Sales for bulletproof backpacks have skyrocketed days after a gunman barricaded himself in a Texas elementary school classroom, killing 19 kids and two teachers.
An exclusive report by TMZ found that Leatherback Gear has seen an 800% increase in sales since the Tuesday (May 24) massacre at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. Former Secret Service agent and CEO Mike De Geus founded the company in 2016 following the UCLA campus shooting and was inspired after seeing the droves of students being evacuated wearing backpacks.
"What if we can take something that students are carrying every day and turn it into a tool that would convert it into a personal protective vest to keep them safe?" the website reads.
De Geus, who served under Presidents Clinton, Obama, Bush and Trump, says the backpacks are equipped with the same armor he had while on the job. The CEO told TMZ the company's Sport One Jr. bag was designed with active shootings in mind and converts into a two-piece bulletproof vest in seconds, offering coverage in the front and back. That bag is the brand's most popular right now, De Geus revealed. It retails for $249.99.
Another bulletproof backpack brand, Tuffpacks, is also reportedly seeing a spike in sales. Owner Steve Naremore says sales for the company's armor inserts that can go into any bag have increased 300% and orders are coming in from all over the US.
Guard Dog Security, yet another armored gear company, is noticing a rise in sales this week. The company carries an array of bulletproof bags and donates a portion of its proceeds to Make Our Schools Safe, an organization founded by a parent whose child was killed during the 2018 Parkland High School shooting.