Taser to Increase Stun Gun's Power: NY Times
Reuters | January 22, 2005
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Stun gun maker Taser International Inc., responding to a news report that its newest weapon failed to subdue some suspects, said on Friday it is providing software that lets stun guns fire at full power for a longer period.
The New York Times reported on Friday that Taser warned police departments that some suspects hit by its newest electric stun gun "were able to gain partial mobility" while being shocked. The newspaper, citing a bulletin sent by Taser to police departments, said the company told police it would increase the power of the X26 by about 14 percent to make the gun more effective.
Late on Friday, the company issued a statement denying that it had introduced a new model or boosted the power output. Rather, Taser said it was providing software that lets the X26 maintain full power for five seconds of discharge. Prior versions delivered full power for two seconds, then stepped down.
Taser, based in Scottsdale, Arizona, said existing X26 weapons can be upgraded by installing new batteries that are loaded with they new software. The statement did not comment on the report's claims that the weapons had failed to subdue suspects.
The newspaper quoted a Taser spokesman, Steve Tuttle, as saying the change did not mean the weapon was unsafe or did not work. Taser says its guns are successful about 95 percent of the time, although an independent study by the Defense Department found a much lower rate of effectiveness, the newspaper said.
The company's weapons look like pistols and fire electrified barbs that are connected to the gun by insulated copper wires up to 25 feet long, hitting suspects with a powerful electric shock that lasts at least five seconds, the article said.
More than 100,000 police officers nationwide carry the weapons, and the newspaper said the company began selling a version of the X26 to civilians last fall.
Taser currently faces a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission investigation into its public statements and shareholder lawsuits claiming the company underplayed the dangers of its weapons to inflate its stock price.
Last week, a California lawmaker said he would introduce a bill to collect data on the use of Taser's stun-guns and may move to sharply restrict their use.