When cell-phone videos surfaced from the Parkland shooting where students were crouched on a classroom floor with the sound of gunshots echoing in the background, it motivated parents to find ways to better protect their kids when they send them off to school.
There are practical, long-term answers of course, including voting for lawmakers who back sensible gun restrictions, which most Americans support to a degree. (A recent Pew poll found that the vast majority of Democrats and Republicans are in favor of preventing the mentally ill from purchasing guns, as well as background checks for private and gun-show sales.)
I interviewed a former North Carolina Sherriff and asked him what it would take to help stop some of the gun violence in schools. His response is what we’ve heard many Conservatives across the United States already say, “the only way to fight a bad man with a gun is with a good man with a gun.”
Regardless of how you think gun violence should be stopped, protecting children is a priority which is why many parents are turning to bulletproof backpacks; however how much protection they actually offer is up for debate.
“[Our bulletproof backpacks] sold out within three days of the Parkland, FL shooting,” Yasir Sheikh, the president of Guard Dog Security, a personal defense product company, said about its sales following the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
Guard Dog Security began selling bulletproof bags five years ago, after 20 children and six adults were murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. He says that sales have been consistent — not surprising, considering that more than 400 people have become victims of school shootings since then. He also says that the company typically experiences a spike in sales in the days following a mass shooting. “Sometimes we see it instantly, sometimes it’s a few days afterward,” he explains.
Most bulletproof backpack manufacturers are capable of stopping a 357 Magnum, 44 Magnum, 9mm, .45 caliber hollow point ammunition and more.
The plate that is in most children’s bulletproof backpacks, however, is rated for pistols, not necessarily rated for rifles. An AR15 rifle was the weapon used in the Parkland school shooting. When the bulletproof backpack was tested with the AR15, the bullets went right through the backpack, leaving it “shredded”.
SWAT officers tend to have a trauma plate that’s about six to eight inches by six to eight inches. Children wouldn’t need that large of a trauma plate, but considering the number of school shootings, it’s a question of how can students better protect themselves, and if they would hold the backpack up for safety if (God forbid) there was a shooting.
There’s no downside to a bulletproof backpack even if it doesn’t guarantee physical safety.
Many parents have been working with their local schools to donate money for help purchasing devices that may benefit students and teachers if they find themselves in a hostage situation with a gunman.
There are other devices that parents are buying, like The Rampart bar. This handy device will safely secure a door from the inside, making it almost impossible for an intruder to gain entrance to the classroom. Another product that’s making its ways into schools is The Sleeve. This device can slide over the door closer arm to help secure a room from an invader gaining access. Parents can also purchase insert pads that can turn their children’s existing backpacks into a bulletproof bag.
Regardless of if you will be purchasing a product or device for your schools or children, it’s clear to see we need to start preparing kids for the real dangers that are out there.