Booher, Casperson introduce public safety bills

LANSING— Sens. Darwin Booher and Tom Casperson on Wednesday introduced public safety legislation that would allow Concealed Pistol License (CPL) holders to carry a non-lethal Taser into a no-carry zone, such as a school or day care center.

“Allowing Tasers in no-carry zones will provide a non-lethal method to protect oneself in areas where there is presently no other way to effectively defend oneself and our children,” said Booher, R-Evart. “This is about allowing people to use new technologies to keep our children and the public safe.” 

Booher sponsored this legislation after reading a letter to the editor from a constituent who recommended allowing Tasers in schools in the aftermath of the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. 

“Constituents often see sensible solutions to profound problems if we take the time to listen,” Booher said. “Not only is this a practical solution, but a very necessary solution in light of the horrific acts that continue to take place. As the headlines remind us far too often, we cannot sit idly by or rely on the recommendations of some workgroup. This measure offers a real opportunity for defense when currently no other means are available.”

Senate Bills 572 and 573 would allow a device that uses electro-muscular disruption technology, such as a Taser, to be carried in the no-carry zones outlined in state law. The bills build upon Public Acts 122-124 of 2012, which permit CPL holders to possess an electro-muscular disruption device, such as a Taser, for self-defense purposes, and also require authorized dealers to provide training to CPL holders on the use and risks of Tasers.

“Tasers can only be used for self-defense, and under this reform, they could only be carried into a no-carry zone by someone licensed to carry a concealed pistol,” said Casperson, R-Escanaba. “Individuals with CPL permits have proven that they respect the law and the responsibility that comes with the permission to carry weapons. They will have undergone training for concealed pistols as well as extra training on the use, effects and risks of using a Taser. The sincere gravity with which CPL holders have treated this responsibility is shown by the compliance rate since Michigan expanded the right to carry a concealed weapon to law-abiding citizens 12 years ago. Consequently, expansion of that right in this way is warranted, necessary and sensible.”

The lawmakers noted that individuals using a Taser for anything other than self-defense are subject to prosecution under Michigan law, including a four-year felony offense.

The bills have been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee for consideration.