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Fashionably safe

New pink Tasers targeted to female consumers

 by Sarah Owen
 published on Thursday, September 20, 2007

/issues/news/701860
 

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Fashion-savvy students looking for a pink defense weapon to match their outfit are in luck thanks to Taser International.

Their latest model, the C2, is purse-sized and shaped more like an electric shaver than a gun a break from traditional models.

"Women told us they were intimidated by the gun shape," said Kathy Hanrahan, president and chief operating officer of Scottsdale-based Taser International. "What we've done is put it in a smaller, less aggressive form. It's the perfect model for women."

But the smaller, lighter, and possibly trendier Taser packs the same punch as other models, Hanrahan said.

The C2 shoots 50,000 volts of electricity through a person's body for a minimum of 30 seconds, she added.

Although she said the device is considered non-lethal, Taser International is currently involved in 30 wrongful death suits nationally.

The newest weapon, which is being marketed specifically to women, differs from the Tasers used by law enforcement officers in the duration of its electric charge, Hanrahan said.

While the stun guns police officers use zap a continuous stream of electricity through a person's body for five seconds when the trigger is pulled once and released, the C2 maintains its charge for four times that duration, she added.

If the trigger is not released immediately but is instead held down, the weapon can continue to electrocute a person for up to 25 minutes before the battery may need to be recharged, Hanrahan said.

She said the consumer version was designed to electrocute people longer than law enforcement officers' Tasers so women would have more time to escape from potential attackers.

But Alana Arbuthnot, a political science freshman, said she would not feel comfortable electrocuting someone for any amount of time and that she would instead use her pepper spray on an assailant.

"Tasers are just generally, I think, a bit more violent than pepper spray," she said. "And pepper spray is just easier to access."

Arbuthnot added that she thinks Tasers are not a practical choice for her because the cost is prohibitive.

The C2 model retails for $300 or $349 if you purchase the version equipped with a laser sight.

Arbuthnot said she was worried about the possibility of students using Tasers irresponsibly and not in the manner for which they are intended.

Cmdr. Jim Hardina of ASU police said proper Taser training is essential.

"The big risk to having any type of weapon and not knowing how to use it properly is being disarmed and having the weapon used against you," he said in an e-mail. "Also, one needs to be familiar with the laws governing using force in one's self defense. And one should not only know how the weapon works, but what its limitations are."

Hardina said Tasers are more effective than pepper spray, however according to the student code of conduct, objects designed to incapacitate are prohibited on campus.

Police officers are required to undergo training with Tasers before they can qualify to use them, Hardina said.

However, Hanrahan said no training is required for citizens who purchase Tasers.
She said there is a training manual as well as an informative CD that comes with the purchase of the weapon.

Would-be Taser owners are required to pass a felony background check, though, before the device will be sold, she added.

Buyers also have to be at least 18 years old and must verify that they do not live in one of the seven U.S. states that ban Tasers.

Reach the reporter at: sarah.g.owen@asu.edu.



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