Tasers Don’t Deserve Bum Rap
Tasers get a lot of bad publicity. If there is a death involved when a police officer shoots a suspect, the Taser is almost always blamed. They frequently get a bum rap. The facts are usually quite different and reveal that the Taser gun was not to blame, but mitigating medical or physical conditions caused the death. Statistics show that Taser devices save lives both of police officers and of suspects.
According to this story and video on the proper use of the Taser gun, which was prompted by the death of a man who was shot by a Taser recently in DeKalb County, GA, you might think that the Taser caused his death.
During a traffic stop, a passenger in the vehicle jumped out and started running. The suspect tried to jump over an 8 foot brick wall which was when police officers shot him with the Taser gun. It is not clear why the suspect was fleeing police, but it certainly was suspicious. The parents of the suspect are blaming police for their son’s death. But an autopsy conducted by the medical examiner’s office revealed preliminary findings that the suspect died from severe head and neck trauma during the fall from the wall not from the Taser.
The other part of the story on how to properly use a Taser revealed, as you can see in the video, a Taser or as some call it, an electronic control device (ECD), is never meant to kill anyone. Over 17,000 law enforcement agencies are trained on the proper use of Taser guns and carry them as their primary nonlethal alternative to deadly force in the pursuit of their duties.
Taser devices shoot out two electrified probes or barbs to as much as 15 feet away. The Taser gun uses low-voltage and high amperage to disable an assailant with amazing effectiveness-nearly 100% effective. Regular stun guns on the other hand, use low amperage and high-voltage-sometimes as high as 20,000,000 volts.
Stun guns and Taser devices are not legal everywhere in the United States. Where they are legal, people who purchase Tasers must still pass a background check through Taser International. If you have a felony conviction on your record, you won’t get one. A convicted felon who possesses a Taser gun in the United States is subject to arrest.
In another story from London, England police Tased A Passenger when they were called to the plane trying to persuade a man to leave the aircraft peacefully. The man refused and was becoming increasingly belligerent. Employees of the airline were trying to enforce an airline policy on hand luggage. That’s when the man started being verbally abusive. Then police were called and got involved.
This is a perfect example of how nonlethal alternatives like Tasers are used by law enforcement officers to get compliance to a lawful order. In this particular case in an aircraft, pepper spray would’ve been completely inappropriate because the spray would have contaminated other passengers.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Felons can own tasers in 16 states, those states are Alabama, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
Yes, under Michigan State Penal Code 750.224a, tasers are legal to own and carry, but a concealed carry weapons permit is required.