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"In science fiction one can say a great many things that are unpalatable, because it's expressed as science fiction you can slip it past their defenses."
- Frederik Pohl

Stunner  
  A non-lethal weapon; typically used like a firearm but only renders its victim unconscious.  

Armament, every first-class operative owns a hand-gun and shells. Most of them carry illegal personal electric stunners.
From Fire-Power, by S.D. Gottesman.
Published by Cosmic Science-Fiction in 1941
Additional resources -

Many readers probably recall this word used by Frank Herbert in Dune:

In the flashing instant Hawat had time to see they were Sardaukar, hard faces set in battle frenzy, that they were unshielded and each carried a knife in one hand, a stunner in the other.

Larry Niven adds one to his copseye surveillance device from Cloak of Anarchy:

For the first time ever, I looked into a copseye. It was impressively simple. I picked out the stunner by its parabolic reflector, the cameras, and a toroidal coil that had to be part of the floater device.

Compare to the Leyden Ball from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1875) by Jules Verne and the electric rifle from Tom Swift and His Electric Rifle (1911) by Victor Appleton.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Fire-Power
  More Ideas and Technology by S.D. Gottesman
  Tech news articles related to Fire-Power
  Tech news articles related to works by S.D. Gottesman

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