The premise behind the SALT gun is right there in the name: it’s a gun that shoots salt, designed as a “Safe ALTernative” to a lethal gun, for people to keep as a home defense weapon that incapacitates but doesn’t kill an attacker. Developing such a weapon is tricky, and funding it is now a challenge too. Yesterday, SALT’s IndieGoGo crowdfunding campaign opened, but after nearly $30,000 in under 24 hours, the project was removed. What, exactly, happened?
First, the project. SALT is a gun, but one that fires a unique type of ammunition. Instead of the cheap and deadly metal bullets common to handguns, SALT uses a proprietary salt, encased in small spherical pellets. According to their maker, these “SALT rounds cause temporary debilitation, including blindness, lung constriction and intense contact irritation, all without permanent harm.” It looks like this:
As planned, these effects hit within seconds but wear away in 15 to 30 minutes after use, hopefully enough time for an alternative resolution to the situation to happen. In appearance, the SALT gun looks like a fairly standard all-black polymer construction pistol. The rounds exit its barrel at over 200 mph, with an accurate range of 150-200 feet. Instead of gunpowder, the rounds are propelled by compressed air from CO2 capsules, much like in paintball guns. When it hits, it bursts into a cloud over 4 feet in diameter, so accuracy doesn’t have to be perfect.
Its gun-like nature create some legal hurdles for potential SALT buyers in a few places in the United States. In the District of Columbia, it has to be registered after purchase. Shipping restrictions make it hard to get SALT to Hawaii. In Massachusetts and New York, people wanting to buy it would have to go through a licensed dealer, of which there are none yet but could be in the future. California law, likely the section prohibiting civilian use of tear gas or tear gas weapons means that SALT cannot be sold or shipped there.
In a statement, Indiegogo said they took the gun down because:
In response, the SALT campaign has set up its own site to crowdfund development and production of the weapon instead. It can be pre-ordered for $279, with an expected retail price of $349. The funding goal is to raise $75,000 so they can ship the product. The ultimate goal is to create a tool that replaces the handgun for self-defense, without endangering lives.