A Salt Lake City-based company called Amendment II that makes armored backpacks and child-sized protective wear has seen its sales skyrocket in the aftermath of last week's horrifying Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.
At $300, the Ballistic Backpack may seem a bit pricey, but the carbon nanotube technology that makes it light and effective is cutting edge, according to company president Richard Craig.
“If you took Clint Eastwood’s .44 Magnum with hollow point bullets and put your muzzle up to the fabric, it would stop the bullet,” Craig tells Parenting. “Carbon nanotubes are lighter than air and stronger than diamonds and flexible as rubber.”
With four star generals on its board, Amendment II bills itself as a provider for military and police organizations first. But in the wake of Friday's shooting, Craig says his company has been overwhelmed with requests from parents and is currently unable to keep up with demand.
“On Saturday and Sunday all of our sales were not to police officers or adults. They were parents bringing their kids backpacks to our venue, asking ‘can you please armor these?’” Craig says. “We’ve been saying that students should consider having armor in high risk areas. But we were thinking colleges and high schools, not babies.”
Whether you find the idea of an armored backpack depressing, inspired or opportunistic, sales of the Ballistic Backpack quadrupled on the day after the shooting, according to Craig, and has gone up every day since. A New York-based investment company plunged $3 million in funds into the company over the weekend.
According to the website: “Our ballistic backpack provides built-in ballistic protection in a backpack that weighs just ounces more than a non-armored backpack … Sewn into the rear of the pack, you can always be confident that the armor hasn’t been accidentally left at home and that you or your child are protected in case of the unthinkable. The backpack can be quickly brought to the front as a shield or can serve as center of mass protection while fleeing the scene of the shooting.”
Amendment II, which was looking into going public as recently as two months ago, had been valued at $29 million. Today that figure stands at $100 million, according to Craig.
“We’ve decided as a company that we’re not going to make a red cent off the backs of children,” he adds. “We’re going to pull funds from our investor groups, and increase our costs on military and police products to offset the loss we’ll take.”
Craig then excused himself, phones still ringing in the background, to leave the office for his son’s school Christmas party.