The phrase "a stunning woman'' is about to take on a whole new meaning.
Taser International Inc. has released its latest civilian-aimed product: the Taser C2. The smaller, lighter and definitely more fashionable C2 fits inside a woman's purse and comes in metallic pink as well as powder blue and black. Call it the Lady Taser.
Taser spokesman Steven Tuttle said the C2 is a more discreet version of previous models and touts its users' ability to "pack heat" without looking as if they are.
"When you're going out to a nightclub or you have the device clipped onto your belt at a business meeting, you don't want to look like Dirty Harry," Tuttle told ABC News.
The C2 model is the smallest Taser yet, and looks something like an electric razor. It's effective anywhere on the body within 15 feet of the target, which Tuttle said should make it easier to "stop a threat under pressure."
The new design and trendy colors seem to appeal to women -- the metallic pink C2 has already sold out in Glensdale, Ariz., where the company is headquartered.
The device uses technology which, in the simplest sense, prohibits the brain from sending the body a signal to move by temporarily overriding the nervous system and taking over muscular control. Its efficacy cannot be affected by the target's weight, concentration, or state of intoxication.
Taser stun guns were first introduced back in 1974, but in recent years they have been popular among police forces nationwide because, many law enforcement officials say, they are a safer way to subdue violent, intoxicated or out-of-control suspects. Thousands of police departments across the nation now arm their cops with Tasers.
Nevertheless, wrongful death lawsuits have been filed against Taser nationwide by the relatives of victims who say their loved ones died after they were zapped by the company's stun guns. The company has vigorously defended the lawsuits and a built a strong marketing and public relations machine to combat the notion that the devices are dangerous.
The Taser stun gun, like any weapon, has the potential for misuse. Seventy-five-year-old Margaret Kembrell of South Carolina was reportedly stunned by a cop after refusing to leave a nursing home where she'd gone to visit a friend. Children as young as 6 years old have reportedly been Tasered by seemingly overzealous security officials.
Stun and Run
Kathy Hedlund, survivor of an assault that woke her in the middle of the night, alone in her house with no other weapon "other than pure determination and whatever strength she had," now keeps a Taser waiting snugly in her purse, next to the chewing gum and credit cards, she told ABC News.
She said that after the attack she stashed firearms around the house in spots as inconspicuous as between the couch cushions. She even slept with a .38 caliber pistol underneath her pillow but would go to sleep thinking, 'Do I really want to kill somebody?' Hedlung said the Taser C2 was the ideal solution to her problem.
"Because what's the other option," she asked: "You just have to take it?"
But Karen Amicker, a spokeswoman for the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault, told ABC News she believes that protection is not what the Taser -- or any weapon marketed as a defensive device -- provides. She said devices of any kind lead women into a false sense of security, especially because the majority of sexual assaults are perpetrated by someone close to the victim. She doubts that devices of any sort will deter assault.
Nonetheless, Hedlung said she feels safer with a stun-and-run.
"The thing is that with a gun, you have to be close, you have to be right on aim, you're risking the people around you," said Hedlund. "With the Taser, it's just click and shoot. Thirty seconds and a 15-foot range -- you can be long gone."