Attorney Eric D. Puryear

Federal Felon in Possession of Body Armor Charges

Puryear Law » Legal Blog » Federal Criminal Law » Federal Felon in Possession of Body Armor Charges

Those who have been convicted of certain felony offenses are prohibited by US Federal law from possessing body armor.  The applicable Federal law can be seen in 18 U.S.C. 931, which provides as follows:


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(a)In General.—Except as provided in subsection (b), it shall be unlawful for a person to purchase, own, or possess body armor, if that person has been convicted of a felony that is—
(1) a crime of violence (as defined in section 16); or
(2) an offense under State law that would constitute a crime of violence under paragraph (1) if it occurred within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States.

(b) Affirmative Defense.—
(1)In general.—It shall be an affirmative defense under this section that—
(A) the defendant obtained prior written certification from his or her employer that the defendant’s purchase, use, or possession of body armor was necessary for the safe performance of lawful business activity; and
(B) the use and possession by the defendant were limited to the course of such performance.
(2)Employer.— In this subsection, the term “employer” means any other individual employed by the defendant’s business that supervises defendant’s activity. If that defendant has no supervisor, prior written certification is acceptable from any other employee of the business.

As can be seen from that portion of the US Code, a person convicted of a felony that is a crime of violence is generally prohibited from owning, buying, or possessing body armor.  There are certain exceptions that allow such a prohibited person to possess body armor when it is necessary for work purposes, that need is properly documented, and the possession is limited to that which is necessary for work.


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A violation of the Federal ban on violent felons possessing body armor is itself a felony, which carries up to 3 years in Federal prison under 18 U.S.C. 924


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