Sales of bulletproof backpacks are surging in the wake of the Uvalde, Texas, school massacre, manufacturers and reports said.
Scared parents are reportedly scrambling to buy the armored bags, even though they can go for as much as $400.
“It can happen anywhere with this gun thing,” concerned parent Angelica Azpeitia, 42, told the Dallas Morning News in an article published Monday. “Anyone can have a weapon just for the sake of it.”
Azpeitia, who was shopping for protection for her 16-year-old son and 4-year-old daughter, isn’t alone, according to manufacturers.
In the immediate aftermath of the May 24 mass shooting at Robb Elementary School that killed 19 children and two teachers, Leatherback Gear saw an 800 percent increase in sales, its CEO and founder told TMZ. A company called Tuffypacks saw a 300 percent spike in sales of its armored bag inserts, which can be placed inside any retail backpack, TMZ said.
A spokesperson for MC Armor told Business Insider in a recent interview that 20 percent of its web visits and calls in the day following the shooting were for its armor inserts, which it said were being shipped across the country.
“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,” marketing manager Carolina Ballesteros told the outlet.
A Leatherback Instagram post last week said shootings are something “that is very much a threat to our children” that needs to be taken seriously.
“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,” the post said. “We have fire extinguishers for fires, and now bulletproof backpacks. Whatever it takes to help keep our children safe against the current threat is worth it as these children are our future.”
Atomic Defense on Monday listed on its Facebook page a weekly deal for 10 percent off a bulletproof backpack advertised as lightweight and able to stop “AR-15 & AK-47 School Shooters.”
But the backpacks have their detractors, with criticisms that offer slim odds of real protection because kids aren’t wearing them during class and the items can only partially cover someone’s body.
Some retail outlets reportedly don’t stock the products over liability concerns, according to the Dallas Morning News.
“It’s like putting a Band-Aid on a wound, expecting it to cure a symptom but ignoring the root of the problem,” former teacher Carmelina Grilli told the newspaper.
“It seems to me we are reacting from inside out instead of it being the system that has control so that the inside — the educational system, children and the entire population — is not affected,” she added.