The firearms industry and law enforcement go hand in hand and with it comes the necessary protection of both officers and agents in the field. The National Shooting and Sports Foundation’s annual Shot Show in Las Vegas devotes an entire floor of the conference to exhibitors who show potential buyers the latest in police tactical gear. From providing protective body armor to the latest night vision technology and camouflage patterned uniforms, law enforcement gear retailers have products for various circumstances and threat levels.
“We make law enforcement gear products. We make tactical gear, which includes full body protection and armor, knee pads, elbow pads, knee shin guards, upper body protection and we make a whole line of tactical gloves,” Jason Donaldson of Damascus Protective Gear told Breitbart News. “One of our best selling gloves provides protection in the knuckles and there’s a reason for that, because we sell these to prison riot cops who are ready to do battle in a prison riot in downtown Chicago, L.A., or New York and these guys need the protection to protect themselves,” he said.
Some critics say the new technology and look of local law enforcement give too much of a military appearance and feel, but vendors say that their companies’ products main objective is to properly protect law enforcement officers and agents.
Rick Armellino of U.S. Armor Corporation agrees, saying, “The military appearance and the military gear is quite appropriate with the threat that is rifle fire and heavy weaponry which is being used against law enforcement on a daily basis, so it is in my opinion appropriate to have military gear on police.”
Armellino pointed out that gang warfare and arms coming across the border along is resulting in perpetrators willing to engage local law enforcement in a military type threat environments.
He said, “Without the rules of engagement that a lot of our military has the privilege of using, legally, it appears [police] have to be shot at or darn near shot at before they’re authorized to use lethal force against the threat. And every police officer has a right to go home at the end of their shift. They have families.”
Armellino, however, added, “The policy, though, has to be addressed to make sure that the Constitution is not trampled upon just because officers are dressed up as military doesn’t mean they should be behaving as military under a martial law type situation.”