Some Dallas police officers will soon be toting “sponge guns,” weapons aimed at reducing the chances of a deadly officer-involved shooting.
Police booster group Safer Dallas Better Dallas announced Thursday that it plans to raise $250,000 to help pay for more than 100 launchers that shoot sponge rounds. The less-lethal weapons are meant to disarm and incapacitate someone from up to 100 feet away, police officials told the Dallas Morning News.
Being hit with one of the sponge-tipped bullets is much like being pinged with a baseball or hockey puck. The guns are designed to cause enough pain on impact to force a person to drop a weapon or to the ground without breaking the skin, making it safer for police officers to approach.
The goal is to put as much space as possible between responding officers and a suspect who might be holding a weapon, such as a knife or screwdriver. Other less-lethal weapons, like Tasers, require that officers be within 21 feet of a person, making it more likely that an officer might have to use a gun.