|COATESVILLE, Pa. - "Is this safe for teenagers?" Iesha Robles asked. The single mom of three was shopping for a stunning new accessory for her handbag -- a Taser. |
"Every morning, I come out about 6:30, 7 o'clock, and sometimes it's dark. I am a single momand I get in and out of the car with kids," she said.
Robles works at a shop that sells Tasers and is part of a growing group of women buying them.
"I want something quick that I can pull out of my purse in case I need it," she said.
Traditionally, Taser stun guns have been a weapon police use.
But now the company that makes the device is targeting their new product line toward civilians, especially women like Robles.
With catchy colors like pink, blue and metallic, they're generating a lot of buzz.
"It's nice to know that there is something out there for women other than guns ... and the color, it grabs everyone's eye," Robles said.
TI's clear Taser is marking its latest product toward women. Its latest device is leopard skin.
"And you can do it form this far away?" asked NBC 10's Kristen Welker.
"Yes, zero to 15 feet," answered James Witmer, the marketing manager at Witmer Associates Inc. in Coatesville.
They sell police and fire gear and now Tasers, too. Witmer said the gadget, when used properly, can knock an attacker off his or her feet and give a victim a chance to escape.
"Enough attacks at malls or shopping centers. Women want to be safe, and they're concerned. And, actually, we're seeing husbands who are concerned about their wives as well, and they're coming in and buying them," Witmer said. "Actually, some of our best customers have been husbands buying the pink Tasers."
"Treat it as a lethal weapon," said Coatesville Police Chief William Matthews.
Matthews warned that Tasers can be more than destabilizing. He said they can be deadly for people with weak hearts and the very young.
"It can be devastating if a child gets a hold of it, shoots himself or herself, or someone else," Matthews said.
He pointed out that, unlike some guns, Tasers do not have the same type of childproof safety lock. Plus, he said if you Taser the wrong person or seriously injure someone, you could face assault charges.
His advice is to always keep your Taser out of the reach of children and to get educated.
"Organizations who train people for use of firearms in general have Taser training classes, as well," Matthews said.
But Robles said she feels more comfortable having a Taser in her house than a gun, and she said she will be careful not to let it get into the hands of her children.
She said she considers it a small addition that will give her a lot of relief.
"You'll just feel safer. If there's someone there, it's accessible in my purse. I can just grab it. It's easy to use," she said.
Tasers cost about $350 dollars. They are not legal everywhere. For example, you cannot use a Taser in Philadelphia. Check with your local law enforcement agency before purchasing one, Welker reported.
For more on the rules about using Tasers, click here.