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Last Updated: Monday, 8 January 2007, 12:06 GMT
Taser launches 'stylish' stun gun
The new taser gun
The new gun comes in a number of colours and fits in a handbag
US stun gun maker Taser is unveiling a sleeker version of its controversial weapon aimed at safety and fashion conscious members of the public.

Available in pink, blue, silver and black, the gun fits into a handbag like a mobile phone. It will be launched at a Las Vegas electronics fair on Monday.

Taser guns temporarily incapacitate a target with up to 50,000 volts.

Critics have linked their use to dozens of deaths, but Taser says they save lives by reducing the use of firearms.

The gun has however been at the centre of fresh controversy this weekend over the death of a man in Florida after police used a Taser to subdue him.

Its use by police in the UK has also sparked debate. Late last year a man in the north of the country died three days after being shot with a Taser.

'Consumer friendly'

The new device is likely to be significantly cheaper than the current, larger civilian model - which sells for about $1,000 (520).

The company has not yet revealed exactly how many volts it will deliver.

Taser has however said that it will be sold inert, and activated after the purchaser takes part in an online background check.

The guns are not classified as firearms by the US government and so most states do not require bearers to carry a permit.

They shoot darts that pierce the skin and deliver a paralysing jolt of electricity.

"The new device brings our life-saving technology into a new, consumer friendly form factor designed to provide a safer, effective means of personal protection," said Taser's chairman, Tom Smith.

Human rights group Amnesty International has long campaigned against the use of Tasers, arguing they have been linked to more than 150 deaths in the US and Canada since 2001.

See a stun gun in action

Taser controversy refuses to die
30 Jun 05 |  Americas
Sales shock at stun gun producer
01 Apr 05 |  Business
Controls urged on 'lethal' Tasers
30 Nov 04 |  UK Politics
Stun gun used in arrest
22 Apr 04 |  North East Wales

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