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Sweeping stun guns to target crowds

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by LiquidTension, Jun 17, 2004.

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  1. LiquidTension

    LiquidTension Member

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    http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns99996014

    Weapons that can incapacitate crowds of people by sweeping a lightning-like beam of electricity across them are being readied for sale to military and police forces in the US and Europe.

    At present, commercial stun guns target one person at a time, and work only at close quarters. The new breed of non-lethal weapons can be used on many people at once and operate over far greater distances.

    But human rights groups are appalled by the fact that no independent safety tests have been carried out, and by their potential for indiscriminate use.

    The weapons are designed to address the perceived shortcomings of the Taser, the electric-shock gun already used by 4000 police departments in the US and undergoing trials with some police forces in the UK.

    It hits the victim with two darts that trail current-carrying wires, which limit its range to a maximum of seven metres (see graphic). As a single shot, short-range weapon, the Taser is of little use in crowd control. And Tasers have no effect on vehicles.


    Ionised gas


    These limitations are beginning to be overcome. Engineers working for the US Department of Defense's research division, DARPA, and defence companies in Europe have been working out how to create an electrically conductive path between a gun and a target without using wires.

    A weapon under development by Rheinmetall, based in Dorf, Germany, creates a conducting channel by using a small explosive charge to squirt a stream of tiny conductive fibres through the air at the victim (New Scientist print edition, 24 May 2003).

    Meanwhile, Xtreme Alternative Defense Systems (XADS), based in Anderson, Indiana, will be one of the first companies to market another type of wireless weapon. Instead of using fibres, the $9000 Close Quarters Shock Rifle projects an ionised gas, or plasma, towards the target, producing a conducting channel. It will also interfere with electronic ignition systems and stop vehicles.

    "We will be able to fire a stream of electricity like water out of a hose at one or many targets in a single sweep," claims XADS president Peter Bitar.


    Solid-state lasers


    The gun has been designed for the US Marine Corps to use for crowd control and security purposes and is due out in 2005. It is based on early, unwieldy technology and has a range of only three metres, but an operator can debilitate multiple targets by sweeping it across them for "as long as there is an input power source," says Bitar.

    XADS is also planning a more advanced weapon which it hopes will have a range of 100 metres or more. Instead of firing ionised gas, it will probably use a powerful laser to ionise the air itself. The idea has been around for decades, says LaVerne Schlie, a laser expert at the US Air Force Research Lab in Kirtland, New Mexico. It has only become practical with advances in high-power solid-state lasers.

    "Before, it took a laser about the size of two trucks," says Schlie. "Now we can do it with something that fits on a tabletop."

    The laser pulse must be very intense, but can be brief. So the makers of the weapons plan to use a UV laser to fire a 5-joule pulse lasting just 0.4 picoseconds - equating to a momentary power of more than 10 million megawatts.

    This intense pulse - which is said not to harm the eyes - ionises the air, producing long, thread-like filaments of glowing plasma that can be sustained by repeating the pulse every few milliseconds. This plasma channel is then used to deliver a shock to the victims similar to a Taser's 50,000-volt, 26-watt shock.

    Instrument of torture

    HSV Technologies of San Diego, California is also working on stun and vehicle-stopping shock weapons with ranges of over 100 metres. And another company, Ionatron of Tuscon, Arizona, is due to supply a prototype wireless vehicle-mounted weapon to the US Department of Defense by the end of 2004.

    But the advent of wireless stun weapons has horrified human rights groups. Robin Coupland of the Red Cross says they risk becoming a new instrument of torture. And Brian Wood of Amnesty International says the long-range stun guns could "inflict pain and other suffering on innocent bystanders".

    And there are safety concerns. Of the 30,000 times US police officers have fired Tasers, in 40 instances people stunned by them later died. The deaths have been attributed to factors such as overdoses of drugs and alcohol, or fighting with officers, rather than the electric shock.

    In a statement, Taser International chief Rick Smith said: "In every single case the medical examiner has attributed the direct cause of death to causes other than the Taser." Amnesty is not convinced, however, and wants an independent study of the effects of all existing and emerging electric-shock weapons.


    David Hambling

    ==================================================

    Is anyone else concerned about the implications of this?
     
  2. GunnySkox

    GunnySkox Member

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    Oh, man, I want a plasma rifle RIGHT NOW.

    :D :D :D

    ~Slam_Fire
    "I support the ban on plastic guns. I also support the bans on gauss pistols and terrawatt-range laser rifles." ~My brother.
     
  3. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

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    Sun rises in east.
     
  4. synoptic

    synoptic Member

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    hmmm... anyone ever see that mythbusters where they fired a .22 round using the electricity from a car battery? This may be a non-issue as i'm ignorant about the physics of electricity, but what happens when a CHL holder is in that crowd that gets stunned? Would it be enough electricity to cause a small caliber pistol round to fire?

