Sales of bulletproof backpacks spike after Stoneman Douglas shooting

By Amy Viteri - Investigative Reporter

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. - In the wake of the deadly shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the question on everyone's mind is how to keep students safe. 

Amid the discussion on gun control, sales of bulletproof backpacks have spiked nationwide. 

"Schools, churches, people just going to work every day -- now any infrastructure that has people is a target," Ron Weaver, CEO of Eastern Beacon Industries, said. 

Backpacks, sling bags and laptop bags, weighing as little as 3 pounds are now able to withstand rifle fire, like from the gun used inside the Parkland high school where 17 people died in a mass shooting Feb. 14. 

Weaver showed his newest products at the Miami-Dade police vendor show Thursday.  

"You have to take the backpack off and you flip it around and you deploy it. You have two plates," Weaver said. 

"We're trying to look at the best product we can possibly get for our officers to better serve our community," Miami-Dade police Capt. Mario Knapp said.  

Knapp said the department has been adding tools for active shooters for four years now. But Weaver, a retired Los Angeles police officer, is seeing a surge in parents wanting his products, which he said offer more protection than most bullet-resistant bags on the market. 

"They put the 38 protection, which will stop a handgun, but you know, six out of the last 10 active shooters has been rifles," he said. 

Local 10 News reporter Amy Viteri watched as several shots were fired into one of the bags. No bullet made it through.

If you look at the bag, you can see bullet holes in the fabric. But if you take out the plate, the heat of the bullet actually penetrates the plate, which trapped them inside. 

Weaver calls the bag a defensive tool, regardless of what happens with gun laws.   

"I think the days of ignoring it are done," he said. "You have to address it. You have to have the training. You have to think of the worst-case scenario."

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