Tasers are in use across the United States by police forces in towns and cities of all sizes. However, it's the latest model, one specifically designed to be attractive to women in both size, style and form factor, which is creating controversy among human rights and law enforcement groups.
Police forces in the United States have been issued with Tasers since 1999 to subdue violent criminals. A pistol-like civilian version aimed at the self-defense market has been available since 1994.
But the new, lighter, brighter designer version, which was launched in late July with a price tag of around $350, is small enough to tuck into a purse and packs the same paralyzing punch.
But some of the nation's top police authorities are concerned that the gadgets could easily wind up in the wrong hands. Amnesty International also is opposed, saying it can pose "serious harm" for women.
However, Taser says it has taken steps to ensure the use of its device for self-defense only. It is shipped inert, must be activated by the factory with a code given out after a background check, has a shorter range (15 feet vs. 30 feet) than the police version, and shoots out confetti that identifies the serial number registered to its owner when used. Additionally, one-on-one training courses are available for an extra fee. In fact, as Taser says, "We're hoping that we're doing everything we can to ensure to the best our ability that it's used correctly and if it's not, that we can identify the user."
We'd be lying if we were to say that discussion of buying one of these hasn't taken place in our household.