In an unnerving yet smartly preventative move, consumers have caused a staggering spike in sales of bulletproof backpacks and other school accessories since last week’s Florida shooting.
“We can comfortably say that we’ve had an over 150 per cent increase in demand for bulletproof backpacks since last year at this time,” Yasir Sheikh, president of Guard Dog Security in Sanford, Fla., tells Global News.
WATCH BELOW: Unconscionable grief follows Florida shooting massacre
Similarly, Bullet Blocker, a Massachusetts-based company, reportedly sold 500 backpacks last Thursday alone — one day following the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting that killed 17 people and wounded 16 others.
Guard Dog Security introduced bulletproof backpacks to their product line-up after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012, and Sheikh says the trend in sales spikes isn’t surprising.
“Over the past couple of years, with more awareness of these products, we’ll consistently see a noticeable increase in sales after a mass shooting.”
The backpacks, which protect against 9mm and .44 magnum weapons, are available in a number of styles and colours, and retail for US$189.99. The company has vowed to donate 50 per cent of the profits from the sales of their bulletproof items to the families of the victims in the Florida shooting. (In addition, according to the website, they have lowered the price of their backpacks to make them more accessible.)
“A product of this nature would’ve helped a student last week because, while the gun used was an AR-15, these backpacks are proven to lessen the impact of a bullet. A potentially lethal incident can be turned into one that can be easily cured .”
Bulletproof school items can run the gamut from backpacks to smaller accessories like Kevlar panels and inserts, portfolios and tablet cases, but Sheikh says his company will only ever produce backpacks.
“We’re strictly against bulletproof panels because they can easily be removed — a parent won’t know if their child has taken it out of their bag,” he says. “It would be an easy product for us to make, but we think it’s a liability and gives a false sense of security.”
In fact, he plans on crafting a social media post about the improbability that a panel would be helpful in a shooting situation.
Instead, he points to products like a bulletproof picture frame and desk or wall calendar as a more useful item in the event of a shooting.
WATCH: Meeting with students, parents will discuss multiple ideas: WH
“A picture that’s been hung on a wall is one of the most products. In the event of a shooting or break-in, a person can easily take it off the wall and use it as a shield,” he says. “We plan to expand on this line.”
Bullet Blocker sells a wide variety of bulletproof items, including a small selection of luxury goods like a Kevlar-lined Gucci diaper bag and a Saint Laurent biker jacket.
Meanwhile, a concerned aunt in Connecticut gifted her nieces an entirely different safety item that doesn’t need to be lined with bulletproof material: a doorstop.
In a Facebook post written on Feb. 15, Katie Cornelis wrote that she gave each of her nieces a doorstop to carry in their school bags after the Sandy Hook tragedy, and wanted to share the tip with all parents.
“Sure it’s small, but it can be powerful in keeping you safe if you ever have to barricade yourself in a room,” she wrote. “If a gunman shoots out the door lock it will still keep the door from opening and may just buy you some time.”
© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.