The Most Depressing Christmas Gift Guide of the Year

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Guns and bulletproof vests for childrenSince a ban on assault weapons won't be under the tree this Christmas, a few companies -- notably Utah-based Amendment II -- are betting that parents will take their children's safety into their own hands. Derek Williams, Amendment II's director of sales and marketing, told Fox News that sales of the company's Ballistic Backpacks have gone up 500% since last week's shootings.

Even so, the company doesn't want to be seen as profiting from the tragedy: Its website points out that these products have been available for months and weren't offered in response to Sandy Hook. Noting that "we would love to be able to provide every child in the world with our technology [but] we simply don't have the budget to do that," Amendment II promises that "we can and will donate a portion of all our sales to the families of the victims of the Sandy Hook tragedy."

Here's a look at the products being marketed to keep kids safe.

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The Most Depressing Christmas Gift Guide of the Year
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The Most Depressing Christmas Gift Guide of the Year

Bullet Blocker, a Massachusetts-based manufacturer, is offering a line backpacks that children can cower behind in case of a school shooting. The crown jewel of the collection, the company's Bulletproof Child Safety Backpack, is currently on sale for $199 and looks almost exactly like a standard Jansport daypack. The key difference is that the BulletBlocker can protect children from a madman wielding a 9 mm Luger or a .44 Magnum handgun.

For children who don't want a boring black backpack, Bullet Blocker also makes a selection of inserts that can fit into any bag.

Amendment II offers a more colorful solution: stylish children's backpacks with hidden body armor panels. Their "Ballistic Backpacks" retail for $300 and up, and feature Disney Princesses for the girls and the Avengers for the boys.

For parents who want even more peace of mind, Amendment II also has child-sized bulletproof vests. Available in a selection of festive colors -- as well as the traditional green and desert camouflage -- the vests start at $499.

On the other side of the gun, the NRA and the firearms companies that support it are offering their own Christmas gifts. For $15, parents can buy their children a junior membership that comes with a shooter's cap, a membership card, a decal, and a subscription to InSights, a monthly digital magazine that features "fun-filled, action-packed coverage of safety, achievement and excellence in the shooting sports."


Photo: Jeff Egnaczyk, Flickr.com

Parents who want their children to have a more hands-on experience might consider the impressive selection of "youth" handguns, shotguns and rifles offered by Crickett Rifles, Browning, Remington, Beretta and a host of other companies, sized for smaller fingers and lighter frames.

Or here's another Christmas option: Call your senator and congressman, let them know your feelings about assault weapons, and leave the beginner firearm lessons to A Christmas Story.


Photo by: TRF Mr Hyde, Flickr.com

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Bruce Watson is a senior features writer for DailyFinance. You can reach him by e-mail at bruce.watson@teamaol.com, or follow him on Twitter at @bruce1971.
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