LANSING (WWJ/AP) – Gov. Rick Snyder has signed legislation allowing Michigan residents with concealed pistol licenses to carry a Taser as a nonlethal form of self-protection.

It was one of several measures signed into law Tuesday by Snyder.

Specialized training also is required to legally carry a stun gun.

Michigan joins 43 other states that allow residents to carry stun guns under certain circumstances. Michigan law had banned the use of stun guns since 1976, with exceptions for police and some other personnel.

Laws that cover the use and licensing of concealed handguns in Michigan also apply to stun guns or Tasers.

Supporters, including Senator Rick Jones, who sponsored the bills, say it’s a good, non-lethal alternative to handguns. He said personal protection Tasers are  good, non-lethal alternative to handguns.

“The citizen Taser discharges for 30 seconds so the victim gets to run away before, you know, the perpentrator continues the attack,”  Jones said. “And thousands of citizens have called me in the last three years and said, ‘I want the option to carry that. I would prefer to carry that rather than a gun with bullets.'”

Consumer-grade Tasers, which are legal in 44 states, cost about $400 and are the size of a small handgun. Also know as a Taser C2, it contains a single shot with a typical range of about 15 feet. That’s compared to police-grade Tasers which contain multiple shots with a maximum range of 35 feet.

Critics, however, are concerned about the appropriate use of the weapons.

“There is an internal dispute going on as to whether these Taser guns are actually lethal, because in some cases they have killed people,” said WWJ Lansing Bureau Chief Tim Skubick. “But the sponsors of the legislation say there were ancillary reasons why these people died and it wasn’t the Taser’s fault.”

Snyder also on Tuesday signed into law a bill allowing minors seeking treatment for alcohol poisoning to receive medical amnesty.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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