    On a more feasible note, what about the non-violent crowd that has gathered around the crowd that needs stunned? Especially in a situation where the air is more suceptable to ionization than in their test conditions?

    It seems like a very interesting technology though, and could lead to the production of really useful weapons and devices.
     
  5. TallPine

    TallPine Member

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    I'm concerned about any govt that thinks it could need something like this.
     
  6. LiquidTension

    LiquidTension Member

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    TallPine - that's pretty much what I was thinking.
     
  7. Valkman

    Valkman Member

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    Ahh, this is great. I can see them deploying these on the Strip during New Years instead of the snipers they used last year. :scrutiny:

    I'm not real keen on being in big crowds, but knowing there were snipers deployed on roofs made it so there was no way I'd go. They sure as hell aren't going to stop any terrorism, but what happens if someone spots my gun and reports it? That's all I need is a few mis-communications and a bullet to the head. :uhoh:
     
  8. Shovelhead

    Shovelhead Member

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    My tin foil hat will protect me.............:neener:
     
  9. Bainx

    Bainx member

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    But, the Gubment will use it in a very loving way! Too bad if your wife and kids happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and get a 'treatment'. Everything has changed since 9-11 you know!;)
     
  10. Nick1911

    Nick1911 Member

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    I'm concerned that I won't be able to buy one... :(

    You know that this technology is going to be LE\Military only

    Nick
     
  11. KadicDeshi

    KadicDeshi Member

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    Synoptic,

    In most cases, this would definitely be a non-issue. Cartridges are usually stored in metal containers (magazines, cylinders) and any electromagnetic field will be converted to current in the surrounding metal. Even if the cartridges were loose, there is a concept called skin depth in which the vast majority of e-m power is transferred along metal in only the first few fractions of a centimeter (usually in the nanometer range). This would not be conducive to heating a casing sufficiently to cause discharge, especially at ranges out to 100 meters. The power of e-m radiation drops off exponentially. (Double the distance, quarter the power, etc.)

    Okay, I hope I haven't shamed my E-M Field theory professor with that explaination.

    Barrett
     
  12. NMshooter

    NMshooter Member

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    Better than getting cooked by Active Denial!

    "...ohh, that poor sheep...":evil:
     
  13. Mr. Kook

    Mr. Kook Member

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    Employed as a less than lethal weapon, much as a tazer, these devices have a definite application. I can see these things coming in very handy should there be another LA style riot. The police would be able to incapacitate a large number of the rioters without killing them.

    I would expect these to be purchasable by your average joe as an alternative to pepper spray or .45ACP.

    Like any technology or tool these do have the potential for abuse. So long as the people have the power to resist (i.e. real guns) that won't be a significant problem.

    In the right circumstances these devices will save lives, and prevent the deaths of criminals.

    Like many of you I don't feel particularly sorry for the badguys, but I do see the point in not killing unnecessarily.

    Oh, one other thing, hostage situations. They can now just shoot the hostage and criminal both without much fear of the hostage dying.
     
  14. LiquidTension

    LiquidTension Member

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    Think one of these would set off some of that electronic ignition ammo for the Rem 700 Etronix?
     
  15. Dionysusigma

    Dionysusigma Member

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    Goodness, for a minute there I thought it read "Sweeping Sten guns to target crowds" :eek:

    Guess that's what too much caffeine and too little sleep do to a mind... :scrutiny:
     
  16. CrudeGT

    CrudeGT Member

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    Plasma rifles? stun guns that ionize air?

    "Away team, set tasers to stun"
    "Yes capt. Kirk"

    I'm sorry but thanks to futuristic movies, there is a point in our exploratory research that just gets very hokey.

    On the flip side, I hope I never get hit by one of those things. And let's hope they are NOT sold they same way pepper spray or stun guns are sold. Imagine a person being able to buy one of these, they can then walk into any store, knock everyone out and walk out with anything. granted iut is just a tool, but pepper spray and stun guns are intended to be used on one individual, not large crowds. This raises the stakes A LOT. IMHO.
     
  17. Mr. Kook

    Mr. Kook Member

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    CrudeGT the situation you described where a person could sweep a store, knock everybody out, and then steal whatever they want is extremely possible today, only using the tools currently available those in the store would be dead instead of momentarily incapacitated.
     
  18. ShaiVong

    ShaiVong Member

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    Hrm. I know a couple of basic things about EM theory..

    I know that you can pass a current quite easily through air. One thing a teacher liked to show was a fairly large inductor & power supply with a knife switch in the circuit. Once you pulled that switch, the inductor would produce (theoretically) whatever voltage was required to keep the current constant, and he could draw a nice huge arc with the switch a few inches long.

    I don't know about the 22 shell. Its supposed to stun, which means very very low currents at tuned frequencies (3mA will kill most grown men).

    Hence, very large voltages (like 500KV advertised) with very low current sources. It would take more than a few milliamps to heat a primer or powder enough to ignite, and I think that whatever current source is used for stunning would max before that was reached.

