A police advocacy group has criticized a California appeals court ruling overturning a law that prevented violent felons from owning body armor, saying the ruling will put officers and the public in danger, the Los Angeles Times reports. The decade-old ban was enacted after a 1997 shootout between police and two heavily armored bank robbers that injured officers and civilians.
The appellate court overturned the state law, saying it was unconstitutional because the definition of body armor was too vague. “It just makes this job that much more dangerous,” said Paul Weber, president of the Los Angeles Police Protective League. “It’s going to make criminals more bold and more likely to shoot it out with the police.” The challenge to the body armor ban stemmed from the arrest of a parolee who had been convicted of voluntary manslaughter. The man was arrested when police noticed that he was wearing a 10-pound, bulletproof vest underneath his shirt.