Appeals Courts Overturns California Ban on Felons Owning Body Armor

It’s known as the North Hollywood Shootout: two heavily armed bank robbers wearing military-grade, bullet-resistant body armor confronted police in a fierce, 44-minute gun battle in Los Angeles on February 28, 1997. A total of 10 officers and a half dozen citizens were injured before the gunmen were killed. The incident prompted the California Legislature the next year to enact a law prohibiting convicted felons from owning body armor as a way to help protect law enforcement.

Last week, the 2nd District Court of Appeal in Los Angeles overturned the law, saying its definition of body armor was unconstitutionally vague. “It just makes this job that much more dangerous,” Paul Weber, president of the Los Angeles Police Protective League (LAPPL) told the Los Angeles Times. “It’s going to make criminals more bold and more likely to shoot it out with the police.” Mr. Weber said the LAPPL, which represents almost 10,000 officers, will ask the state attorney general’s office to file an appeal, which could prompt a review by the California Supreme Court.

Read the full story in the Los Angeles Times: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-body-armor20-2009dec20,0,5869498.story.