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Companies that make bulletproof backpacks for kids are seeing a spike in US sales

Business Insider US
Law enforcement officers outside Robb Elementary School following a mass shooting.
Law enforcement officers outside Robb Elementary School following a mass shooting.
  • Companies that make bulletproof products are seeing sales in the US spike following the Uvalde, Texas, school shooting.
  • American retailers are purchasing bulletproof backpacks from Guard Dog Security.
  • And customers from all over the US are buying up MC Armor Company's bulletproof backpack inserts.
  • For more stories, go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

Demand for bulletproof kids' gear is spiking following the devastating school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, manufacturers told Insider.

Three companies that manufacture bulletproof gear said they've already seen more customers searching for and purchasing bulletproof backpacks since a gunman opened fire at Robb Elementary School. Police have confirmed that at least 19 children and two adults are dead. 

Yasir Sheikh with Guard Dog Security, a company that manufactures and distributes various self-defense products like stun guns, alarms, and pepper sprays, said they're "seeing an increase" in customers interested in bulletproof backpacks, which the company says can act as a shield in the event of a shooting.

Sheikh, Guard Dog's president, said there's also been "an increase from our national retailers who carry our bags." Guard Dog sells backpacks to national retailers like Dick's Sporting Goods, Home Depot, and Lowe's, he said.

A person standing in the line of fire can hold the backpack up to their head or chest to deflect the bullets, product illustrations on the website show. The backpacks come in different colours and patterns, and weigh less than four pounds, according to product descriptions.

Guard Dog, Sheikh said, has donated a portion of the proceeds received from bulletproof backpack sales to Make Our Schools Safe, a nonprofit started by the parents of one of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School victims in Parkland, Florida, in 2018. 

MC Armor Company, which makes "ballistic-proof personal protective gear and accessories" for both everyday civilians and prominent figures, has also seen a spike in interest for bulletproof kids' gear. 

Carolina Ballesteros, MC Armor's marketing manager, told Insider customers from all over the country have been looking at and purchasing a bulletproof backpack insert.

MC Armor products for kids are "approved and designed with paediatricians," Ballesteros said. 

Since the shooting, customers have been ordering inserts and shipping them to various states, like New Jersey, Georgia, California, Pennsylvania, and Florida, according to Ballesteros. 

"Normally our regular customers don't look for the inserts for backpacks if it's not back to school, but since yesterday 20% of our website visits and calls are for this product," Ballesteros said. "We are always making awareness of the training and security for schools but sadly it is just at a moment of a tragedy that they look for it."

MC Armor has also developed products like bulletproof whiteboards and doors for classrooms. The challenge with bulletproof gear for kids and in the classroom is its presence makes parents fear for the safety of their children, Ballesteros said.

But school shootings have been a reality in US schools for decades. So far in 2022, there have been 27 school shootings, according to Education Week's tracker. In 2021, there were 34 school shootings. And this year, the number of school shootings is rapidly creeping up and could easily surpass last year's figure.

Julie McCuen, chief operating officer at Leatherback Gear, said a spike in sales after a tragic event like a school shooting is typical. 

"People react and seek out something to make them feel safer after the fact," McCuen told Insider.

"While we wish that this wasn't something we as parents needed to think about, recent history reveals that it is very much a threat to our children that we need to take seriously and make every attempt to be proactive about," McCuen added. "Just as we educate and prepare our children in school for what to do in the event of a fire, we now must do the same for an active shooter."

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