When a Michigan legislative committee submits a bill to the Senate, they provide both supporting and opposing arguments. In the case of S.B. 29 (S-2), 30 (S-1), & 93 (S-1)—allowing Great Lakes State residents to keep, carry and deploy TASERs—the argument for enabling concealed carry stun guns is simple enough. “It stands to reason that if individuals who meet CPL [Concealed Pistol License] licensing standards are trusted with carrying a firearm for personal safety, the law should not ban them from carrying an EMD [Electro-Muscular Disruption] device for the same purpose.” Sounds about right, right? Not so fast Mr. Bond. Let’s take a closer look . . .
Possessing a taser is legal in at least 43 other states. While allowing Michigan to join their ranks, the bills include protections against abuse of EMD devices that evidently [emphasis added] would be greater than those in any of the other jurisdictions. Reportedly, Michigan would be the only State in which a person would have to be licensed to carry a concealed handgun, in order to be authorized to carry a taser.
Huh. If this becomes law Wolverines would have to possess a gun permit to carry a lot-less-than-lethal-in-most-any-circumstance-you-can-name stun gun. That seems a bit . . . excessive.
What if you want to buy, own and carry a TASER without a background check, fingerprints, travel, fees, endless war stories from a pensioned cop and a test? What if you just want to read the TASER manual and, I dunno, watch some YouTube videos?
No dice. In fact, assuming that the committee used the word “evidently” in the sense of “we have evidence” (rather than “an intern did a quick Google search of other states’ TASER laws”), Michigan’s preventative “protections” against TASER abuse would be second to none.
Why? Is this high hurdle necessary? Or, for that matter, constitutional? Given that the second noun in the phrase “right to keep and bear arms” doesn’t have the word “fire” in front of it. But let’s stick with necessary . . .
Under Michigan law, holders of CPLs are trained to understand when and under what circumstances they may use deadly force. People who have obtained a CPL have demonstrated an ability to follow the law and use firearms responsibly. The bills would allow the same law-abiding citizens who are licensed to carry a pistol to possess a taser, thereby giving them a less-than-lethal option for private protection.
So, basically, Michigan wants to continue infringing on their residents’ right to keep and bear arms and “allow” the ones who jump through the extra-constitutional hoops to carry both a firearm AND a TASER. If one life is saved . . .
Hang on. Anyone remember Oscar Grant, the young man shot to death by a San Francisco transit cop who mistook his gun for a TASER?
I mention this because the risk of reaching for the wrong weapon and killing someone by mistake (low as it is) seems higher than any civilian killing anyone with a TASER. Provided that the TASEd target isn’t suffering from excited delirium. And if they were, well, I wouldn’t want to face them without some kind of extremely effective weapon. Know what I mean?
Keeping in mind that there are plenty of laws in Michigan that would govern the use of civilian TASERs. Or, more specifically, the misuse of a TASER by a law-abiding citizen. It would be no more legal to TASE an innocent person than hit them with a baseball bat or stab them with a knife or strike them with your fist. Or drive over them. Or drop a safe on their head. Or put weed killer in their coffee. Etc.
Bottom line: when TASERs are outlawed, only police have TASERs. Which doesn’t strike me as fair. Nor am I particularly enamored of the fines or the fiscal impact statement at the bottom of this authoritarian effort to deny Michigan residents easy access to safe, life-saving personal defense technology.
A person who violates the no-carry-zone prohibition is responsible for a State civil infraction and may be fined up to $500 for a first offense. A second violation is a misdemeanor punishable by a $1,000 maximum fine. A third or subsequent violation is a felony punishable by up to four years’ imprisonment, a maximum fine of $5,000, or both. These penalties also would apply to a CPL holder who carried an EMD device in a no-carry zone, subject to the exceptions for specified individuals.) . . .
Additional penal fine revenue would benefit public libraries.
So there it is: restrict TASERs to vetted, taxed and trained citizens for the children. Well, an institution (public library) that’s been doomed by the internet. As should this ridiculous bill.