Sales of ballistic backpacks spike after school massacre
Global orders for bullet-resistant school supplies have been coming in “fast and furious” since the Valentine’s Day massacre
By Laurel J. Sweet
LOWELL, Mass. — Global orders for bullet-resistant school supplies have been coming in “fast and furious” to a Lowell manufacturer since the Valentine’s Day massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. — the latest in a seemingly endless cycle of rampage assaults on campuses across the country.
“We are definitely seeing an increase in sales — to parents, grandparents, some school systems, teachers. Greater than usual in Florida, but yes, all over the country and world. The orders have been fast and furious,” said Joe Curran, founder of Bullet Blocker. “The last time we had an upswing like this one was after Sandy Hook and the truck attack in France. Any violent occurrence gets people thinking in survival mode.”
Curran, a father of two and a former Essex County deputy sheriff and firearms instructor, started his company for his now-adult children 11 years ago after 32 people were slaughtered at Virginia Tech by a student.
Through largely online sales, Bullet Blocker will custom-design requests for school-safety gear, but has ready to ship backpacks, notebooks, three-ring binder inserts and nylon and denim jackets stealthly fitted with anti-ballistic panels roughly the weight of a 20-ounce bottle of soda that can be held up to shield against most small-arms gunfire.
“It was definitely something that I had to do for my own kids. That’s what it came down to,” said Curran. “I wanted them to have at least something that would aid their own safety so they would not have to worry and wait for someone else to come and help them.”
Curran said the insert panels’ main component is Kevlar. They are certified to provide Level IIIA protection against most handgun and shotgun rounds.
“These will not block against a rifle,” he stressed. “That’s a whole other level of ballistic protection.”
Curran said the most unusual order he’s received since starting Bullet Blocker came from the Bible Belt for a gunfire-resistant lectern that a preacher could duck behind.
“To me, that was probably one of the most eye-opening things,” Curran said. “It’s a sad commentary.”
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