Often regarded as the less lethal alternative to a firearm, the relatively new addition of the taser as a weapon carried by the majority of police officers who patrol the streets, both in inner cities and smaller neighborhoods, is more than a little controversial.
So, whether you are working within law enforcement, or else are someone who has a deep-seated interest in weapons and firearms, then continue reading to discover a brief and insightful history of the taser.
What Actually Is a Taser?
The taser is the most recognizable type of CED (Conducted Energy Device), which is essentially used by members of law enforcement to incapacitate individuals who either pose a threat of violence or danger to them or others).
Once a person is incapacitated by a taser, the police can approach and handle them safely, without causing injury to the individual or being injured themselves.
How Does a Taser Work?
The original company that developed and sold tasers, called TASER International, constructed their new and innovative devices with copper wire strands connecting small, barbed darts to the unit.
When a taser is fired, these two small darts are fired directly at the individual’s skin, puncturing the skin and staying attached until manually removed. Depending on the specific type of taser, the individual will either experience involuntary muscle spasms or else localized pain.
Taser: The Beginnings
Way back in 1969, at NASA headquarters, a researcher named Jack Cover coined the name “taser” based on the similarities in the way a laser fires, as well as including a nod to his favorite childhood series of books, Tom Swift.
Five years later, in 1976, the first approved taser model went on sale, named the TASER Public Defender, and was officially classified as a firearm by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
The Taser & Controversy
As a relatively new addition to the arsenal of specially trained law enforcement officers, the taser has already caused many issues, with some even requiring the hiring of a renowned and established taser injury attorney.
The taser as a firearm is often debated by professionals across a wide spectrum of industries, from scientific researchers and prominent people in the media, with the main debate centering around whether or not the weapon is actually safe.
It’s interesting to note that when interviewing many serving and retired police officers who have used tasers on a regular basis throughout their career, a researcher from Washington University reported that every single officer claimed the taser is both safe and effective.
As media coverage both here in the United States and internationally always reports incidents whereby people are injured, or else a certain situation is escalated with the use of a taser, these interviewed officers blame negative public opinion on such articles.
Universally, however, at least in the most part, the taser is indeed considered to be much safer than other weapons used by the police to incapacitate individuals, such as batons and pepper spray (OC spray).