Taser International will begin selling in April a new model of its controversial stun gun designed for use by regular folks, says USA Today. It’s more affordable and small enough to be stashed in a purse or backpack. The sleek device was unveiled at the 2007 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The size of a TV remote control, the Taser C2 will sell for about $300 and comes in the metallic pink, electric blue, and titanium silver of popular cellphones.
Opponents say Tasers can be used for torture; supporters say the devices are safe when used appropriately. Since 1991, Taser has sold more than 200,000 devices to law enforcement; they shoot barbs that pierce the skin and deliver an incapacitating jolt of electricity. Civilian models cost about $1,000. Taser says the C2, less powerful than the police version, is designed to stun for 30 seconds, enough time for the shooter to flee from danger. “It’s a terrible idea. It’s a dangerous idea,” says Larry Cox of Amnesty International USA, which says there have been 200 Taser-related deaths. “I can’t think of any reason you would want these out in public.” Private citizens are not allowed to own Tasers in the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, and Wisconsin.