Kids everywhere are heading back to school across the country. Adding to the the list of crayons, pencils, paper and lunchboxes is now bullet resistant backpacks. With the increase in mass shooting throughout the country becoming a fact of life many parents are investing in protection for their kids as they ready for another school year.

Recently there has been an increase in bullet-resistant consumer products coinciding with the rise in shootings at schools and other public place. There was a major surge in demand right after the tragic Parkland High School shooting a few years ago.  Yasir Sheikh, president of Guard Dog Security, said the company launched a line of bulletproof backpacks in 2013. And since 2018, they've cropped up in many major retailers. The company just released a model that costs less than $100.

There are some that feel this type of marketing is far from proactive in today's society. “We’re asking children to stand up to gunmen because lawmakers are too afraid to stand up to the gun lobby,” said Shannon Watts, the founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a grass-roots gun-control organization. “There isn’t a parent in this country that isn’t terrified. These companies are capitalizing on that.”

Mr. Sheikh acknowledged that the backpacks were less effective at blocking gunfire from powerful semiautomatic weapons, like the ones used at Sandy Hook. Also, there is no concrete evidence that these armored backpacks would keep children safe during a shooting no matter how well they are tested and evaluated.

Still, the really sad issue is this is the conversation we are having. The innocence of back-to-school shopping and the excitement of choosing that special backpack for the year has been overshadowed by fear. Pencils step aside for precautions and notebooks come second to escape plans and active shooter protocol. Today's harsh reality of life in America.

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