    Like somebody said before, you have the whole skin effect and eddy currents.. Because we know that Pin=Pout + Efficency losses, that EM loading would be transmitted directly to whatever source is providing it (like a generator that bogs down when you draw lots of power.. The CEMF (Counter Electromotive Force) in an AC motor opposes the armatures movement because of Lentz (Lenz?) Law of induction producing opposing EM flux flow and all that gobbledegook.

    A DC battery has low voltage, but with the small resistance offered by a metalic cartridge, it will pump all the electrons you could possibly want (100's of Amps). More than enough to fire a .22, or conversely melt a wrench.
     
  19. Jim K

    Jim K Member.

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    Oh, nuts," says Officer Klutz, as he accidentally hits the "Fire" button on the newly-issued Planet Buster.

    Jim
     
  20. mfree

    mfree Member

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    When Mythbusters fired a .22 shell using a car battery, they used it as a fuse in a short circuit.... it got probably a couple hundred watts passed through it.

    It fired because it was just short of melting the casing to the bullet. You can turn an errant crescent wrench red-hot if you drop it across the poles of an automotive 12v battery.

    There's not nearly, and never will be enough current passing out of one of these devices to cause a round to fire. If there were, you'd be seeing people turning into huge head to toe blisters and catching fire first. That's not exactly "less than lethal".

    As for the science behind the ionization part, a UV laser ionizes a path through the air to the target.... that path is now almost as good as a copper wire for the voltages involved, so the target gets a good zap. It's just a taser gun with a longer, invisible, instant reach.
     
  21. CrudeGT

    CrudeGT Member

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    MR Kook wrote


    I guess that is very true. A person could walk into a store and shoot everyone than rob the place.

    My feeling is this, I am under the impression that most robbers, even armed robbers do not want to kill anyone. They only want to threaten, get the goods, and leave. This new device would enable the robber to knock everyone unconscious, get the goods without the need of threatening and leave, without ever having to worry about actually killing someone. I think it would make crimes like that much easier than current weapons/tools at the robbers use. I do not want to come off as sounding like a fienstein or anything, but I think this bridges the gap for criminals who do not want to push their luck by becoming murders, and I think a large majority of petty criminals fit into this category.
     
  22. Luckyorwhat

    Luckyorwhat member

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    I love how we work so hard to spread democracy to other countries, while neutralizing any sign of public discontentment in our own. One has no need to make a case for how likely it is that governments, and police (merely the executives of legislative orders) to abuse their herds, err populaces.

    From Red Square to Tianemin Square to Vancouver abuse of legitimate protesters happens everywhere, every time. Leaders are illegally abducted before rallys begin, security perimiters are defined at moments notices, irreverant rules and regulations pop up to ban mass assemblies in cities...

    It currently takes less than 10 seconds between a nice Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer introducing himself, asking you to leave, and then opening fire with non-lethal weapons. Do not kid yourselves into believing that the type of weapons could not be switched, history speaks strongly against you.

    I fully intend to exercise my right to protest, I am quite aware of the rules and regulations in my town, but I feel I cannot win if I do show up. Cameras are allowed to record hooligans breaking windows, but when the protesters bring their own cameras to film hooligans in Police Uniforms acting badly, the cameras are taken or broken. Got a problem with that? Go file a complaint at your local police station.

    Lastly, but not least, let us not forget that the West is looked upon to set the example for civility, the bar for modern human behavior. When you stun a protest in Washington you can rest assured that an MG will open up on a protest in Sri Lanka, just following your lead. For the love of God and humanity let us set a good example, as attacking protesters can be the first shot fired in insurrection.
     
  23. flatrock

    flatrock Member

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    Let's consider the following situations...

    Riots on college campuses after their teams win a big game.

    Riots caused by "protesters" who don't like the World Trade Orginization, or whatever they are protesting at the moment.

    Riots in poor neighborhoods whenever they feel someone from their neighborhood got screwed by the police, courts, whatever.


    There are a lot of situations where I can see this preventing a lot of innocent people from being seriously harmed.

    I wonder how this effects electonics in the area being swept? Is this something that could be used as part of a home security system? Could you hit a button from your safe room and disable intruders in a specific room of your house? Would you have to replace your computer / stereo / xbox / security camera after using it?

    Is this something that will be available to the public? While I carry a gun for self defense the last thing I want to have to do is kill someone. I don't want to spend the rest of my life second guessing if there was some other way to resolve the situation. I don't want to deal with defending myself agains a murder charge for defending myself. I don't want to deal with a wrongful death lawsuit. If there were an effective, non-lethal alternative I'd be interested in using it.

    On the other hand I am concerned that it might effect our right to keep and bear arms. I'm sure there would be a lot of pressure to outlaw private ownership of handguns if a non-lethal alternative were available to civilians. I'm definately not willing to give up my right to keep and bear arms even though I see the value of a non-lethal alternative.
     
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