Bulletproof backpacks are seeing a massive surge in demand following the devastating mass shooting at a school in Uvalde, Texas on Tuesday, May 24. Police confirmed the shooting at Robb Elementary School killed 19 children and 2 teachers.
As heartbreaking as it is, bulletproof gear seems to be the last resort for millions of worried parents to protect their children amid these life-threatening situations that are only becoming more common with each passing day in America.
Bulletproof backpack sales skyrocket after Uvalde school shooting
Four leading makers of bulletproof backpacks, specifically designed to protect children from active shooters, have reported a significant increase in sales following the worst US school shooting since Sandy Hook in 2012. Leatherback Gear recorded a 800% increase in sales, while sales of TuffyPacks armor inserts increased 300%.
Guard Dog Security, which manufactures various other self-defense equipment, also reported that they “see an increase” in interested customers as well as national retailers. According to brand president Yasir Sheikh, Guard Dog donated some of the proceeds from sales to Make Our Schools Safe, a non-profit organization founded by the parents of one of the high school shooting victims. Marjory Stoneman Douglas in 2018 in Parkland, Florida.
Julie McCuen, COO of Leatherback Gear, told Insider that tragic events such as school shootings usually lead to increased sales of bulletproof backpacks. She says:
“People are responding and looking for something to feel safer afterwards. While we wish it wasn’t something we as parents had to think about, recent history reveals that it really is a threat to our children that we must take seriously and do everything we can to be proactive.”
“Just as we educate and prepare our children in school on what to do in the event of a fire, now we must do the same for an active shooter.”
How bulletproof backpacks work explained
Leatherback Gear Founder and CEO, Mike De Geus, is a former Secret Service agent who was in charge of the security of several US Presidents, including Trump, Obama, Bush and Clinton. Geus guarantees that his company’s bulletproof backpacks provide the same amount of bulletproof armor as his own gear while protecting former presidents.
The brand’s Sport One Jr., designed for active shooting, “splits the backpack into two parts, creating an armored vest in seconds.” For other body armor variants, a person in the line of fire can deflect bullets by holding the bag against their head or chest, as shown in product illustrations on manufacturers’ websites. According to product descriptions, the backpacks weigh less than four pounds.
Another manufacturer of bulletproof backpack inserts, MC Armor, reported that the states of New Jersey, Georgia, California, Pennsylvania and Florida in particular saw a substantial increase in asks after the shooting. The brand’s marketing manager, Carolina Ballesteros, said:
“Normally, our regular customers don’t look for backpack inserts if it’s not back to school, but since [May 24] 20% of visits and calls to our website relate to this product. We always raise awareness about school training and safety, but unfortunately it’s just at the time of a tragedy that they seek it out.”
School shootings have almost become the inevitable reality for countless innocent American students with no end in sight. Vice President Kamala Harris tweeted the above about bulletproof backpacks in 2019, but three years later it still holds true. This in itself speaks to the stubbornness of the United States in reforming gun control laws.