Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Three Tips to Use a Taser Gun Safely

On Friday May 1st, Cobb County decided to arm its officers with Tasers, reopening a longstanding debate about how they fit into the police’s use of force continuum, and how good an idea they are – period. There are a broad range of opinions about them, ranging from strong, unconditional support to serious concerns about their safety. Now you can buy Taser guns from us so obviously, you know that we approve of them – but we support proper Taser use. Here are three guiding principles to pay attention if you choose to purchase a C2 Taser.

Appropriate Use: Most controversies involving Tasers ultimately boil down to inappropriate use. In law enforcement this happens because of a combination of officer stress and poor training, explaining why there are so many differences between Taser statistics in different jurisdictions. For example in Phoenix, AZ, police shooting incidents declined by a third while Taser use increased between 2001 and 2003 – an indication that proper training helped these officers save lives. In Houston however, the introduction of Tasers didn’t reduce shooting deaths at all. (Source: Wikipedia)

A Taser is one of the best nonlethal alternatives to injurious or deadly force out there – but it is an alternative to those situations, instead of something to use when you’re angry or frustrated. Just like a firearm, they’re dangerous based on what the user does. Tasers are serious self-defense tools to be employed in extreme situations – you’re not just “setting phasers on stun.” But in that role, they’re one of the very best options available.

Avoid Multiple Shocks: One characteristic of high profile Taser incidents is the use of multiple shocks over a brief period of time. A Taser is one of the safest self defense products for what it does . . . once. Evidence for Tasers contributing to serious injury and death is often controversial, but rest assured that these situations are also very, very rare and in many of them, the target was hit with multiple consecutive bursts.

Fortunately, the C2 Taser and other civilian models are designed to take this into account by automatically limiting the operating cycle to a maximum of 30 seconds. (Law enforcement models provide unlimited consecutive 5 second bursts for as long as the operator pulls the trigger). The C2 is programmed so that you will use it properly by default, giving you a chance to escape. So in most cases, this concern is not even an issue for civilian users.

One Solution Among Many: Like any self defense product a Taser has an appropriate time and place – in this case, it should be used when you feel someone represents a serious threat to your well-being. Don’t buy one for the same reason you’d buy pepper spray, for example. Pepper spray can be reasonably used when you want to deescalate a threat before it reaches its peak; Tasers fill the role of putting someone down when they need to go down right now. It won’t just scare them off, and you must be prepared for the responsibilities that come with all of a Taser’s possible consequences. Ultimately, it’s a powerful self defense asset when it’s used as part of a total strategy that includes personal awareness, health and a focus on avoidance and escape. A Taser will help you prevail in the most extreme situations.


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