Acronyms can be a great thing. Otherwise when buying a Taser Gun you'd have to go into your local licensed firearm dealer and ask to purchase a Thomas A. Swift's Electric Rifle. Or when you're leaving the house and making sure you have everything, you'd have to think "did I remember my thomas a swift's electric rifle?"
Sounds ridiculous, but that's exactly what Taser Gun stands for. NASA researcher Jack Cover first proposed development in the late 60's and named the device after his favorite literary character, Tom Swift. His early model required gunpowder to fire which caused it to be considered a firearm.
Around twenty years later, brothers Rick and Tim Smith experienced the shooting death of two friends. This led them to research an alternate means of self-defense, one that was safe for citizens and non-lethal, but would give individuals a fighting chance when confronted with violence. They worked closely with Jack Cover to develop a Taser Gun that was electrically-powered to avoid being classified as a firearm, and by the mid-1990's they had achieved their goal with the release of the Air Taser Gun Model 34000. importance was the "anti-felon identification system," which was the expulsion of numerous small pieces of paper with the Taser Gun's serial number on it. This was intended to prevent criminals from using the device, as a background and criminal check was required to purchase a Taser Gun.
Taser Guns have progressed impressively in a little over a decade. They are now available in various shapes, colors, and with multiple options including a laser sight, LED light, and varying durations of stun. Taser Guns are also able to be used in direct contact with the target if such a situation is deemed more practical than using it from a distance. It should be noted that this method of use does not incapacitate the target in the same way that happens when firing the Taser Gun's wired electrodes; Instead it causes the target pain and is often used as a method of coercion.
There are models available to law enforcement only, with the main difference being that they can be effectively used at a greater distance from the target than civilian models. All Taser Guns deliver a stun of 50,000 volts.
As with any device of this kind, there are proponents and opponents to such technology. Taser Gun-related deaths are constantly being scrutinized by people on both sides of the issue, but there has yet to be solid, indisputable evidence that a Taser Gun was or was not the direct cause of death. The debate will likely rage on as long as the technology exists, but it's also quite possible that as science progresses, new technology will come about that puts an end to the argument about whether Taser Guns are safe.
In the meantime, Taser Guns should rightly be kept under the microscope, just as firearms are closely monitored. Taser Guns should be used only in self-defense, and stiff penalties should apply for misuse. When Jack Covey first envisioned Thomas A Swift's Electric Rifle, surely he was not intending to develop a weapon used to promote violence with reckless abandon. Tim and Rick Smith certainly didn't, rather, they were trying to curb it. Hopefully someday man's conscience will catch up to his intelligence and align for the greater good.