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Anne Arundel County legalizes stun guns

Tuesday - 5/7/2013, 3:58pm  ET

WASHINGTON - New restrictions on firearms in Maryland may have sparked an increased interest in stun guns.

On Monday, Anne Arundel County became the latest jurisdiction in Maryland to legalize the use of stun guns by civilians. The state approved them four years ago.

Anne Arundel County Councilman Derek Fink, who sponsored the new county law, says stun guns are designed as a non-lethal form of self-defense that are needed at a time when the state is tightening gun control.

"My intention was just to provide that option [and] give folks the opportunity to still provide self-defense without going as far as having a handgun," he says.

Prince George's and Montgomery counties also allow civilians to own stun guns.

But owners of stun guns should be careful when using their weapons. They are intended solely for self-defense, and aggressive use could land people in jail for up to three years.

In Virginia, such devices are legal statewide for anyone who can legally carry a fire arm. Anyone convicted of a crime can not legally own one, and stun guns are prohibited at schools statewide.

The weapons come with operating instructions, and proponents say it is important to learn how to use them properly.

Some stun guns have to make contact with a person before they can stun them, others shoot out electrical wires that must make contact before they are effective.

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