Today’s harsh reality: Bulletproof backpacks part of back-to-school shopping

In light of the recent mass shootings coupled with school starting, parents surely are thinking – if not already worrying – about their children’s safety.

Can a bulletproof backpack bring a little peace of mind?

It’s not necessarily a new product to hit the market.

Nonetheless, bulletproof backpacks have received renewed attention with the recent mass shootings – occurring as close as Gilroy, and as recently as last weekend in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio – reminding people that deadly shootings also have taken place on school grounds.

In 2019, there have been 22 incidents at schools nationwide where shots were fired with an intent to attack others, according to

Yet the mere sight of bulletproof backpacks located near “Back to School” signs has generated an outpouring of frustration and sadness on social media about today’s reality.

“We have failed,” a woman on Twitter wrote in response to a photo of bulletproof backpacks being sold. “This photo represents absolute political and cultural failure.”

Where to buy a bulletproof backpacks in the Fresno area is somewhat difficult.

During a round of calls made to local retailers, only three Office Depot/Office Max stores confirmed they carried the product. And even then, those stores had only a few bags.

One manager at a local Office Max said the store sold three of the four bulletproof backpacks in the past two weeks and planned to order more.

Another manager at an Office Depot said the store sold one in the past two weeks, and was aware of having only one other customer who inquired about the bullet-resistant bags. But that person was turned off by the price tag.

Bulletproof backpacks sell for $180 and $205, though the Office Max in River Park had sold out of the higher priced bag as of Tuesday.

So the supply and the demand for these higher-end backpacks have not been as great in the Fresno area as they have been in other parts of the country.

Guard Dog Security, manufacturer of the bullet-resistant bags sold at Office Max/Office Depot, sells other bulletproof backpacks that range from $120 to $300.

Fine print on the backpack label states the bag is bulletproof against certain firearms and is advertised as IIIA protection, which is the same level of protection that Las Vegas Metropolitan Police wear for bulletproof vests, Las Vegas television station KTNV reported.

The TV station also tested the backpacks and confirmed the bulletproof bags can withstand a 9 mm and a 45, but not against a high-velocity rifle.

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Bryant-Jon Anteola is a multimedia reporter for The Fresno Bee, writing stories and producing videos about sports, news and random topics relatable to those in the Fresno area. He’s won a McClatchy President’s Award and received honorable mention by the Associated Press Sports Editors. He enjoys sports because of the competition, camaraderie and energy, and views sports as a microcosm of society.