A bill that would allow Michigan residents to own and use stun guns passed the Michigan House of Representatives on Tuesday with bipartisan support.
The bill would allow anyone 18-years-old or older possession and “reasonable use” of a “portable device or weapon from which an electrical current, impulse, wave or beam may be directed… to incapacitate temporarily, injure or kill,” according to the bill’s text.
Current Michigan law allows residents with a concealed pistol license to legally carry a Taser, although still bars stun guns. The Michigan Court of Appeals ruled in 2012 that a complete ban on private possession of Taser or stun guns violates the Second Amendment, as well as the Michigan Constitution.
The bill requires that someone purchasing a stun gun also have a concealed pistol license, which are only available to those 21-years-old or older in Michigan.
Improperly using a stun gun to disable someone would face a misdemeanor punishable by up to two years of incarceration. Someone found illegally selling or possessing a stun gun could face a felony punishable by four years of incarceration.
The sponsor of the bill Rep. Michele Hoitenga (R-102-Manton), said that it is important to draw a distinction between stun guns and Tasers. While a Taser shoots electric probes and can strike a target 15 to 30 feet away, a stun gun is only effective using direct contact and requires close proximity.
“Many people are uncomfortable carrying firearms and would prefer to instead carry a stun gun for self-defense,” Hoitenga said in a statement. “Stun guns are a good, non-lethal way for people to protect themselves from violence — and there’s absolutely no reason to continue banning them in Michigan.”
The bill now moves to the Michigan Senate for consideration. It passed the House with and 84-24 vote, according to the Associated Press.
“The safety of our residents is not a partisan issue,” Hoitenga said. “It’s time to give our residents access to this effective and non-lethal option for defending themselves.”
Jordyn Pair is a reporter with Battleground State News and The Michigan Star. Follow her on Twitter at @JordynPair. Email her at [email protected]