TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS – Pro-taser campaign gains momentum (2010-08-21)

Published on August 21 2010 by admin

By Rebecca Bird, Turks & Caicos Weekly News


TCI resident Jack Grever has created a petition calling for the introduction of a controversial new law which will allow residents to carry tasers. I am completely sold on Taser products, Jack said, because I believe in strong self defence but also protecting life. Taser does both. Wants also public access to tasers.

Tasers for TCI campaign gains momentum

CONFRONTED with a frightening increase in violent crime across the Turks and Cacios Islands, one man has made it his mission to help the public protect themselves.

Jack Grever has created a petition calling for the introduction of a controversial new law which will allow residents to carry debilitating electroshock weapons.

He says his campaign Tasers for TCI will help to reduce the use of handguns, prevent vigilantism, and protect the lives of not only victims of crime but criminals as well.

To date he has 178 supporters who say that the self-defence device would provide them with the peace of mind that nothing else could.

A Taser is a hand held weapon that uses electrical current to disrupt voluntary control of muscles.

Once triggered, small compressed nitrogen charges fire two small dart-like electrodes, which stay connected to the main unit by conductive wires.

Someone struck by a Taser will experience stimulation of their sensory and motor nerves, forcing them to violently convulse and fall to the ground for a pre-programmed period of time.

Two years ago Jack, a retired federal law enforcement officer, attempted to bring a Taser onto Providenciales.

Jack told the Weekly News that it was simply to provide peace of mind and protection for himself and his wife at their home in Chalk Sound.

My position and experience shows me that a Taser is the best thing to allow civilians to carry for self defence, he said.

However staff at the Customs Department denied his request stating that the weapon could only be imported if it was approved by the Commissioner of Police.

Jack, a six year Provo resident, decided to meet with Edward Hall. He was surprised to be told that Tasers are categorised as an illegal weapon – but he could alternatively apply for a handgun.

Jack said he found the situation to be odd as he wanted to possess a much less lethal option.

Gordon Wetherell told the Weekly News this week: The Taser, although regarded as less lethal, is still an offensive weapon and under the Firearms Ordinance cannot be legally imported, purchased or possessed by members of the public.

However Jack found out that to date no laws relating specifically to the use of Tasers currently exist in the TCI.

So he took it upon himself to have a detailed law written for the TCI by lawyers in his native USA.

The four pages of text describe what a Taser is, how is should be used, who can apply for one and restrictions involved.

He delivered it to the Attorney General’s office, the Governor’s office and the Commissioner of Police.

But following several unfruitful discussions he failed to get the response he wanted.

So to push things forward, this summer Jack created a petition addressed to Governor Gordon Wetherell asking to allow the public to carry Tasers for personal protection of life and property in the TCI.

To date 178 people have signed the petition and Jack hopes to reach 200 plus signatures within the coming weeks after which authorities will be forced to act.

I am completely sold on Taser products, Jack said, because I believe in strong self defence but also protecting life. Taser does both.
He described the weapon as a more useful self defence tool than pepper spray which can only be used a short range, stun guns which only momentarily shock the attacker or handguns which are restrictive and dangerous.

Since it was developed by NASA researcher Jack Cover in 1974, Taser use has become a controversial topic after it is alleged to have resulted in a number of serious injuries and deaths.

Amnesty International documented more than 334 deaths that occurred after the use of Tasers between 2001 and 2008.

And while they are far less lethal than many other weapons, the UN is concerned that use of Tasers may amount to torture.

However Jack insists that the figures do not tell the whole story, stating that in some cases Tasers were just a contributory factor in the cause of death, while others can be put down to “excited delirium” – a controversial term used to describe deaths due to cocaine toxicity.

He said he is calling for the use of Tasers only by law abiding persons and supports the enforcement of strict training.

All purchasers must complete a police background check and a comprehensive training class before purchase, after which the weapon will be registered to them.

Only registered owners can purchase cartridges to use the device, so if they are stolen they cannot be used repeatedly.

If guns had these kinds of protections, we wouldn’t have a gun problem.

In the United Kingdom Tasers are considered to be “prohibited weapons” under the Firearms Act 1968 and possession is an offence.
The maximum sentence for possession is 10 years in prison and an unlimited fine.

However in the US Taser devices are not considered firearms by the government and can be legally carried without a permit in 43 states.

Jack insists that although the UK bans the public use of Tasers, the situation is very different in the TCI.

In England you see police everywhere you go, but here that is not the case, people need something for their own protection.

The weapon, which is manufactured by Taser International, comes in three models – two designed for police and one for civilians.

The civilian C2 model looks like a flashlight, costs $500 and comes in a number of colours.

It can fire up to 15ft and has a 30 second electrical pulse which will keep the attacker down.

The weapon also has an integrated led light and a powerful laser sighting system.

Once fired the Taser also releases registered confetti which allows police to track the weapon back to its owner.

Andre Lightbourne, of Leeward Marina, who signed Jack’s petition told the Weekly News: I myself am a very peaceful, passive person and believe that any type of violence regardless of whether it is towards or against you should be eradicated.

However because others in society don’t see it that way and have used deadly force in their motives, we ourselves have to take some course of action and using a Taser is to me a very forceful but non-deadly way of protection.

The use of firearms in the hands of responsible owners is okay but when a thing as uncontrollable as human emotion is factored in to the equation we have unnecessary deaths and accidents that could have been avoided.

Karen Whitt, general manager of the Somerset resort, who also signed the petition told the Weekly News she is very passionate about the subject of Tasers.

The right approach is to have an effective and adequate police force which can protect its citizens, she said.

Clearly the government does not have the immediate resources for this, and allowing citizens no defence against criminals is almost a criminal act in itself.

“Tasers are a cost-effective alternative for citizens to improve personal safety and peace of mind.”

Owner of Saltmills restaurant Mark Pankhurst said that he has been robbed and threatened a number of times over the past few years.

“At my home I would keep a Taser close by should we be broken into. It seems the weapon of choice for criminals is usually a knife or a machete and in those cases a Taser would be effective.”
Mike St Louis, of Turtle Cove, said he would use a Taser at home to protect himself and his wife after being robbed numerous times.
Right now, as you are aware, there is an overwhelming amount of crime in the TCI.

“Along with that comes fear and insecurity by law abiding citizens.Our neighbourhood in Turtle Cove pays tens of thousands of dollars a year for private security patrols.This is money out of our own pockets to do the job the police should be doing.As the criminals are obviously not afraid of the police, we, the people, must make them think twice before trying to enter our homes or businesses.”

Another signatory from The Bight, who asked to remain anonymous, told the Weekly News she would carry a Taser with her if she was going to the bank or running an errand alone, particularly after dark. “I’m not comfortable carrying a weapon, like a gun, that would require special training and a permit. A Taser would give me peace of mind, knowing that I’d have a form of protection, in the unlikely event that I would need to use it.”

To view the petition visit www.petitiononline.com/taser/petition.html

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