Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Tasers Closer in NJ

Months ago I wrote about a bill (S2572) being pushed in NJ that would arm law officials with tasers. That bill, sponsored by republican Anthony Bucco, never left NJ's Senate Law and Public Safety and Veterans' Affairs Committee.

Now, a new bill, S182 (identical Assembly bill A1290), has cleared that same committee by unanimous vote. This time Bucco's bill has two Democrats as sponsors: committee chair John Girgenti and Brian Stack.

On another NJ taser front,
an investigatory committee created by the Attorney General is still hearing testimony on tasers before recommending the devices. That committee that has already given the blessing (or here) to arming police with less-than-lethal ammunition (rubber bullets, etc.).

Unsurprisingly, the committee has heard from the Taser International's founder, Tom Smith, that being tased is like "hitting your funny bone." I'd bet these 350+ people would disagree with Smith... if they weren't dead.

Providing a small flicker of hope, this article quotes a spokesperson for NJ's Attorney General as stating that the special committee won't give a thumbs-up on tasers until they've read a National Institute of Justice report on tasers (conducted energy devices) due later this month (June, 2008). Like I said, small flicker.

If the Attorney General condones tasers for NJ cops, Bucco's bill, with its new bipartisan support, will sail through the system
and it won't be long before NJ police are as zap-happy as the rest of the country's cops.

Contact information for the NJ Office of the Attorney General is here.