HONOLULU (KHON2) — Self defense and safety are attracting Hawaii residents to legally owning an electric gun.
“Our music minister at our church had somebody follow him to the church and actually punched him through the window,” said Michael Dinneen, an electric gun owner. “It seems like no place is safe anymore. So at least I’ve some type of protection.”
Check out more news from around Hawaii
Electric guns became legal in the islands on Jan. 1, but it took some time for the counties to issue licenses to dealers. On Oahu, licenses were finally issued in late March.
Experts have said electric guns can retail for up to $450 depending on the model and they must come from registered vendors.
Oahu has 22 registered dealers, while Kauai has two and Maui has one.
One of those dealers is Pax Bello Security Solutions-Hawaii. It’s a training facility that only sells to its students. The demand has not slowed down yet.
“I want to say there’s been dozens and dozens of orders,” said Ed Howard of Pax Bellow Security Solutions-Hawaii.
Since January, Pax Bello has trained 200 students. In order to purchase an electric gun, an individual must be at least 21 years old and have no prior felony convictions. Vendors have to complete a background check and provide training.
“It’s pretty intensive. We do a six-hour class, it covers all the legalities, the uses of force and then there’s also a taser certified trainer that needs to be part of the training,” Howard said.
The law limits the devices to be used for self-defense, defense of another person or protection of property.
“When you pull it out and take the safety off, you tell the person that you have a taser and you’re going to use it to defend yourself,” said Dinneen. “They need to step back and they need to get back and then if they keep coming, then you fire, drop it and get out of there.”
Electric gun owners said with an increase in violent crime, owning the devices gives them an extra layer of security.
Get Hawaii’s latest morning news delivered to your inbox, sign up for News 2 You
“It just kind of gives me a little peace of mind. It’s not something I want to use,” Dinneen said. “It’s going to be a last resort kind of thing.”