Determining the best method of quickly and efficiently gaining the upper hand on opponents has been debated for many years. Most devices, such as pepper spray, rely on pain tolerance leading to more of a struggle with individuals that can fight through the pain. A stun gun is an option that does not rely on pain giving you an advantage over anyone who means you harm. Stun guns and Electronic Control Devices (ECD) are now used as standard issue equipment in most law enforcement agencies.
A Look into the Birth of the Taser
The Taser used today as the standard ECD dates back as far as 1911. Invented by a NASA aerospace scientist Jack Cover who was experimenting with making a non-deadly weapon using electricity. In 1911 a book series centered around a man named ‘Tom Swift’ and his electric rifle was very popular. The term Taser came from this series as an acronym for “Thomas Swift Electric Rifle”.
During the 1960’s police would carry electronic rods called “shock batons” for crowd control. These expendable batons were soon the cause of outrage by the public as they were a source of discrimination and cruelty. Because of this, many inventors started looking for a more viable option. Jack Cover soon found inspiration for his Taser after reading about a man who survived walking into an electric fence despite being temporarily immobilized.
The cover came up with a gun that had electrode projectiles tethered to it from small wires. These electrodes would deliver a high-voltage, low amperage pulse of electricity which could subdue a person without killing them. He patented his idea in 1974.
Because he wanted to use gunpowder to fire the Taser, it would be classified as a firearm which would limit its sales. As such Cover could not convince the police to implement the electric “firearm”. In 1993 however, two brothers teamed up with Cover to improve the device. The improved version used compressed nitrogen as a propellant instead of gunpowder and was released in 1999. Sales were boosted with the ability to be freely sold to the public and police agencies began to come around.
Tasers are still being sold today based on the original invention of Cover. The Taser is considered a safe alternative and a worthy tool to protect officers from violent opponents as well as securing safety to the opponent. A three-year survey on six law enforcement agencies employing the Taser found only minimal injuries with 99.75 percent of criminal suspects receiving only mild injuries including scrapes and bruises.
Studies like this and gathered data reflects that ECDs almost always result in reduced injuries to both parties and a much safer alternative to other methods. Citizen complaints also dropped significantly when the Taser was used.
The taser guns of today are sold to law enforcement and for private citizens under the company Axon (AXXN). This, now huge, company started selling directly to police officers. They then made their way to getting those policemen to make the sales for them! They would pay police taser users to hold stun gun demonstrations to other police persons and agencies. This proved to be a truly successful strategy, with their 2017 annual revenue making out at $344 million. Alongside this, they created a worldwide recognizable brand of Taser. Nowadays people use the word taser synonymous with a stun gun device in general, a true sign of great brand marketing.
Tasers are now a common sight in law enforcement and even civilian homes. More than 13,400 law enforcement agencies around the world carry Tasers as well as more than 181,000 citizens who arm themselves with Tasers as well. ECDs are an excellent non-lethal option that will likely be used by law enforcement and citizens for many years.
Taser Gun And Stun Gun Laws
With the huge success of Taser international, you may think that these electroshock weapons are universally accepted. This is not the case. Several nations utterly ban these self-defense weapons, even some states prohibit the carry of this electric weapon. Here are some examples of nation regulations on their use:
- Private ownership is alright, but there are strict reasons behind a request.
- Prohibited to own only for self-defense.
- Cannot have a stun gun in open carry.
- Private ownership is not a problem.
- The permit can be granted in case you wish to use it for personal protection.
- Cannot be used in open carry.
- Regarding private ownership, the country is restricted.
- Personal protection is not enough to get a permit.
- Open carry of a stun gun is strictly forbidden.
- Private ownership is allowed.
- Personal protection is generally not accepted to get a permit, but may make an exception depending on the exact situation.
- Open carry of a stun gun is strictly forbidden whether for self protection or any other intention.
As you see, there are many prohibitions and exact guidelines around the use of stun guns and taser guns. There are several reports of tourists bringing stun devices overseas and being arrested. You should be careful with these devices as they are weapons, and are regarded as such by many places.
These restrictions are not only overseas as well. There are several states which prohibit the use of taser devices. These states are: Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island.