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New Body Armor Ban For Felons Cruises Through State Senate

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Thu, Jan 28, 2010 at 12:24 PM
click to enlarge State Sen. Alex Padilla.
  • State Sen. Alex Padilla.

The state senate on Thursday unanimously approved a law that would again outlaw body armor for felons. The legislation was first written and proposed by Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley, and Valley Sen. Alex Padilla is carrying it in the senate.

The law would reenact a ban that was overturned by a state appeals court last month because, it argued, the language of the legislation was too "constitutionally vague" for average people to understand it. The law enforcement community was up in arms, and Cooley, who is running for state Attorney General, drafted simpler, more to-the-point legislation he says will stand up to court challenges.

"This legislation is an essential tool in protecting the safety of peace officers in the line of duty," Padilla stated. "Violent felons have no business possessing body armor. It's just common sense. I intend to move Senate Bill 408 swiftly through the legislative process and to the Governor as quickly as possible so that we can reinstate this prohibition without delay."

At the same time, at the behest of the Los Angeles Police Protective League and the chiefs of the Los Angeles and San Francisco police departments, Attorney General Jerry Brown has asked the state Supreme Court to review the lower court's decision on the original body armor law, which was designed to keep released prisoners convicted of violent crimes from wearing bulletproof vests.

That law was passed a year after the bloody, 1997 North Hollywood shootout between gunman wearing body armor and using assault weapons and Los Angeles police.

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