for self defense is an offense... what is the penalty?

    Could someone provide a link to statutory or case law that would clarify this?

    Thank you.
    I hate to be snarky here, but a quick google of possession of bulletproof vest will turn up a lot of information.

    Simple answer: Yes. You can purchase one, but why would you want/need one?
  3. #3
    justalayman is offline Senior Member
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    While I have not located statute supporting the fact you cannot possess such an item, I have read several situations where a person was charged for exactly what you are asking about.
  4. #4
    justalayman is offline Senior Member
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    here we go:


    § 46.041. UNLAWFUL POSSESSION OF METAL OR BODY ARMOR BY
    FELON. (a) In this section, "metal or body armor" means any body
    covering manifestly designed, made, or adapted for the purpose of
    protecting a person against gunfire.
    (b) A person who has been convicted of a felony commits an
    offense if after the conviction the person possesses metal or body
    armor.
    (c) An offense under this section is a felony of the third
    degree.
    and yes dmcc, it was a pretty easy google search to find it.
  5. #5
    guanxi is offline Junior Member
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    Thanks for the replies and I guess I need to address some questions. Before I post on any forum I always do a search on that forum, as well as on Google. And yes, I found lots of so-called information which did not seem reliable. And it would seem that dmcc might have stumbled on that same information.

    As for why I would want one... it is simply for wearing around my own property. I will try to explain as briefly as possible. Earlier this year someone broke into my home just before noon on a Sunday. I suspect they did not realize I was home, in bed asleep. When they opened the front door to remove property it triggered an alarm which woke me up. I grabbed a hammer from my tool box and entered the living room and they ran out the front to a waiting car in the back.

    It occurred to me that if they had a weapon, and wanted to slow me down, I would be in serious trouble. And thus the desire for a bullet proof vest for next time. It also occurred to me that if I had been allowed to possess a weapon there would be one less burglar in the neighborhood who might visit your house next time. Several months after that incident I heard a commotion around 3:00 AM at my neighbors house. I actually got dressed and went to investigate. Again, if I encountered someone with a weapon I would be in trouble. So there you go... those are my reasons. Perhaps I should not get involved next time.

    Not intending to change the subject - but having researched this a bit more it appears that I could legally possess a handgun in my own home as the felony was over 30 years ago (Texas law). I find it ironic that the same rule would not apply to protective gear.
  6. #6
    justalayman is offline Senior Member
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    It would seem logical that if you are allowed to possess a handgun that you would also be allowed to possess body armor. The laws aren't always logical but beyond that, they people who enacted the body armor law may have intentionally not included the same exception available for the handgun for some reason we are not aware of.

    Offhand, I do not know why it is how it is. If you would care to research the history of the laws, you might find some justification or, you might find that they just didn't include it because they didn't and no other reason.
  7. #7
    proud_parent is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by guanxi View Post
    Could someone provide a link to statutory or case law that would clarify this?
    Since the statute has been posted already, here's some case law that may interest you:

    http://tinyurl.com/Walker-v-State
  8. #8
    asiny is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by guanxi View Post
    It also occurred to me that if I had been allowed to possess a weapon there would be one less burglar in the neighborhood who might visit your house next time.
    SECTION 1. Section 9.01, Penal Code
    Even though Texas does have a Castle Doctrine - as he was attempting to flee the property IF you had shot him.. you would be arrested. Now, if he had attempted to attack you - then fire away.

    Copied from Donald Ray Burger - Attorney at Law
    This is a situation where you would go wrong if you only looked at Texas law. Texas law lets a convicted felon possess a firearm on the premises where he lives once five years have elapsed from his release from prison or from parole, whichever is later. Texas Penal Code §46.04.
    However, federal law is much stricter. It generally prohibits a person convicted of a crime "punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year" from possessing a firearm. The test is the length of possible punishment, not whether the crime is called a misdemeanor or a felony. No exception is made for having a firearm at the home, no matter how long ago the conviction. 18 U.S.C. § 922(g). Also, Federal law makes it unlawful for anyone under indictment for a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year to receive (possess) any firearm or ammunition which has been shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce. 18 U.S.C. § 922(n).
  9. #9
    swalsh411 is offline Senior Member
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    It is still illegal under Federal law for a felon to possess a firearm. Being in Texas does not make that Federal law go away.
  10. #10
    CdwJava is online now Senior Member
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    As a point of clarification, there really is no such beast as a "bullet PROOF vest." They are bullet RESISTANT, ballistic vests.

    And if there is an intruder in the house, the last thing someone is going to do is strap on the ol' ballistic vest. Cover and concealment are better defenses than the vest anyway, and the minute it might take to locate and dress in the vest would be better spent arming and barricading yourself while calling 9-1-1.
    A Nor Cal Cop Sergeant

    "Make mine a double mocha ...
    And a croissant!"

    Seek justice,
    Love mercy,
    Walk humbly with your God

    -- Courageous, by Casting Crowns ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkM-gDcmJeM

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