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“Bullet-Proof Backpacks” Are Taking Over Back-to-School Because Our Gun Laws Are Still Broken

In case you need another reason to scream into a void about how broken our country’s gun laws are, please meet the bullet-proof backpack. Made by a company called Guard Dog Security, these backpacks are aimed at protecting children as mass shootings in schools continue to be a high-profile (and deadly) problem. It is also a reminder that, despite the rallying cries of “never again” and moving, powerful action of survivors at Parkland, parents from Sandy Hook, and so many others, we are still no closer to addressing the real source of school shootings.

Many current safety measures, like active shooter drills and metal detectors, have been shown to create a false sense of security and not actually effectively protect kids. It seems that these backpacks, which are actually marketed as “bullet-resistant,” are another sad example of that. Without playing a macabre game of “what if,” the backpack would clearly only protect the wearer from the back if they happened to be wearing a backpack at the time of an active shooter. According to a report on the bags for CBS, they are also only able to stop a .44 handgun but not a high-velocity rifle like the AR-15, used at mass shootings like  Sandy Hook, Las Vegas, and Parkland. And, even if these were somehow really effectively protecting children, let’s talk about the price: They start at $120 and go up to $300, making even this minimal/questionable protection from guns a luxury only available to parents and children who can afford it.

It would be easy to brush this off as a fringe response to a growing problem, but these backpacks are already showing mainstream acceptance. People are spotting them for sale at Office Depot; some reports have said the backpacks have been spotted online at Target and Walmart as well, though a product listing on Walmart for the Guard Dog backpack is down, implying the megastore may have pulled the listing.

While evidence points to the fact that it is stricter gun laws, not “safety” measures like these, that save lives, we continue to make glacial progress at gun reform in this country. Even states with relatively strict laws can take the recent shooting in Gilroy, California as an example of how local laws can only do so much. Until federal laws become truly comprehensive, no backpack, no matter how “bullet-resistant,” will protect our kids.

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