Flying Off Shelves: Bullet-Proof Backpacks

Newtown tragedy drives school shooting anxiety

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 20, 2012 9:58 AM CST

(Newser) – It's the perfect product for a nation on edge about school shootings: the bullet-proof backpack. "It's an awful thing—you would never imagine your child with this kind of stuff—but since the Newtown tragedy, our sales are more than 10 times better," says the head of the Utah-based Amendment II, which will sell you an Avengers- or Little Mermaid-themed armored backpack for just $300, the AFP reports.

Several other companies report similar results. "It's the busiest I've seen it in my life," the president of Backpackshield.com tells the AP, saying he sold 15 armored backpacks yesterday alone; some months, he only sells one. Some companies also sell book-size bulletproof inserts that slide into most backpacks. The AP notes, however, that all of these products are designed to protect against handguns, not assault rifles. "We don't guarantee anything," cautioned a BulletBlocker executive. "It is just peace of mind, security for parents."

Rick Brand, COO of Amendment II, shoots a 9 mm pistol into a children's backpack, left, fitted with an anti-ballistic insert during a demonstration at a gun range, Dec. 19, 2012, in Taylorsville, Utah
Rick Brand, COO of Amendment II, shoots a 9 mm pistol into a children's backpack, left, fitted with an anti-ballistic insert during a demonstration at a gun range, Dec. 19, 2012, in Taylorsville, Utah   (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Rick Brand, COO of Amendment II, holds a children's backpack, left, and anti-ballistic insert during a demonstration at the company's manufacturing facility in Salt Lake City, Wednesday, Dec. 19.
Rick Brand, COO of Amendment II, holds a children's backpack, left, and anti-ballistic insert during a demonstration at the company's manufacturing facility in Salt Lake City, Wednesday, Dec. 19.   (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Rick Brand, COO of Amendment II, shoots a pistol into a backpack fitted with an anti-ballistic insert, during a demonstration at a gun range, Dec. 19, 2012, in Taylorsville, Utah.
Rick Brand, COO of Amendment II, shoots a pistol into a backpack fitted with an anti-ballistic insert, during a demonstration at a gun range, Dec. 19, 2012, in Taylorsville, Utah.   (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
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This is not serving to keep children safe. This is serving to increase their fear and their suspicion of their peers. - Anne Marie Albano, psychiatry director at Columbia University's Clinic for Anxiety and Related Disorders

It's a no brainer. My son's life is invaluable. If I can get him a backpack for $200 that makes him safer, I don't even have to think about that. - Ken Larson, 41-year-old Denver resident who has a bullet-proof backpack of his own

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