Vote “NO” on 2

WHY KEEP COLUMBIA FREE CANNOT SUPPORT THE PROPOSED TASER BAN

A local Columbia group has gathered enough signatures to place an proposed ordinance on the November ballot that seeks to ban the use of Tasers in Columbia.

Here is what Columbia voters will see on their ballot in November:

Shall the proposed initiative ordinance pertaining to Tasers and other conducted electrical devices be passed?

The proposed ordinance would make it a Class A misdemeanor for individuals, including police officers, to use or threaten to use Tasers, stun guns or any other conducted electrical device against any person within the city.

Although I agree with the anti-Taser folks when they say that Tasers “can” be lethal, there are many usually non-lethal weapons that can be lethal when misused. A police sidearm, baton, or personal strength can certainly be lethal in the right situation. This may be a legitimate point when examining whether or not to outfit our local police with Tasers, but this ordinance seeks to do more than limit the local police.

This ordinance would make it a crime for any person in Columbia to use, or merely threaten to use, a Taser, even in defense of life, liberty, and/or property. This caveat is, in my opinion, a clear violation of the spirit of the 2nd amendment and certainly a violation of the natural law.

The issue of self-defense has always been an important one for Americans. The choice to use a device to aid in self-defense is a personal decision. What might be the correct choice for one, might not work for another. Some might feel more comfortable with a can of pepper spray. Some might choose a handgun. Some might choose nothing at all. Not allowing citizens, especially women who often feel the need to carry some sort of self-defense device, to choose a Taser for self-defense is a mistake.

Aside from biological or nuclear, there are no weapons that are too dangerous for me to own. Natural law affords me the right to defend my person, liberty, and property against assault by other individuals or tyrannical governments. Suffice it to say that I do not like bans on fully automatic assault weapons any more than bans on Tasers. A just law would ban the use of any weapon to illegally violate the natural rights of any other sovereign individual or citizen. Owning a weapon and using it correctly should never be illegal.

With any weapon, the problem is not with the weapon but with the person using the weapon. Admittedly there are legitimate questions and concerns as far as the use of tasers by police is concerned. Given the
problems and tragedies which have occurred across the country, it is unquestionably appropriate to explore a possible ban or limitation on the use of tasers by law enforcement agents. Nonetheless, allowing more government intrusion into the private lives of individuals, however harmless this intrusion may seem at face value, constitutes an added encroachment upon the rights and autonomy of every Columbia resident.

I urge all Columbia voters to vote “NO” on Proposition 2 on November 2nd.

Mark Flakne and Mitch Richards — Keep Columbia Free

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