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Last Updated: Friday, 1 April, 2005, 21:56 GMT 22:56 UK
Sales shock at stun gun producer
Taser stun gun
Life saver or death risk?
Shares of Taser International, the US company that makes stun guns, have tumbled in New York after it warned that sales would miss analyst targets.

It blamed the dip on concerns about the safety of its products and criticism from human rights group Amnesty.

Taser called the allegations "erroneous and misleading".

Shares fell 13% to $10.42 after it said sales would be $10m (5.3m) in the three months ending 31 March - the market expected a figure close to $14m.

Zapped

Taser's stock has lost more than 60% of its value in the first quarter of this year, wiping $1.4bn off its market value.

"Significant adverse publicity in the first quarter has caused what we believe to be a temporary disruption in our sales pipeline," said Taser chief executive Rick Smith.

Mr Smith went on to say that a number of reports carried out by agencies including the UK Home Office showed that Taser products, "while not risk free, are generally safe".

British firearms officers in a demonstration of the Taser gun
We are disheartened at Amnesty's rhetoric and continued misrepresentation of the facts
Rick Smith, Taser CEO

Taser have been trialled and welcomed by police forces across the world, many of which have been looking for a weapon that is less lethal than a firearm.

Amnesty has called for the stun guns, which administer a high voltage shock of electricity that incapacitates a person, to be treated as "potentially lethal weapons".

The lobby group says that Taser guns have been linked to 70 deaths in the US and should only be used in extreme cases.

"We are disheartened at Amnesty's rhetoric and continued misrepresentation of the facts regarding Taser devices," Mr Smith said.

The company said on Wednesday that an independent study had found its guns are "relatively safe".

However, in its report the Potomac Institute added that it "strongly recommends that additional research be conducted at the organism, organ, tissue, and cell levels" so it could better understand the effects of the stun guns.


SEE ALSO:
Taser used to arrest 'armed' man
29 Mar 05 |  Shropshire
Firearms officers to use Tasers
28 Feb 05 |  West Midlands
Controls urged on 'lethal' Tasers
30 Nov 04 |  UK Election 2005
How the stun gun works
01 Aug 01 |  UK News


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