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Gun violence in the US

This Israeli-made US$500 bulletproof bag was inspired by the Parkland massacre and sales in the US are soaring

The bag will stop 9mm pistol rounds, while a new heavy-duty version will stop rounds from rifles, like the one used in the Florida school shooting

PUBLISHED : Friday, 31 August, 2018, 2:03pm
UPDATED : Friday, 31 August, 2018, 9:23pm

An Israeli firm says it has sold US customers hundreds of its bulletproof backpacks, introduced in the wake of the Parkland school massacre.

“We designed a bulletproof backpack at the request of our distributors in the United States after the huge trauma caused by the February shooting in Florida,” Snir Koren, CEO of Masada Armour, said on Thursday.

Nikolas Cruz, 19 at the time of the attack, allegedly opened fire and killed 17 people on February 14 in his former high school in Parkland, Florida with a semi-automatic AR-15 rifle.

He has said that he heard voices telling him to “burn, kill, destroy”.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for him, in a trial that could begin at the end of next year.

In a matter of months protective gear manufacturer Masada Armor, based in the northern Israeli town of Julis, developed its bulletproof backpack and got it certified by the Israeli army and police.

“Since then, orders from the United States have been coming in,” Koren said.

“In two months we have sold hundreds and are gearing up to increase production rates to 500 units per month.”

The basic model, weighs around 3kg, protects against 9mm pistol fire and sells for US$500, he said.

An improved version, weighing 5kg, is designed to give protection against high velocity rifles such as the AR-15 and the M-16 and Kalashnikov assault rifles and will soon go on sale for more than US$700.

But Koren said the bags are too heavy for young children.

US ranks high on global gun deaths list, as toll tops 250,000 a year

“We are developing a lighter model for their type of morphology,” he said.

The Parkland massacre – one of the deadliest mass shootings in recent US history – sparked a nationwide youth campaign for gun control.

After the shootings, US President Donald Trump said he was open to tighter gun control measures but has opposed a ban on assault rifles, a key demand of the student protesters.

He has also supported arming teachers.