Michigan residents might be getting a new way to protect themselves from possible attackers. The state House of Representatives passed several Senate bills that allow citizens with a concealed weapons license to carry civilian-grade Tasers.
The state would become the 45th in the Union to legalize consumer-grade Tasers, which are single-shot weapons that shoot electrodes up to 15 feet. The legislation was part of a package of bills designed to speed up the process for Michiganders to receive concealed weapons licenses as well as allow those with extra training to carry concealed pistols into places that are traditionally gun-free. Those locations include schools, bars and hospitals.
State Sen. Rick Jones told The Detroit News he believes the threat of getting shocked would deter would-be criminals.
“I would say you could pull it out and say ‘Back away, I have a Taser’,” he said. “Ninety-nine percent of the time I think they’ll run away because they don’t want to be Tasered.”
And while Jones, a former Eaton County Sheriff, may be right, the weapons fall short on a few levels. For starters, the 15-foot shooting distance isn’t as long as one thinks. And someone using a Taser to subdue an assailant has only one shot to do the job, otherwise they’re out of luck. The matter of how to carry the weapon is also an issue. It’s not like pepper spray, which can be easily grabbed out of a purse and discharged.
Detroit Arms owner Doreen Hankins said, “It shouldn’t be carried in your purse. It should be carried on your person because you only have seconds to react to an attack.”
The bills were passed with overwhelming support by the House with a 106-4 vote, but that doesn’t mean some representatives don’t have reservations. State Rep. Lisa Howze, D-Detroit, told The News that her primary concern is whether or not the Tasers will be used properly.
There are safeguards against the wrong kind of people obtaining them, however. Taser International does not sell a weapon to someone until they have completed a criminal background check. The Tasers are also registered and serialized to make them easier to keep track of.
What do you think about the legalization of consumer-grade Tasers in Michigan? Should citizens be able to use them to defend themselves or is it a bad idea?