PROVO, Utah (ABC4 News) – A Provo company has outfitted traditional backpacks with bulletproof lining for use by students in case of a critical incident in the classroom.
Aaron Gilbert, president of Citizen Armor, came from another company that designs bulletproof gear for police officers and military members, but Gilbert wanted to create something everyday citizens could use for protection in the event of a mass shooting or other event.
“Society has changed from when I was a kid,” Gilbert told ABC4 News. “Back then, the thought of a school shooting was outside everybody’s mind.”
Gilbert and his company have modified a traditional OGIO backpack and lined it with bulletproof gear, including a pullout vest that covers vital organs. The product isn’t inexpensive, running from $1,000 to $1,500.
For those who may not be able to spend that much, Gilbert’s company offers bulletproof binders and notebooks that also expand to cover the entire torso. For teachers, there are bulletproof binders that come with stun guns and pepper spray that Gilbert said could potentially slow or stop a shooter.
He said the products are necessary for classrooms, especially since it takes minutes for resources officers and police to respond to a school shooting situation.
“The armor that we put in this backpack is the same armor that goes into a police officer’s vest,” said Gilbert. “I’m trying to address what can we do for that teacher and those students at the point that their lives are at risk.”
Gilbert describes himself as a “wannabe prepper” and fears many civilians are not prepared for a calamity such as a mass shooting. Later this month, he plans to introduce his a bulletproof glass he has patented to the Utah Board of Education.
Gilbert said his products sell better in states that have tighter gun restrictions.