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Saturday, February 02, 2008

Amnesty International concerned by safety implications of taser shotgun

February 1, 2008

Larry Cox, executive director of Amnesty International USA, released the below statement today in response to the introduction of the TASER X12 LLS Mossberg(r) shotgun, which fires an eXtended Range Electronic Projectile (XREP) that can deliver an electrical shock to a target. The XREP, which is not tethered to the gun, can be fired at a distance of up to 65 feet -- approximately double the range of traditional TASERs.

"The electroshock shotgun raises similar unresolved safety questions as traditional TASERs, but introduces new concerns, as well. This weapon should not be introduced into the field before comprehensive, independent medical research on its safety has been completed. Using this shotgun before there is adequate research is putting the cart before the horse -- with public safety the potential loser.

"More than 290 people have died in the United States after being shocked with TASERs. This should be a time to examine why these deaths are happening, not to experiment with newfangled ways to use the technology.

"The XREP's 20-second default shock time -- four times longer than that of the traditional device -- is worrying. Most people who have died after being stunned with regular TASERs were subject to multiple or prolonged shocks.

"This new technology also raises medical questions about how electroshock interacts with the blunt impact of a powerful projectile."

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