Defend yourself: choosing a stun gun

(Source: KFVS)
(Source: KFVS)
(Source: KFVS)
(Source: KFVS)
(Source: KFVS)
(Source: KFVS)

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Everyone wants to be able to protect themselves if they need to.

Have you ever thought about what you would do if you were attacked?

It could happen to anyone.
So, what is the best form of self-defense?

While some people might suggest a handgun, that option is not right for everyone.

If you would prefer a less-lethal option, it's important to do your homework.

One such option is a stun gun. There are many brands and models available.

Southeast Missouri State University Law Enforcement Academy training coordinator Bobby Bollinger explained how to find the best option for you.

First off, does voltage strength matter?

"You see so many wild variations of voltage," Bollinger said. "I don't know if it's going to be that big of difference. The law enforcement's Taser is 50-thousand volts and I can tell you with absolute certainty that it is effective."

It's important to note that a Taser is not the same thing as a stun gun. Taser is an acronym for Thomas A. Swift's Electric Rifle. One of the inventors, NASA researcher Jack Cover, named it after his childhood hero, Tom Swift.

A Taser works by shooting two probes that insert into the skin creating an involuntary reaction, whereas a stun gun is designed to cause pain in hopes of getting the person to comply.
Bollinger said you can purchase a civilian model of a Taser that operates a lot like a police-issued Taser.
"It has a lock on the holster and you flip the holster up, you simply turn it on and pull the trigger," Bollinger said.

He recommends the Taser Brand.

Tasers typically cost a couple hundred dollars.

Not only that, every time you use it, you need a new cartridge.

You can purchase cartridges that can deploy at various distances, and a two pack can cost anywhere from $70-100.

A stun gun is the cheaper option and, in most cases, is rechargeable.

"Do some research. Get online, find ones that you like and look at some of the reviews," Bollinger said.

Whether it is a stun gun, self-defense, or pepper spray, Bollinger has one piece of advice.

"You got to practice you got to know how to use it," Bollinger said. "When you need it, that's not the time to try to learn how to operate it."

Before you go out to buy a Taser or a stun gun, make sure you know the laws in your state.

You are not required to have a permit in states like Missouri, Kentucky, and Tennessee, but it is illegal to use a stun gun to commit a crime.

Meanwhile, before you purchase, possess, or use a stun gun in Illinois, you must apply for a Firearm Owner's Identification card.

It is also illegal to carry it for anything other than self-defense.

Keep in mind, cities and counties may have additional laws on the possession of stun guns.

It is important to check with your local municipality for specific regulations in your area.

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