There are currently seven states that specifically prohibit stun gun use, possession or purchase. They include:
- NEW JERSEY
- NEW YORK
- RHODE ISLAND
Several of those listed exempt law enforcement from the ban; others prohibit even police from stun gun use. ILLINOIS requires a FID card (firearms permit/license) and INDIANA allows stun guns but not TASERs (electric device which fires wired prongs or projectiles).
The reasons for banning stun guns are often complicated and have more than one main source. Stun gun use can go horribly wrong if proper protocols are not followed, and instances of misuse and abuse have been reported often enough to cause outrage in certain camps over the use of stun guns by different parties.
"Arms in the hands of citizens may be used at individual discretion... in private self-defense."
- John Adams
TASERs such as are used by law enforcement are sad to have caused over 150 deaths in the past five years. Amnesty International carries on continual lobbying to make electric devices outlawed both for law enforcement personnel and ordinary citizens.
The police and sheriff’s departments, however, claim that the majority of supposed TASER related deaths were caused by health problems the police were unaware of at the time of the incident, and that TASERs have been successfully deployed in 70,000 incidents, and that at least 9,000 lives have been saved because a TASER was used in the place of the deadly force which would have been employed if there hadn’t been that alternative.
While there is no denying that in some cases bad judgment was used on the part of police, in general TASER and stun gun use is a safe, non- lethal way to stop a hostile person before they can cause harm to themselves or others. The ability to momentarily incapacitate a violent suspect is beneficial to all, and the likelihood of death occurring from a TASER is significantly less than the chance of death from a gunshot wound.
The more worrying issue is the disturbing stories of child abuse involving stun gun use. Children as young as 18 months have reportedly been shocked by parents for whatever reasons, and child protective services has been called in on more than one occasion to remove children from homes due to reports of deliberate use of stun guns as a disciplinary tool.
This has also contributed to bans on stun gun use or possession in more than one state due to media reports detailing such incidents. Whatever the reasons, The fact remains that stun guns are no more dangerous than the people who use them, just like guns - and when compared to guns, they have the distinct advantage of being generally non-lethal.
That said, laws must be obeyed, so be sure to check your state laws before attempting to purchase or acquire a stun gun. Several places including DC, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Baltimore also have city or county bans, so check those as well. If your state allows possession, move on to check the carrying rules - many states allow them in the home only and prohibit wearing them in public.