If This Non-Lethal Gun Could Reduce Gun Violence, Should Indiegogo Be Taking It Down?

The Salt lets you shoot someone with pepper-spray projectile.

If This Non-Lethal Gun Could Reduce Gun Violence, Should Indiegogo Be Taking It Down?

The Salt handgun looks like any handgun (a big one, specifically), and is certainly imposing enough to cause intruders to run away fast. But its effect to that intruder, while temporarily crippling and extremely irksome, won’t be permanently paralyzing. That’s because the Salt is a non-lethal gun–an alternative to a traditional dangerous-to-all firearm.


“Salt, a new Chicago-based company whose mission is to keep American households safe through firearm alternatives, today announced the launch of its first completely redesigned gun of the same name,” said the press release this week.

Salt was launched by two Chicago neighbors, Adam Kennedy and Andy McIntosh. They told CNN they’d come up with the idea for their wives: Both traveled a lot and didn’t want to leave their families defenseless. “But their wives didn’t want guns in the house. So they came up with Salt.”

The gun costs $300 and is powered by CO2 cartridges. The pellets are a mixture of powered chemicals, including a “ghost pepper extract.” On impact, Kennedy compares the effect to breaking an egg, and symptoms to the equivalent of an asthma attack. Nobody gets killed, including family members who stumble across the device.

Then Indiegogo removed the gun from the site within 24 hours. The company said in a statement:

“The Salt campaign has been removed because it did not comply with Indiegogo’s Terms of Use. Our Terms prohibit the offering of “any weapons, ammunition and related accessories” as perks. The Salt campaign was offering the product as a perk. All pledged contributions will be refunded to the contributors.”

Indiegogo spokesperson John Eddy says the campaign was picked up by the Indiegogo’s three-tier obscenity-detection system: its “trust & safety” team, algorithms the comb the pages of new campaigns, and feedback from users.

Of course, it would be better if we had fewer guns, period, whether they fire the like-an-asthma-attack inducing projectiles or the death-inducing bullets–and we don’t know if Salt is actually non-lethal (as many “non-lethal guns” tend not to be). But should Indiegogo take down something that could protect people in the name of social protection? If Salt is an alternative to handguns that kill people, maybe we should support products like Salt. And maybe Indiegogo should too.

About the author

Ben Schiller is a New York staff writer for Fast Company. Previously, he edited a European management magazine and was a reporter in San Francisco, Prague, and Brussels.