LANSING (AP) – A little-noticed bill that would let more people use Tasers and stun guns in Michigan is awaiting Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s likely signature, though critics hope she wields her veto pen.

The legislation, approved by the state Senate 30-7 last week and passed unanimously by the House in September, would exempt detention facilities and private security officers at some hospitals and malls from a ban against using stun guns. Police officers and others in law enforcement have been able to carry the weapons since 2002.

Stun guns and Tasers – a police favorite because they can be fired from a distance – temporarily disable people with electric shocks and are billed as a safer way to subdue combative suspects. But some question Taser-related deaths and worry the technology is used too routinely, not as a last resort.

“I’m not convinced they’re so benign,” says Sen. Liz Brater, an Ann Arbor Democrat who voted against the bill along with five other Democrats and a Republican. “They’re being presented as if they’re some kind of water pistol or something. That’s not what they are.”

The bill’s sponsor, Republican Rep. Rick Jones of Grand Ledge, responds that Tasers are a safer and better alternative to firing a gun. He says he could even support letting civilians carry Tasers if they have a concealed weapons permit.

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