TASER Pulse (courtesy The Truth About Guns)

“In some states, you can walk into a store and buy a handgun or assault rifle without so much as a background check,” ibtimes.com reports. Wait. What? What states would those be? *crickets chirping* “But a Taser?” they ask. “Totally illegal. This is true, for instance, in New Orleans, where Tasers are prohibited but buyers can purchase as many handguns as they like.” OK, we’re back on solid ground here; New Orleans does have a stun gun ban despite state preemption on firearms laws. But it’s odd that International Business Times doesn’t name names stun gun ban-wise. So let’s do it . . .

According to defenseproducts101.com, CEWs are banned in Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island. Many states define conducted electronic weapons (CEWs) as a “dangerous weapon” requiring a firearms permit, and ban CEWs from legally defined “gun free zones.” Connecticut allows firearms permit holders to own CEWs, but only for home defense.

Wondering why there’s so little love for CEWs, ibtimes.com turned to the Washington Post‘s in-house gun rights guy for an answer.

“You try to regulate guns, and the NRA gets upset,” says Eugene Volokh, a law professor at the University of California, Los Angeles. “Whereas, you try to regulate [stun guns], there’s nobody to speak up for them. … Nobody has fond memories of going out and stun-gunning deer with their grandfather in the woods.”

Professor James Jacobs, a legal scholar at New York University who has researched gun legislation for more than three decades, agrees.

“The obvious answer to me, or at least the one that comes to mind, is that there’s such a strong lobby for guns and for firearms. It’s so mobilized that any proposed regulation is vetted and litigated and argued against, whereas you don’t have that kind of lobby when it comes to some legislature putting in a bill to regulate the less-fatal, less-deadly weapons. There’s no lobby there,” he said.

TASER International is the largest company with a dog in the fight. In 2014, they spent $3.4 million on consulting and lobbying. It’s doubtful any of that went towards rolling back laws that prohibit or restrict CEW use. Doing so would risk alienating their core constituency.

In 2014, private citizen purchases of Tasers accounted for just $3.7 million, compared to $43.5 million worth of Tasers sold to law enforcement, military and corrections professionals, company financials show. Steve Tuttle, a representative for the company, confirmed in an interview that “our bread and butter is police” and the company does not have any particular plans to lobby the states and local jurisdictions that ban Tasers. Still, he added, “it doesn’t make any sense at all that those states don’t allow it.”

That calculus may be about to change. TASER is launching its new TASER Pulse, a light and laser-equipped CEW that looks like a sub-compact firearm and shocks bad guys for a full 30 seconds — giving potential victims time to escape (TASER replaces the gun for free upon production of a police report).

The TASER Pulse is the perfect self-defense weapon for gun-averse Americans…provided they’re not facing multiple bad guys. Anyway, TASER could well sell millions of them to the civilian market, creating a large and determined constituency for CEW law reform.

While the above mentioned states are unlikely to soften their anti-gun rights stance unless or until the U.S. Supreme Court forces them to abandon their unconstitutional gun laws, the TASER Pulse and its inevitable imitators will trigger a simple thought process in CEW-restricted states (one that’s very familiar to gun rights advocates): why can’t I just buy one of these and carry it?

This will be especially true for colleges, where Americans too young or gun-averse to carry a firearm will want this extremely effective non-lethal form of self-defense. And once Pulse owners get used to carrying a “gun” it will be that much easier for them to transition to a “proper” firearm.

That’s why the NRA, SAF and other gun rights groups should take up the cause of CEW law reform. They should lobby for their sale without a background check with a sensible age limit, as CEWs are also protected by the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms. And CEWs are a gateway to gun ownership, which is a good thing, not a bad thing.

66 Responses to TASERs: Gateway to Gun Rights?

  1. Tasers have a use in law enforcement for the purpose of subduing a drugged-up or mentally ill person who needs to be cuffed and stuffed.

    For the rest of us, not so much.

    • I believe the purpose of the Pulse is to shoot the criminal and run away — that’s why the 30 second shock. You don’t stand there waiting 30 seconds, you git, and that’s part of the marketing appeal to free replacement with a police report — you don’t need to hang around to recover your investment.

    • The Taser C2 was specifically targeted to civilians / tax payers / non-police. It’s a decent little less-lethal weapon. We have 2, and they always work as long as the battery is charge. They’re single shot units, with a max range of 15 feet. My wife takes one on walks.

      • Do they have tritium sights? Laser? Red dot?
        … cause your accuracy is going to be paramount if you only get one shot.

        • 5mW red laser with a coaxial LED that’s about 20 lumens. There are some C2’s without lasers, but ours have them. Otherwise it’s pretty easy to point and shoot less than 5 yards.

  2. Nobody has fond memories of going out and stun-gunning deer with their grandfather in the woods.

    Oooooooohhhh … now that would be a serious deer hunting challenge! I think I may have just found my new hobby!

