Bulletproof backpack sales spiking

SHERMAN, Tex. (KXII) - Shoppers are hitting stores around Texas for tax free weekend and one item in particular is in high demand, though it may not qualify for the tax-free discount.

CBS News reports bulletproof backpack sales spiked after the weekend's mass shootings.

School officials and customers say while it's sad to reach this point in society where a backpack is bulletproof, they're all for protecting students with whatever it takes.

"I mean with all the stuff going on in schools these days, it's definitely needed," said shopper Ron Smith.

That's how he feels about the bullet-resistant backpacks being sold across the country.

He has many grandchildren, so it hits close to home.

"I think it would be advantageous that these kids have these to be able to wear to school. I think it's very important," Smith said.

The backpacks are available at major retailers including Office Depot and OfficeMax, ranging anywhere from $100 to $500.

But Denison ISD Public Information Coordinator Brian Eaves said an emphasis on trained teachers and student mental health resources will go beyond a backpack shield.

"If we can stop the threat before it becomes a threat, then we've done our job. And the bulletproof backpack becomes irrelevant," Eaves said.

Sherman Police Lt. John Kennemer said if you're interested, do your research.

"Your different levels kind of talk about how well they'll protect you," Kennemer said.

Sherman police bulletproof vests are Level 3, the same as the backpacks.

But those protect front and back, weighing about three times more.

Kennemer said Level 3-A body armor provides protection for up to a 44 magnum handgun with conventional ammunition.

But he said they don't protect from rifles.

If you're looking to purchase a bullet-resistant backpack, he said make sure it's certified by the National Institute of Justice and don't buy a used one.

Also, he said find out if students carry the backpack with them all day or store them in a locker.

"If that's the case, then what's the bulletproof vest preventing?" Kennemer said.

Smith said he thinks the gear should be required to keep kids safe at school.

"If it saves one kid, it's worth it," Smith said.

Backpacks under $100 are included on the list of tax exempt items this weekend.

Most bulletproof ones don't make the cut.