LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan would lift its ban on stun guns under legislation advanced by lawmakers on Tuesday.
The bill would allow the sale, possession and “reasonable use” of a stun device by those 18 and older. Michigan currently allows law enforcement and people with a concealed pistol license — those who are at least 21 — to use a Taser, which is a different type of self-defense device than a stun gun.
A Taser can be used from distance, while a stun gun requires direct contact with an attacker.
The Republican-led Senate will consider the measure next after it cleared the GOP-controlled House on an 84-24 vote, with nearly half of Democrats in opposition.
Supporters said the stun gun ban contradicts several court rulings and argued that people may prefer nonlethal forms of protection over guns. The state police has said Michigan’s law is constitutional because it is not a strict ban since Tasers are allowed, according to an analysis conducted by the nonpartisan House Fiscal Agency. The legislation also is opposed by the Michigan Sheriffs’ Association.
“For somebody that does not want to conceal carry, this is something that allows them a non-lethal form of self-protection,” said the bill sponsor, Republican Rep. Michele Hoitenga of Manton. She said she introduced the measure after hearing from female crime victims in Detroit and Damsel in Defense, a multi-level marketing company that sells self-defense products to women.
Someone who is authorized to have a stun gun but who improperly uses it to disable someone would face a a misdemeanor punishable by up to two years of incarceration. A person who illegally sells or possesses a stun gun would face a four-year felony.
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