Pepper gun serves as new non-lethal weapon for some agencies

DENHAM SPRINGS, LA (WAFB) - One group of law enforcement agents now has a new weapon to use while on patrol.

The Denham Springs City Marshal's Office has decided to do away with the noisy electrical stun guns in favor of pepper spray with a twist.

The pepper gun is enough to stop any person in their tracks. It fires a round of highly concentrated cayenne pepper that flies up to 23 feet. Marshal Jerry Denton said the non-lethal weapons are a perfect fit for his office.

"Number one, you have a lot more control over that particular use of that device than the stun gun and the second and most important thing to a small agency like the cost," Denton explained.

Deputies are trained to shoot first in the chest area, then go for the head. A unit of pepper and goo flies out of the weapon at 450 miles per hour. The difference between this gun and traditional pepper spray is there are no collateral effects. The substance goes where the shooter intends for it to go.

"When it hits them, the autonomic nervous system just shuts their eyes. They may want to fight. They can't see; they can't fight," Denton added.

The deputies are trained to use the guns as they are trained to decide when it's needed.

"Always, the officer wants to try and decelerate and de-escalate a situation and if it gets to that point and he feels like it's getting out of hand, he's going to use departmental policy and the scenario that's going on at that time to determine, 'Do I use this pepper gun?'" said Denton.

None of the deputies has used the pepper spray so far.

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