Bullet proof hoodie' condemned by gun groups http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article3682725.ece Gun control groups have condemned a new “bullet-proof hoodie” which claims to protect against street violence. The £300 Defender hoodie makes the wearer’s upper body invincible to every bullet up to a high velocity rifle, its makers claim. It was developed by Bladerunner, a London based company which also makes stab-proof tops. Barry Samms, the owner, said that a mother from Walthamstow, East London, had asked for the Defender after her son had been mugged three times. “Our current customers range from undercover police officers to concerned parents,” he said. But gun control groups said today that the company was practising “exploitation at its most grotesque”. They predicted a rise in gang violence, saying children would buy the hoodie as a status symbol. Raymond Stevenson, a spokesman for Don’t Trigger, an international anti-gun campaign based in Brixton, London, said: “It’s not helping kids to provide them with bullet-proof armoury. These companies are just encouraging the escalation of the urban warfare. “It’ll give people the false impression that they’re protected and will encourage more aggressive behaviour.” The hoodie weighs one kilo, only slightly more than a normal version. It can be bought with the Bladerunner logo – but without it there is no indication of its capabilities. Mr Samms denied his firm was targeting teenage gang members with the invention. “It’s only a hoodie because you can’t really put a zip across the front of something bullet-proof,” he said. “Adults wear hoodies too. My mum wears one and you don’t see her hanging out on street corners.” But Adrian Davies, a partner in the company, admitted that the item could encourage people to become involved in crime. “We don’t want to be arming gangs,” he told Times Online. “But we can’t investigate everyone who places an order.” Mr Davies said that Bladerunner had received more than 100 emails this morning from people asking about the hoodie. “Our website’s had 3000 hits just on that product,” he said. The hoodie is currently in the prototype stage, but will be on sale in the next four to six weeks, Mr Davies said. Last week Gordon Brown was forced to defend Harriet Harman, the Deputy Labour Party Leader, after she wore body armour to tour her South London constituency. Ms Harman claimed she did so as "a matter of courtesy", and compared it to wearing a hard hat while visiting a building site or a hair net in a meat factory.