Stun gun protection

By Tara Morgan - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Peace of mind; one reason why so many carry around some method of self defense.

"It's dangerous around here," said local student Rachel Borrell.

"Normally I carry mace and some sort of pocket knife," student Brittani Fanz said.

"I just reach into my pockets, whatever I've got that day, would be my safety device," said student Andrew Brehm.

More people are taking personal safety to another level. Stun guns and tasers are not only "legal" in Virginia, but hot sellers...both in stores and on the streets, which is where Charles Massie came across a stranger peddling stun guns for a bargain.

"How much is it and he's like, '25 bucks' so I bought it," Charles Massie said.

Four years ago, Massie was the victim of a beating. $25 may buy him some extra time to escape another attacker.

"Didn't remember what happened but maybe if I had this, then it would have been a different story," said Charles.

Sometimes these high voltage devices fall in the hands of criminals. This summer, police in both Prince William County and in Richmond investigated cases in which robbers either used a taser on their victims or threatened to. Just the sound of a stun gun is intimidating.

"The stun gun will work on everybody," said J.D. McEwan of Southern Police Equipment.

McEwan says stun guns, tasers and pepper spray have become sort of non-traditional school supplies for local college students.

"At the start of school season we get a lot of incoming freshman, with their parents during orientation, come in looking for something small and inexpensive for little Susie to fend off the bad buys in downtown Richmond," said McEwan.

A taser, which carries five thousand volts, temporarily stops an attacker in their tracks.

"It's designed to be shot, dropped, and give you thirty seconds to get the heck out of Dodge," he said.

They can set you back $300 to $350. Stuns guns are less expensive at $60 to $80 a pop, and work much differently. There are drawbacks to stun guns you have to be at arm's reach and once you break contact the device loses its effect.

"Unlike a taser it doesn't leave them saying, 'Oh god what the heck was that' and completely dazed for a half an hour," McEwan said.

Massie says he hopes his stun gun offers enough protection, should he ever need to use it.

"Hopefully not but you never know," Massie said.

While stunning devices, including tasers, are legal in Virginia, there are some restrictions. They're not allowed on school property and it's illegal for convicted felons to carry them. 

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