BUFFALO, NY (July 1, 2024) – Today, Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) announced the filing of a new federal Second Amendment lawsuit, filed in the Western District of New York, challenging New York’s body armor ban. The case is captioned Heeter v. James. Case documents can be viewed at FPCLegal.org.

New York's body armor ban shows that the State's commitment to authoritarianism has collapsed into absurdity, making it a crime to buy and use simple personal protective equipment,” said FPC President Brandon Combs. “New York's laws have gone so far off the deep end that it would surprise exactly no one if Governor Hochul and her goons banned safety glasses next. FPC looks forward to eliminating this unconstitutional law and teaching New York another lesson about constitutionally protected rights.”

Under New York law, “[a] person is guilty of the unlawful purchase of body armor when, not being engaged or employed in an eligible profession, they knowingly purchase or take possession of body armor.” Furthermore, it is not permitted for anyone to “sell, exchange, give or dispose of body armor…to an individual…not engaged or employed in an eligible profession.” Violations are subject to a “Class A misdemeanor for a first offense and a Class E felony for any subsequent offense.

FPC commissioned research on the history and tradition of defensive armor use and regulation. “The Tradition of Armor Use and Regulation in America,” a forthcoming law review article, notes the deeply rooted tradition of keeping and wearing armor in America and finds that throughout American history, whenever the usefulness of armor outweighed the burden of wearing it, armor was used. That tradition, combined with the lack of historical restrictions, evinces a robust right to possess and wear body armor for self-defense.

FPC is seeking a declaratory judgment that Plaintiffs have a fundamental, constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms, including body armor, and that New York’s ban is unconstitutional. FPC also seeks a permanent injunction to block the enforcement of the ban.

FPC is joined in this case by an individual FPC member. Plaintiffs are represented by Nicholas Rotsko of Fluet Law.

Firearms Policy Coalition (firearmspolicy.org), a 501(c)4 nonprofit membership organization, exists to create a world of maximal human liberty, defend constitutional rights, advance individual liberty, and restore freedom. We work to achieve our strategic objectives through litigation, research, scholarly publications, amicus briefing, legislative and regulatory action, grassroots activism, education, outreach, and other programs. Our FPC Law program (FPCLaw.org) is the nation’s preeminent legal action initiative focused on restoring the right to keep and bear arms throughout the United States. Individuals who want to support FPC’s work to eliminate unconstitutional laws can join the FPC Grassroots Army at JoinFPC.org or make a donation at firearmspolicy.org/donate. For more on FPC’s lawsuits and other pro-Second Amendment initiatives, visit FPCLegal.org and follow FPC on Instagram, X (Twitter), Facebook, YouTube.