A bunch of jurisdictions -- according to a student paper I read, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Wisconsin, plus Philadelphia, Baltimore, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. -- ban the possession of tasers. Are there any sensible justifications that I'm missing for such bans, and for bans on carrying tasers outside the home?
Obviously, they could be used for criminal purposes, whether to assist in a robbery or a rape, or just to hurt people. But at the same time, I would think they're quite useful for self-defense, in at least three different circumstances:
When it's illegal to carry a gun, whether because carry licenses are generally unavailable, or because the person is 18 to 20, and licenses are only available to those 21 and older.
When there's a legal obstacle to the person's possessing a gun, for instance, when the person is an ex-convict (perhaps even someone convicted of a nonviolent felony), is underage for gun purchases, or lives with someone who is an ex-convict and who might be said to "constructively possess" any guns that his housemates possess.
When the defender isn't willing to use a deadly weapon, even against an attacker.
And my sense is that tasers are materially more effective than pepper spray, because they can disable the target wherever they hit him (though on the other hand my sense is that, unlike with pepper spray, they can't be quickly fired a second time).
I would think therefore that the net loss for self-defense from banning tasers substantially exceeds the net gain in any taser-related crime that would be stopped (especially since most people who would be willing to commit that crime would also be willing to violate the laws against taser possession, and it's unlikely that the taser possession will be discovered in time to prevent the crime). And I would think this should be the view even of people who take a different view about guns, since tasers are vastly less lethal than guns are.
Is there some sound reason that I'm missing for prohibiting these outright, as opposed to requiring training, licensing, or some such?