  3. The problem with CEW devices is that, not being guns, people feel free to violate basic safety rules around them. After all, nobody would shoot their friend for fun, but I have seen fratboys tase each other for fun before.

      • You’d be surprised. I had an idiot tase me at a party as a “practical joke”. This was about a decade back… needless to say, I was not amused.

        The problem is that it’s one of those things that doesn’t have the same sorts of repercussions that asshatery with a firearm does. Unfortunately, that’s both a good and a bad thing.

        • If someone did that to me, I would press assault charges. What I would prefer is to kick him in the balls but that would get me into trouble as much as or more than him. Having a court kick him in his criminal record would be more effective revenge.

        • I’m with Kendahl.
          That happens to me, I’m on the phone with the cops, pronto.

        • Yeah, in retrospect, that would have been a better option. However, 21yo pwrserge settled the issue more… directly.

        • If someone tased my wife as a practical joke, I would most likely shoot him to stop the attack. I suspect that if someone thought it funny to tase me, she would perforate him as well. Someone points something which looks like a gun, there’s a noise and your spouse goes down, you may learn what “too stupid to live” means.

  4. I hate tasers. You have to get way too close to the deer, and duck hunting can shock the dogs as well.

    So gateway is over stated.

  5. Ideally. Eventually though some moron trying to emulate Jackass in a state like MA will tase some already weak classmate resulting in a medical emergency and the parade of action demanders will scream and cry “think of the children!!!” negating, at least in some minds, the millions of people who did not misbehave on that day.

  6. Well, if you accept the 2nd amendment as ensuring that when the need arises the populace can present themselves armed the same way you would expect an active military soldier to be armed . . . tasers wouldn’t be covered by the 2nd and therefor would not enjoy those protections. Not saying I agree with it but there is a semi-logical argument there. Just have to ignore the individual right to protect your own life and limb.

    • A specious argument, obviously. The issue you’re referring to is the Supreme Court’s unconstitutional Miller ruling that the Second Amendment only protects guns “in common use.”

      [wikipedia: United States v. Miller, 307 U. S. 174 , does not limit the right to keep and bear arms to militia purposes, but rather limits the type of weapon to which the right applies to those used by the militia, i.e., those in common use for lawful purposes.]

      CEWs are already in common use.

      • Not sure how “common use” they are in the military. Just trying to wrap my head around the anti’s logic and how they would argue it. That level of gymnastics requires flexibility greater than my own be it mental of physical. Still trying.

      • If we’re going to have that argument, let’s be sure to point out that select-fire weapons, including SBRs, are in common use in every branch of the military, and with police as well, and we win big, forget the tasers as who cares.

  7. I’m sure the Taser Pulse would be fine against multiple perps. Just carry a brace of taser pistols on your chest like Blackbeard carried his pistols.

    • a quad taser holster chest rig, bring the concept of a NY reload to a whole new level. Shocking!

  8. That is a part of the problem. Antigun forces will make you out to be some sort of a monster because you don’t use a less lethal alternative, and use the existence of that alternative to argue that no one needs a gun. Then they ban that alternative, which isn’t protected by the second amendment in their opinion, because it isn’t a gun.

  9. It’s fairly simple- the people who write laws banning things like Tasers do not want you to defend yourself. To them, self-defense is not a human right- at least, not one of *your* human rights (then again, they only consider themselves and a select few of their friends human and thus deserving of rights). A gun can be used in sports, a taser not so much.

    I think at some level they look at ordinary people protecting themselves against criminals not as self-defense, but rather “dirtbag 1” and “dirtbag 2” causing a ruckus and potentially damaging valuable property.

    • To be fair, that seems to be pretty accurate, if we eliminate “Dirtbags 1 & 2” we would pretty much eliminate firearm deaths in America. Maybe we should pass a law forbidding dirtbags from shooting each other!

    • Quite a few tased suspects have died in custody shortly thereafter. Usually there are other factors, i.e. large doses of illegal drugs, that contribute to the situation.

      The devil is in the details.

  10. Self defense is as much a mindset as anything. Due to this a lot of the states that have strong firearms laws will continue to have strong laws against Tasers too I suspect. Although it’s “easier” to accept something that “isn’t lethal” in most cases it is still a tool that enables people to defend themselves and that can’t be had.

  11. “Nobody has fond memories of going out and stun-gunning deer with their grandfather in the woods.”

    My morning chuckle. I would pay money to see one of those silly hunting shows pull that off.

  12. “…CEWs are also protected by the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms.”

    This is all the argument we need. And yes, they should be legal. No, I don’t want to carry one. Yes, it is more important that we worry about our right to bear FIREarms in particular, but CEWs should not be any more restricted.

