D.A. To Urge Legislature To Pass New Body Armor Law

District Attorney Steve Cooley and state Sen. Alex Padilla will hold a news conference Friday to urge the state legislature to pass what they describe as an urgent law that would ban violent felons from wearing body armor.

Cooley, who has indicated his plans to run for state Attorney General, is the bill's sponsor and Padilla, as we stated would be likely to happen, has agreed to carry the legislation as its author. Last month a state appeals court overturned just such a law, ruling that the language of the prohibition was too "constitutionally vague" for the average citizen to understand it.

Police, including union representing Los Angeles cops, as well as the chiefs of the Los Angeles Police Department and the San Francisco Police Department, were up in arms over the ruling, saying that it would put officers at risk at a time when criminals are becoming more brazen in their willingness to shoot it out with law enforcers.

Attorney General Jerry Brown has agreed to ask the state Supreme Court to review the lower-court's ruling. And the Los Angeles City Council is pondering a local law that would ban violent fans from wearing such vests.

Cooley is seeking to reenact a state law quickly that would clear up any confusion with the following language that defines body armor as "a bulletproof vest, meaning any bulletproof material intended to provide ballistic and trauma protection for the wearer." It would essentially apply to anyone on the street who has been convicted of a violent felony in the past.

The original law was passed a year after the 1997 North Hollywood shootout between Los Angeles police and two brazen bank robbers brandishing assault rifles and wearing body armor.


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