For years, police in New Jersey have had only one option when confronted by an attacker: Shoot to kill. In most other states, says the Philadelphia Inquirer, police have several less-lethal options, including beanbag guns and rubber bullets. Yesterday, New Jersey Attorney General Anne Milgram gave the go-ahead for police in the state police to use less-lethal, non-penetrating ammunition in situations where deadly force is justified. Stun guns remain prohibited.
New Jersey is the only state that does not allow police to use stun guns, or Tasers, which deliver a 50,000-volt shock and cause temporary paralysis. An advisory group appointed by Milgram yesterday will consider loosening restrictions on the devices and present her with recommendations before December. In the meantime, police may use beanbag shotguns and rubber bullets. “This is a big deal,” said Mitchell Sklar of the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police. “We’re one of the last in the nation to move forward on less-lethal weapons.” Several law enforcement officials lauded Milgram’s announcement. “It’s a long time coming and may save someone’s life,” Pemberton Borough Chief Joseph Conlin said.