TAMPA, Fla. -- As parents across Florida grow more concerned every morning when they send their kids off to school, more and more are turning to bulletproof backpacks.
ABC Action News is taking action for you by finding out if this in-demand safety device will really protect your children.
“After Sandy Hook, people couldn’t wrap their minds around a bulletproof backpack but now they think it’s something that they need," said Yasir Sheikh. He's president of Guard Dog Security. After the Sandy Hook shooting, Skeikh decided he would offer this product.
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It doesn’t seem like much. Just a thin layer of kevlar, but it is certified to withstand handgun rounds.
“Ideally we think with the way things are going this should become mandatory, common for all students," said Skeikh.
Others feel the same. Just three days after the deadly school shooting in South Florida his company saw a 150% increase in the number of bags they shipped.
But do they actually work?
Ryan Hart is a certified firearm instructor for defense training company Ground Ready International Training, or G.R.I.T Ready. He also teaches active shooter survival courses.
Hart put a barrel with sand behind the backpack to simulate a body and took aim with his Glock 19. But did it stop the five rounds?
“The rounds definitely penetrated the front of the bag here," said Hart inspecting the shot up bag, "But if we flip it over there’s no penetration past the armor itself."
Next up is the AR-15.
In the last decade, six of the 10 deadliest mass shootings in the U.S. have been with this style of gun. Including the Parkland school shooting. Remember, the Guard Dog Security backpack is not certified to withstand assault weapons.
Hart approaches the bag he shot with his assault gun.
“It went right through the soft armor and we’ve got 1,2,3,4,5 shots," Hart said.
It is what he expected. To stop this type of gun you would need steel plates like what you see in military vests. But that would make an empty backpack feel like they are full of books.
We asked Hart if he'd still recommend such a backpack to parents.
“I would recommend this yes," Hart said. "While it did not stop a direct shot from an assault rifle it can still stop bullet fragments, ricochets, glass flying through the air.”
Then we posed this question to Skeikh: "What do you think it says about our society that we are resorting to items like this?"
"You know what it’s a sad reality, it’s become a new normal," said Skeikh.
The backpacks cost between $100-200. Fifty percent of the proceeds from sales of the backpacks right now will go to the victim's families of the Parkland shooting.
Guard Dog Security is also looking into possibly making a higher security backpack, one that would have the ability to stop assault weapons.