Portland has its share of crazies; it has a visible undertow of drug addicts, including meth addicts, that blights the downtown area. It also has many homeless people whose mental health is dubious. Add diversity to the mix and the need for some form of protection becomes obvious.
I’d put off getting a taser for years. I wanted to get the type that can fire from several feet, but they’re rather expensive. A couple of days ago I finally made the leap. The young man behind the counter, at the gun store, explained that he would have to run a background check on me for the purchase.
“A background check? No problem” I thought. After all, I have no criminal history and nothing to fear. So why should there be a problem. But requiring background checks for tasers is a problem – when you consider that the taser won’t even work until it’s remotely activated by the manufacturer following a successful background check. I may be wrong, but it would appear that this would make it very difficult for a criminal, or an ex-convict, to acquire a working taser. Guns don’t need to be activated. Anybody can get a gun; if he can’t get one legally, he can buy one on the black market or steal one – and the gun will still work.
Taser International has this to say:
We at TASER International live and work to “Protect Life.” One of the ways we do live is by doing all we can to keep our life-saving devices out of the hands of criminals. We will not activate any TASER CEW without a clear felony background check. It’s the right thing to do because it protects all of us.
There are many decent people who have criminal records. People who were falsely accused and forced to take plea bargains. People who have mended their ways. People who made stupid mistakes or broke laws that make no sense. These people have the right to defend themselves and their families. It would make a lot of sense for them to have tasers. That way, they can do so without using lethal force. As it stands, since they cannot get tasers for this purpose, their only realistic alternative is a gun. You’re more likely to kill somebody with a gun than with a taser. You’re also more likely to end up with a long prison sentence and eat up valuable public resources in the process. There’s a lot more fallout if you use a gun against an intruder than if you use a taser.
While it’s true that a gun can be fired several times before it needs to be reloaded, while a taser has only one shot, there’s no reason we should not have both weapons in our arsenal. It doesn’t make sense to create a situation where a segment of the population has the option of using guns, but no option of using tasers. Just my two cents on the matter.