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Published April 10, 2013, 07:01 PM

Stun gun legislation - does accessibility make you safer?

Stun guns may soon be available to every North Dakotan, even criminals, which has some asking are we really more safe if they're more easily accessible?

Stun guns may soon be available to every North Dakotan, even criminals, which has some asking are we really more safe if they're more easily accessible?

State legislators took steps this week to remove stun guns from the dangerous weapons list. Officers we spoke with today say they aren't too worried about criminals gaining easier access to these devices.

For some North Dakotans, being attacked by a stranger is a very real fear. To protect herself, Janice Schindler says she wants more than pepper spray, but not necessarily a gun.

Janice: "Guns are dangerous and if you need to defend yourself, you don't want to have to kill the person, I mean a stun gun makes a lot more sense."

Grand Forks County Sheriff Bob Rost says the electronic devices can come in handy.

Rost: "If you're attacked it's just something that you can use to fend off your attacker."

But if stun guns are no longer considered a dangerous weapon, will criminals have easier access to them?

Rost: "I think that anything that we have today, criminals can get a hold of."

Janice: "Even if a criminal has one, I'd rather be stunned with a stun gun than to be shot or stabbed."

The Grand Forks Police Department has been using electronic control devices for nearly ten years, but officers still go through annual training. If more citizens gain access to stun guns, officers say they too should be trained.

Michael Ferguson, Grand Forks Police Department: "It becomes a huge liability issue for them to make sure that they're properly trained and they understand the equipment and know how to use it."

If signed by the Governor, the bill would become law in August.

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