(Phoenix, Ariz. - Dec. 22, 2005) - Attorney General Terry Goddard today said Taser International has responded positively to his concerns that consumers might misunderstand the risks associated with the company's stun guns. The company has made many changes to qualify its safety claims and clarify product warnings.
The Attorney General's Office opened an inquiry last January that focused on Taser's safety claims. Company executives cooperated, and discussions with them led to an agreement that changes would be made to the company's Web site and other marketing materials. The inquiry did not rise to the level of a full investigation and is no longer active.
"I am encouraged that the company has made these changes voluntarily, and I appreciate the willingness to work with my office to be clear and accurate with consumers," Goddard said. "Questions remain, however, about the appropriate use of Tasers in some situations, which we will continue to monitor."
Taser, based in Scottsdale, markets a "Citizen" model of its stun gun directly to consumers. A different model is sold to law enforcement agencies.
One major point of contention was the company's use of the term "non-lethal." Taser used the term in many places without explaining that it fits a U.S. Department of Defense definition, which is not the same as the common dictionary definition of "not capable of causing death." Taser has agreed tofootnote all references to "non-lethal" to explain that the term is used as defined by the Defense Department.
The Defense Department says its definition "does not require or expect non-lethal weapons to have a zero probability of producing fatalities or permanent injuries. Rather, non-lethal weapons are intended to significantly reduce the probability of such fatalities or injuries...."
Several of the company's safety claims are now more qualified. For example, a sentence on its Web site asking, "How can it be so effective yet non-injurious?" has been revised to say, "How can it be so effective and yet minimize the risk of injury?"
Instead of stating, "The Advanced Taser...is designed to incapacitate a target without causing death or permanent injury," the company now states, "The Advanced Taser...is designed to incapacitate a target from a safe distance while minimizing the risk of death or serious injury."