Sales of bulletproof school supplies, like backpacks, jump after shootings

SEATTLE -- Retailers of bulletproof backpacks, picture frames and bulletin boards say they see a jump in sales after tragic events like the Florida high school shooting, as parents and students look for ways to protect kids against violence.

Bulletproof or bullet-resistant school supplies came into the national radar last year when a Miami school announced it would offer parents the opportunity to buy bullet-resistant packs for their kids.

But Yasir Sheikh, president of Florida's Guard Dog Security, said bulletproof gear like backpacks and bulletin boards started around the Sandy Hook tragedy, and have increased in sales and variety ever since.

"The way we see it is this is almost going to become the new normal," Sheikh said.

In 2014, Q13 News talked to a few mothers who wanted bulletproof items for their kids, and planned to invest in bulletproof backpack inserts. The backpacks have gotten more prevalent with online retailers, and can be found on Amazon.

Over the years the bags have slimmed down to about two pounds, and appear like a normal backpack.

"The idea behind the bags is to create nice bags that happen to be bulletproof," Sheikh said.

Sarah Zeiler, a spokesperson for Leatherback Gear, said consumer backpacks likely couldn't stop a bullet from an assault rifle, the kind of weapon used in the high school shooting that took 17 lives in Parkland, Fla. But bullet-resistant gear could help deflect the bullets,and give students "peace of mind," she said.

"It's an empowerment tool," Zeiler said. "It can potentially save your life."

Leatherback Gear is in talks with college bookstores, trying to put the product on the stores next to normal backpacks.