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Friday, December 01, 2023

After biking across America by herself this summer, Van Truong learned the significance of self defense. 

Throughout her trip, the 19-year-old UF Spanish and anthropology sophomore was sponsored by Smart Stun, a self-defense retail company. In light of recent attacks on and near campus, Truong reached out to the company again to see what they could do.

“I felt safer biking and hitch-hiking for 83 days by myself than when I’m on campus at night and trying to get on the bus,” she said.

The New Hampshire-based company responded and is offering UF students three Barracuda BC-37 stun guns online for $99.95, when they are typically $54.95 each. Students can receive the discount by typing “Protect the University of Florida” in the comment box.

Smart Stun’s owner and president Nate Sprague said the deal will be available through Thanksgiving.

“Van expressed concern to me, and I had gotten some calls from parents of students at UF,” Sprague said. “I thought it would be a good way to help out and offer a chance for some extra protection.”

Stun guns are only allowed on campus with a concealed weapons permit, said UF police spokesman Maj. Brad Barber. Pepper spray is allowed.

“Our focus is to provide information and safety considerations that people can use and rely upon to help avoid incidences and locations where they may find themselves to be victims of crime,” Barber said.

Manali Patel, a 20-year-old UF applied physiology and kinesiology senior, said she walks with groups of four or five people when it’s dark now.

“My friends and I carry pepper spray, but if I knew I’d be on campus at night I think having a stun gun would help me feel a lot safer,” Patel said. “I think it’s cool that they’re doing this deal. I have two other roommates so it would be great for us.”

[A version of this story ran on page 4 on 9/11/2014 under the headline "Company discounts stun guns "]

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