News; Citizens using stun guns: FAST FEEDBACK

Published: Monday 21 February, 2011

MICHIGAN (NEWSCHANNEL 3) – The debate over citizens using Tasers in Michigan is heating back up.

Currently a bill is moving through the state senate that would allow you to arm yourself with a stun gun.

Newschannel 3's Aaron Baskerville wanted to see what it was like to get hit with one, so he volunteered on Thursday to take the jolt.

You have to go through it, to understand why such weapons, considered non-lethal by most, are not toys but powerful weapons that can bring a 300 pound man to his knees.

There's flashing lights and lots of new weapons in the fight against crime at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel in Grand Rapids, but the debate over Tasers and stun guns for the public is once again taking center stage.

Newschannel 3 was shown the kind of stun gun that would be on the market if the bill passes. Michigan is one of seven states where it's illegal to possess or sell Tasers and stun guns to the public.

“I have no problem with the citizens having whatever device they deem necessary to protect themselves,” said Kalamazoo County Sheriff Richard Fuller. “I would caution anybody who thinks any one device would be the saving thing.”

When Newschannel 3's Aaron Baskerville took the shock, what was supposed to be five seconds of jolt lasted only two. The muscles contracting 19 times per second with less electricity that flows through a tiny Christmas light. It drives home the point that such weapons are not toys.

Several police agencies in West Michigan are in favor of the public owning them for self-defense, but understand the drawbacks of having such a powerful tool in the wrong hands.

“Kids out playing with mom and dad's Taser like they play with mom and dad's gun because it wasn't appropriately secured and they weren't appropriately trained and they're out tazing the little neighborhood kid, that could be a problem,” said Augusta Police Chief Jeff Heppler.

Source: Newschannel 3 - Michigan
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