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Sales of Armored Backpacks Surge After Conn. Shooting

December 21, 2012
The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - When Ken Larson's 1-year-old son starts school in a few years, he'll be carrying an armored backpack.

After the Connecticut school shooting, Larson and his wife decided to buy him one just to be safe. Larson already owns one himself that he takes to movie theaters.

"It's a no brainer. My son's life is invaluable," said Larson, 41, of Denver. "If I can get him a backpack for $200 that makes him safer, I don't even have to think about that."

Article Photos

AP Photo
Rick Brand, chief operating officer of Amendment II, holds an anti-ballistic insert that was inside a children’s backpack after it was shot with a 9 mm pistol during a demonstration Wednesday in Taylorsville, Utah.

The reaction to the deadly Connecticut school shooting can be seen at gun stores and self-defense retailers across the nation, with anxious parents buying armored backpacks for children and Second Amendment rights supporters stocking up on semi-automatic rifles in anticipation of tighter gun control measures.

While a spike in gun sales is common after a mass shooting, the latest rampage has generated record sales in some states, particularly of assault weapons.

Colorado set a single-day record for gun background check requests the day after the shootings, while Nevada saw more checks in the two days that followed than any other weekend this year. Records were also set in Tennessee, California and Virginia, among others.

There was also an unusual increase in sales for armored backpacks designed to shield children caught in shootings, according to three companies that make them.

The armor inserts fit into the back panel of a child's backpack, and sell for up to $400, depending on the retailer. The armor is designed to stop bullets from handguns, not assault weapons like the one used in the shooting at the Newtown, Conn., school.

Manufacturers and some parents say that while they don't guarantee children won't be killed, they could be useful shields.

At Amendment II in Salt Lake City, sales of its children's backpacks and armored inserts have increased, with 200 purchase requests Wednesday alone.

"The incident last week highlights the need to protect our children," said co-owner Derek Williams. "We didn't get in this business to do this. But the fact is that our armor can help children just as it can help soldiers."

Kerry Clark, president of Texas-based, began making the backpacks after the deadly mass shooting at Virginia Tech in 2007. Clark said he sold 15 backpacks Wednesday. Prior to Friday's shooting, he said, the company would sometimes go an entire month with one sale.

Bullet Blocker, a Massachusetts-based company that sells the backpack armor, declined to provide sales numbers but noted that recent figures were substantially higher.

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