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Businessman helping East Texans feel safe when their handguns aren't around

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Butch McIllwain stands at the corner of 271 and I-20 everyday selling stun guns (Source: KLTV Staff) Butch McIllwain stands at the corner of 271 and I-20 everyday selling stun guns (Source: KLTV Staff)
McIllwain says his number one customers are women (Source: KLTV Staff) McIllwain says his number one customers are women (Source: KLTV Staff)
Many husbands are buying their wives stun guns for protection (Source: KLTV Staff) Many husbands are buying their wives stun guns for protection (Source: KLTV Staff)
TYLER, TX (KLTV) - An East Texas man is making a living for himself at a busy intersection in Tyler, and he's making sure East Texas feel protected even when their handguns aren't around.

Butch McIllwain stands at the corner of U-S 271 and Interstate 20 everyday making hundreds of dollars, and all his revenue comes from small, yet powerful devices.

“Some people say, 'Well I’ve got a gun that, you know, protects me,'" McIllwain said. "I say,  'Well can you carry your gun into all buildings.' If they say no, I say, 'Well this will get you back out to where your gun is.'"

The 72-year-old started his business three years ago. Though he hasn’t been at his current location very long, he says it’s the best spot he’s ever picked. That’s because he draws attention to customers from different states who happen to see him from the interstate. There's also another reason why business has been so good for him.

“About a year ago when the ammunition shortage got so bad I really tripled my business because there were people buying these things to get by until they were able to get to the ammunition," McIllwain said.

McIllwain says although ammunition is back on the shelves, sales remain strong. He says that normally at a gun show, you might find a stun gun for about $25 to $35, but he sells them for $15, and his number one customers happen to be women.

“If you’re afraid or a little uncomfortable carrying a weapon with you, this is something that is a deterrent," McIllwain said. "A lot of women like to go jogging or walk their dog. The sound these make can scare other dogs away."

Some husbands have even stopped by to buy one for their wives.

"I've seen him around about five different times. I finally had cash to stop today," a customer said. "My wife does home visits and I figured it’d be a good source of protection as opposed to carrying a firearm.”

If you're not into pink or looking for one that doesn't look like a stun gun, McIllwain has those, too.

"I bought the flashlight stun gun today," a customer said. "I'm able to carry this in my truck, but I'm not able to carry a pistol due to my company policy."

Local law enforcement says it's legal to possess a stun gun in Texas, but it is up to individual businesses to decide whether or not they will allow the electrical shocking device inside.

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