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Friday, November 26, 2004

Taser falls on New York Times report

November 26, 2004
By Jim Jelter, CBS MarketWatch.com

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS.MW) -- Shares of stun-gun maker Taser International tumbled Friday, hit by a New York Times report that raised new safety concerns about the company's main product line. The article in the New York Times, citing unpublished results of Air Force Research Laboratory tests, adds to a growing body of complaints over the use and safety of Taser's stun guns. According to the paper, the Air Force said at a symposium last week that Taser stun guns may be dangerous and require further testing. The Air Force's comments fly in the face of a recent federal study that called Taser's products "generally safe and effective." Company executives could not be reached for comment. Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Taser markets its guns as nonlethal self-protection devices, with law enforcement agencies and security companies making up its biggest customer base. According to the company, its products send a nonlethal jolt of electricity to subdue the target body. But there has been a rash of complaints in recent months blaming Taser stun guns for accidental injuries, raising the specter of debilitating lawsuits. Taser shares have shed about 13 percent of their value in just the past two weeks.

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