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For weeks, gun-safety instructor Dave Dieball has been receiving requests for training on Tasers, the stun-gun devices that will become available to trained Michiganders in early August under a new law.
The Oceola Township resident has already been certified as a Taser instructor, and will soon begin classes.
Tasers — previously only legal in Michigan for law enforcement — temporarily disable assailants by shooting barbs. The barbs then convey an electrical jolt to attackers.
While Tasers are nonlethal to assailants, they should be taken no less seriously than use of handguns, Dieball said.
The new law carries penalties for unlawful use of Tasers.
“You must be justified to use whatever level of force you’re using. You have to justify the use of any level of force,” Dieball said.
In May, Gov. Rick Snyder signed Senate Bills 29, 30 and 93 into law, making it legal for residents with a concealed-pistol licenses and who complete Taser training to carry the device. The law goes into effect Aug. 6.
Michigan was previously one of only seven states that had not legalized civilian use of Tasers.
The legislation refers to the devices as electro-muscular disruption devices, the generic term for the devices the Taser International Corp. produces and sells.
Taser’s C2 model is designed for consumer use, fires with 50,000 volts of power and strikes assailants with about 1,200 volts of electricity. The civilian model has a maximum range of 15 feet — 10 feet less than Taser’s law enforcement models.
The civilian model delivers an electric jolt to the assailant for 30 seconds after impact, allowing stun-gun holders ample time to run away. Law enforcement Tasers run for only five seconds, enough time for officers to move in and restrain the person.
Dieball said the Taser may prove to be a popular alternative to handguns for those nervous about using guns or having them around the house. He said some of his gun-safety students are unsure if they are willing to use deadly force.
“The beauty of this is even a person who is in an absolute rage or they’re drunk enough where they don’t feel pain because they’re smashed, the muscles will still collapse, just like if they had continued drinking so much that they had lost it and just fell down,” he said.