Among the many non-lethal weapon choices for security officers, batons are often overlooked in favor of something like pepper spray or a taser. However, these weans make excellent defensive tools, especially when your primary goal is to deescalate a tense situation or hold back a perpetrator. It is important to remember, though, that each weapon comes with its own unique set of laws concerning who can wield them and when. This is a short, comprehensive guide for California based security teams interested in investing in batons.
A Basic Overview
Batons, despite their simple appearance, are a heavily restricted weapon in California. This is due to their ability to inflict severe damage in the hands of an untrained professional, especially when they are used on the head, neck and back. When searching for a baton, you may find they can go by a variety of different names, including billies, sandclubs, leaded canes and more. Despite their pseudonyms, the same laws apply. These laws include the banning of selling, possessing, importing and making batons if you do not hold a permit to do so. All of this falls under section 22210 PC of the California Penal Code, as well as section 16950 that has restricted “generally prohibited weapons” since 2012.
Who Qualifies Permit?
Permits for batons are limited to select group of occupations, which include police officers and security guards, but also antiques dealers and forensic lab workers. The permits generally vary slightly for each of these occupations, and the baton itself may only be carried while on the job. Any civilian knowingly carrying a baton, even if they have a permit for work hours, risks committing a criminal offense. The severity of the offense will be decided by a judge, and can be either a misdemeanor or a felony. Both of these convictions could end in either jail time or a hefty fine. The BSIS grants permits to anyone who has successfully completed a training course through a qualified source.
Why Use a Baton?
Believe it or not, before guns were common, the baton was considered an extremely violent weapon. This is due to several factors, including its ability to be repeatedly used to violently subdue someone without them fighting back. For this reason, classic bat-like batons are much less common nowadays. Instead, you are far more likely to find yourself using an expandable steel baton or a stun baton. The expandable baton is portable, and can rapidly expand from around 9 inches to nearly two feet, knocking an attacker back. Stun batons are electrified, acting as a sort of long taser. Both of these weapons require extensive training to be used correctly under duress.
If your team is interested in implementing batons, it’s important to do your research and obtain a permit before even purchasing a weapon. Understanding the capability of this tool is key to using it safely and effectively, to protect yourself and others.
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