Personal Safety – Should You Consider a Stun Gun?
The news is so frightening these days!
Threatened bombings, actual shootings and beatings, rape. Awful. Disheartening. And, unfortunately, reality.
Here at Emergency Plan Guide we try to be as upbeat and level-headed as possible. At the same time, it seems sensible to be aware of personal safety options.
One option, legal in most states, is a stun gun.
You hold the stun gun in your hand, and when you press it against the body of an attacker, its “electrical punch” can completely disable and disorient him for seconds or minutes, giving you the chance to get away. In fact, the zapping sound and electric blue flash of a stun gun being set off may discourage the attacker from approaching in the first place.
Here are two examples, directly from Amazon.com. Both are made by Vipertek. The first image (right) shows VIPERTEK VTS-191 – 25,000,000 V Heavy Duty Stun Gun – Rechargeable with LED Tactical Flashlight (Black)
This stun gun is incorporated into a heavy-duty LED flashlight.
Is this really something to consider carrying?
Here are the questions I asked as I was researching for this post.
1. Is a stun gun legal?
Stun guns are treated differently in different cities, different counties and different states! Sometimes you have to go through a registration process to own one.
To give you an idea, one stun gun advertised on Amazon carries this disclosure: “We do not ship to the following locations: Hawaii, Massachusetts, Michigan, Connecticut, New Jersey, Illinois, New York, Rhode Island, Wisconsin, District of Columbia, Annapolis, MD, Baltimore, MD, Chicago, IL, Philadelphia, PA, Baltimore County, MD, Crawford County, IA.”
If you intend to purchase one, I recommend you check carefully to find out the LATEST rules governing buying and carrying stun guns in your town. If you plan to travel with your stun gun, then check again, because different rules apply there, too. (Mostly, it appears as though a deactivated stun gun can be carried in checked luggage. But don’t take my word for it!)
A good place to start your legal research: http://www.stungunbuyersguide.com/stun-gun-laws/
2. Is a stun gun the same as a taser?
When it comes to legislation, stun guns are sometimes lumped together with tasers, and other times are treated separately. For our purposes, though, there is a distinct difference.
- A taser is a “long-distance” (15-20 ft.) weapon. It shoots out wires that carry the electrical current, and once it’s shot, you can’t quickly reload. Tasers start at around $400 and the “professional” models used by police cost more than $1,000. These tasers are of colored plastic in the shape of a pistol, with a hand grip and trigger, and are worn in a holster.
- The stun gun, on the other hand, is a close-up defense tool. It has to be pressed against the body to create the circuit; it can be used repeatedly as long as its battery is still charged. Stun guns start at just over $10 and there are many available in the $20-40 range. They could be carried in a purse or pocket.
3. How do you charge the stun gun?
Obviously, your stun gun needs to be charged to have any impact. The typical gun comes with rechargeable batteries and a cord that you plug into the wall. You’ll get instructions to charge it fully (10-12 hrs?) when you receive it and then to “top it off” on a monthly basis.
A solar-powered charger suitable for charging your computer or phone would likely work to charge your stun gun, too. Check.
4. Other features to consider?
Stun guns have been incorporated into other personal items. We mentioned the flashlight/stun gun style above. Stun guns have also been incorporated into iphone lookalikes, into actual iphone cases, and into batons and other professional law enforcement tools.
There are many sizes and styles.
Pick the one that suits your own needs and lifestyle.
If I felt threatened, or were heading into an unsavory or dangerous place, I’d have my stun gun in my hand and ready to use. I personally like the “safety disable pin” that comes with the pink example above. The stun gun comes with a wrist strap which is attached to the pin. (Scroll over all the images to see the wrist strap.) If the stun gun is taken away from you in a struggle, the pin will be pulled out. This stops the stun gun from working so it can’t be turned against you.
In my opinion, the stun gun is closer to being a weapon than other safety items we’ve talked about. I’d investigate carefully before deciding to carry one or to give one to a family member.
It might, however, be something that would give you new peace of mind.
Your Emergency Plan Guide Team
P.S. Do you already have a stun gun? Have you ever used it? What more information can you share with Emergency Plan Guide readers to help us make our decisions?
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