General discussion

Deaths prompt concerns, reviews on use of stun guns

WASHINGTON ? The largest association of police chiefs will issue a national bulletin within 10 days urging police departments to review the use of stun guns because of reports that the weapons may be related to numerous deaths.
The International Association of Chiefs of Police and the Justice Department will also study more than 80 deaths to assess the risks in using the weapons, the group said Tuesday.

The actions come as civil rights groups and some police agencies question the use of stun guns, or Tasers, which emit electrical charges to temporarily incapacitate suspects.

More than 80 deaths have been reported since 1999 after victims were shocked with stun guns, according to reviews by The Arizona Republic and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. The SCLC, an inter-faith activist group based in Atlanta, also asked Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to declare a moratorium on the weapon.

Arizona-based Taser International is the dominant manufacturer. The company has sold 130,000 stun guns to 7,000 of the 16,000 police agencies across the country. Taser President Tom Smith defended the product Tuesday: "There was no scientific or medical evidence to suggest that these are dangerous devices. I believe this is the safest option for the use of force by police officers."

heres another point of view

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use of stun guns

Since stun guns are "supposedly" non-leathal I think some officers have decided they can hot-dog it and go around zapping anyone regardless of age, health conditions, or cause. If they hadden't gotten cocky it may never have become a particular problem.

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i was just posting this to show other side

of the stun gun post

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They're certainly safer than a 'real' gun, Mark --

and that's the important thing! Still, they shouldn't be used any more readily than a "real gun," as while they're usually non-lethal, they're certainly not "100% safe," especially for those with certain medical conditions (heart disease, epilepsy, etc.)

-- Dave K, Speakeasy Moderator
click here to email

The opinions expressed above are my own,
and do not necessarily reflect those of CNET!

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you do what you feel is right for yourself

and family. your life is whats on the line.
my sons were taught to shoot by me and both licensed.

i wont trust my life to that item yes it works but how many rounds does it hold?
my revolvers hold 6 but i load only 5 for saftey.
but i have 5 rounds plus a speed loader, for what if thers 3 intruders?

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You must reside in a heavy crime vicinity or feel that somebody is out for you. Is it not more effortless and more secure to move?

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no i live in a major city

every city has crime probs

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I too live in a major city

Have been residing here for 30 years, never had a gun and in no way had a problem.

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Good for you ...

... hope the cops get there in time to save you if you ever do.

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(NT) (NT) I never had to call them. Did you?
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and hopefully you wont ever BUT!!

what happens when that druggy breaks in your door and attacks you?
i neve have needed my gun yet but if the day ever comes ill be alive will you or your loved ones?

i respect your views but i beleave better have a gun and not need it, then to need it and not have it.

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I don't know.

I have heard a lot of anecdotes about people requiring their guns. But they are anecdotes that usually have affected their friends or somebody that said so to them. I have, frankly, never heard of anyone who really required their firearms to protect themselves.

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well like i said

hopefully you wont and i wont but if i do ill have my gun.

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I believe J Vega ...

... a member here has had to use his, actually twice if I'm not mistaken.

You don't hear much about people using them for protection because "homeowner with gun in doorway made burglar turn tail and go elsewhere" is not a real catchy story. We do, however hear a lot about folks killed in their homes. Interestingly enough, if there was evidence of folks more likely to be killed by their own gun in the home, we would no doubt hear about them disproportionately in the anti-gun media.

I haven't had to use mine. I've called the cops once to report a car casing the neighborhood, and I have been burglarized when I wasn't home at the time.

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At home

I believe the likelihood of a murder involving family members is much bigger if a gun is in the home. There are many instances of domestic physical abuse and many of those cases might have ended up with murder wasn't it for the family didn't have arms at home. I recognize that it could happen with knives too, but I think it is easier to shoot somebody than to stab somebody and then be repentant about it.

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If you live with someone ...

... that you believe would try to kill you, move out. If the firearm is not available in a situation like this, they will grab a knife, baseball bat, or just plain beat your head off. This argument is the most ridiculous one for not keeping a gun in the home for self defense.

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Why is it ridiculous?

Is there any scientific support of what you are uttering?

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It is ridiculous ...

... because it is blaming the gun for a crime. The presence of a gun in the home is not correlated with the propensity of violence by one family member on another. There has to be some other underlying factor there for even a very heated argument to escalate to the desire to kill another person. If you have a fear that someone in your home would turn homicidal when upset, that's a problem far bigger than whether or not there is a gun in the home.

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Are you saying

Are you saying that the likelihood of slaughter is the same whether there is a gun in the home or not?

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Other things being equal ...

... yes.

There would probably be a higher percentage of successful murder attempts with the gun if that's what you are getting at. But you would have to have a homicidal person for that to occur. Again, if your worry about a gun in the home is that you fear someone turning homicidal and using it, your problem is the someone you fear turning homicidal, not the gun.

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Used to read the NRA magazine,

and they had a monthly feature of just such stories. OTOH every PD (and ER!) has as many stories with bad outcomes- usually the gun takes out a family member. That's why anecdotes not so useful in any field of controversy. Better to do/not do something on a principle you believe in.

Hey, if no gun, how can you expect Them to call you "Mr. Tibbs?" Happy
Regards, Defenceless in New Mexico

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I have no problems with cops using ...

... them to supplement the arsenal. After all they are trained in hand-to-hand combat in addition to marksmanship. I can't think of anything that might give people a more false sense of security than someone that is afraid to keep a gun in the home having a taser for self-defense.

Evie Happy

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Re: false sense of security

Yup. To some, ignorance is bliss.


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While a false sense of security

may be a problem, still having the option of having a taser in the house for someone that is opposed or afraid of having a handgun is probably a positive thing.

As you mention for the police, just another possibility in the arsenal, or an alternative one.



click here to email

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(NT) (NT) Agree
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(NT) (NT) I know.
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The proper term is less-than-lethal, not non-lethal.

This is a subtle but important distinction. To use medicine as an analogy, it's entirely possible that a less-than-lethal dose could result in fatality under certain circumstances. To then say that the medication in question is non-lethal, or even "supposedly non-lethal"... well, maybe Dr. Bill would like to chime in on that.


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That would be 16 deaths a year. The really import information missing is how many times stun guns were used. Then we could figure out how many people were NOT shot by a officer's service weapon.

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No, try searching the 'net for "force continuum".

In a nutshell, the basic idea is that you use the appropriate tool for the job. In other words, you shouldn't use a stun gun or taser when a firearm is what's needed, nor would you use a firearm when a taser or stun gun is what's needed, anymore than you should use a hammer when a wrench is what's needed.

On the one hand you have lethal force, one the other less-than-lethal force. They are not interchangeable.


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Yes, but

Correct you are about a stun gun not being the replacement for a service weapon, but, some force is need in resolving violent situations and if the officer only has a firearm to control the situation, and he has to draw that weapon to show his commitment to the badguy, he will have to be able to fire it. (Nice run on sentence) And he will not be firing it to wound, but to kill. If he has a choice of the firearm and stungun, well, someone may be going to the hospital instead of the mourge.

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i never aim to wound

if I'm in a situation inside my home or where it means the safety of a RD party the person or persons attacking will be dead.

sorry to offend anyone but i believe in self preservation

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