To modify Mae West's famous quote, "Is that a stun gun in your pocket or are you just happy to see me"?

More and more Massachusetts residents are arming themselves with tasers and stun guns since the state's highest court and lawmakers legalized the non-lethal devices for everyday folks. They've been illegal for so long, you may be surprised to hear about this change that was slipped into a "red flag" bill signed by Gov. Charlie Baker after the Supreme Judicial Court ruled that the ban on stun guns was unconstitutional.

Residents who aren't comfortable with carrying a firearm are finding it preferable to defend themselves with electronic weapons. Since July of 2018, more than 1,500 tasers and stun guns have been sold by gun dealers in the state. You still have to get a firearms license, which is laughable, because the lawmakers have classified tasers as handguns. In most states, you can buy them over the counter without any nanny state restrictions or permits. Before now, in the Bay State, only police officers were allowed to use them.

I think tasers and stun guns are menial as personal defense weapons because, with many models, you get only one shot to hit your attacker. If someone wants to make you dead, you need a gun. By the way, the state's "red flag" law also mandates that you store your taser in a "locked container" that can only be opened by the operator; that I find pitiful.

Besides Massachusetts, stun guns are legal in 42 states and in most cases, you have to be 18 years old and not have a felony record.

If you're uneasy with carrying a firearm for self-defense, you may want to look into why stun gun sales are increasing in the commonwealth.

Phil Paleologos is the host of The Phil Paleologos Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @PhilPaleologos. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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