  13. This is a bad idea, what are you gonna taze the guy for 20 mins awaiting LEO response? Oh wait, you taze them then run away. The only thing tazers are good for is zapping 93 year old mouthy grandmas who don’t bow to my authorti !

    Unless it comes in a phased 40 watt range I’m out. (joke)

    • …according to the TASER website, $399.99 pre-order price. Comes with two cartridges. If the gun is left/lost at the scene of a defensive use, TASER will replace it.

      • Ouch. Still. I could MAYbe convince my wife to let me carry one of these. And the insurance of being able to get a new one is a big part of that game-changing I spoke of.

  14. I would not want a Taser pulse or recommend one. First, I don’t like that you only get one shot. We have people here arguing over 5-shot snubbies vs. hi-cap autos and someone is recommending something with one shot and limited range? And Taser’s practice rounds are expensive. You won’t be able to afford much practice. No thanks.

    Second, I don’t like that it looks like a gun. If you pull that on someone who has a gun, or even have in your hand when the cops show up, you’re likely to get shot. If you try to pull it out when you are in contact with a BG, he is going to instinctively wrestle you over it. The original “civilian” single shot Taser looks more like a flashlight and I think there are advantages that it does.

    Third, I don’t see this as a “gateway” to guns. I see it as placebo alternative that will give people a false sense of security and keep them from exploring guns. I also see it as a 2A hazard. I can see the anti-gunners saying, no guns…let ’em have Tasers. To me “less-than-lethal” means “less -than-effective.” Tasers and pepper spray have their uses, for dogs and drunks, but not serious self-defense.

  15. Hand held tasers can be easily made at home. It’s all about pulse width electronics with a step up transformer. While the delivery modes are trade secret it’s not too hard to make one. This makes 3 D gun printing lame by comparison.

    • I’ve yet to see a reliable FrankenTaser. And if you shocked someone to death with one, there’d be no fancy lawyers to speak up for you, unlike Taser International.

  16. I carry can of citronella dog deterrent on my belt, with revolver or pistol in pocket. Don’t want to shoot a dog just being rude. Would not hesitate to shoot a dog or anything that is an imminent threat to me or someone I care about. Nice thing about open carry of dog spray is most people think it is mace! Have not had a single person walk up to me on a walk asking for the time, do you have a lighter or have a cigarette, since adding to my belt.
    I also have a Taser flashlight in pocket with my keys.. have never had need for Taser function but one hell of blinding flashlight.

    • darn kids and their fancy sprays and whizzbang zapper things!

      In my day all we had was a 3ft maglite that weighed 20lbs, but man, could you ever clobber someone with it!

      • Yeah, I had one of those could double as a baseball bat. Really great unless you had to leave it out in the cold, as I did. Pick it up after it was cold-soaked at -40 degrees, and that aluminum pulled all the heat out of your hand right through your gloves in about 5 seconds. Did that once and went back to a plastic flashlight.

  17. Tasters aren’t non-lethal. I believe the correct term is ” less lethal”, whatever that means.

  18. “Assault weapons” can be banned because they are military weapons. Tasers can be banned because they aren’t military weapons. I.E., they will twist the logic to ban as they please. As for those lawyers, the Second Amendment isn’t only about the militia, but even if one wants to claim it as such, Tasers are very much a weapon for the maintenance of a well regulated militia, as the militia’s job (the militia at the time being all able-bodied freemen capable of bearing arms) is to handle everything from, locally, hunting down and bringing criminals to justice, riots, to regionally and nationally, checking insurrections, fighting invasions, and checking a tyranny should one arise.

    That was how criminals were captured and riots were stopped back in those days, you called out the militia (as they didn’t have special riot control police like today or police forces that could go out and conduct large-scale searches). So the militia handled both law enforcement duties AND military duties. As such, the militia today would utilize both law enforcement weapons such as Tasers and military weapons.

    As for the common use argument, it’s not about in common use at the time of the Founding, but in common use at the time the ban is proposed. It is not about in common use after the ban has been implemented, because by then the weapon may not be any longer in common use due to the ban. The whole “common use” argument is rather specious anyway. There are plenty of arms that aren’t in common use that people nonetheless have a right to, for example war hammers, battle axes, and English longbows, Mongolian warbows, etc…

  19. So you tase the guy and run off, leaving the charged cartridge behind to shock on without you? What if your assailant is one of the 20% who are unaffected by CEWs, haven’t you just armed him with a taser, and pissed him off?

    Toys.

      • Of a 30 second charge, which is waaay more than enough time for a determined young criminal to outrun and subdue/rob/rape/murder you. And now he doesn’t even have to fiddle with it to figure out how it works, it works right out of the box! What an awesome Christmas!

  20. In Arizona, you get to skip the background check if you have a concealed carry license. Still have to fill out the federal form though.

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