Class-Action Suit Against Taser to Begin in 3, 2, 1…

By Allison Bond | August 26, 2009 4:07 pm

TaserThe development of a new shotgun-fired long-range Taser, called the Taser XREP, is, er, sparking a fierce debate over its safety—and rightfully so.

One reason: The guns can be fired 20 meters away from the target, whereas the old Taser X26 had to be within five meters of it. Perhaps more frightening, however, is that tests have shown that the Taser XREP can deliver a stunning shock for more than five minutes, even though the shock was designed to only last for 20 seconds (which is still four times longer than older Taser guns).

The XREP also can be hard to aim, increasing the risk of lingering injury.

New Scientist reports:

In test firings, [the Taser XREP] proved difficult to aim, as the aerodynamics of the projectile caused it to fall below the aiming point at a range of 20 metres. “Any lack of accuracy means a greater risk of hitting an unintended part of the body and therefore greater risk of injury,” says security researcher Neil Davison.

A representative from Taser International said that the guns used in the tests were pre-production models, and that further experiments (which were funded by Taser) resulted in no permanent damage when the guns were fired at cadavers—meaning that no dead people were harmed by them. Understandably, experts worry about the threat electric shock weapons can pose to the mental health of the living. New Scientist says:

Shooting cadavers is one thing. But what happens when the weapons are fired at pregnant women, people with health problems or the very young, [electric shock weapons expert Steve] Wright asks.

The goal of the new Taser is to enable law enforcement officers to temporarily incapacitate people from farther away. But because the weapon would likely be used in a crowd setting, let’s hope the guns can take aim better than they did in the initial tests.

Related Content:
Discoblog: Pentagon’s New Plan to Rain Down Painful Beams From the Sky
Discoblog: Expert is Bugged Out By Insects as Terror Threat
Discoblog: Live from CES: Don’t Tase Me Sis!

Image: flickr / hermanturnip

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Technology Attacks!
MORE ABOUT: law, Taser, weapons
  • Rick Solosky

    Tasers are the best thing since sex !

  • Dailylarrna

    All this negative press against the tasers is worthless propaganda paid for by Amnesty International. Tasers are a valuable tool for law enforcement, plain and simple. Would it be better to be shot with a gun ?

  • Rob Parker

    Many people call me an idiot. I can’t keep a job, I have no life but I know one thing , TASERS ARE SAFE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Andy Canada

    Tasers are safer for cops and for criminals. Remember we are dealing with criminals here and suspected criminals. Please give me another choice if not Taser that doesn’t involve a bullet to the head or putting officers at RISK

  • Brian

    Tasers are a great tool but… don’t expect Taser International to tell you about the problems.

    In Canada, tests are revealing that approximately 10% of the units (all older models thus far) are operating at much higher than intended voltages.

    Andy Canada wants an alternative. Here’s one: What on Earth do you think the police did before they had Tasers? No, the answer isn’t “they shot the person”. The answer is, most of the time, they tackled the person and wrestled them into submission. They got physical.

    The police departments have been selling these things (because they need funding) as an alternative to guns. The citizens have been accepting the argument on this basis. The problem is (in my opinion) that in actual use, Tasers are used in situations where guns never would have been an option.

    The police are very aware that pulling a gun is a serious step. They don’t want to do that. In the old days if the “problem” wasn’t acting especially dangerous, guns weren’t a realistic option. Now they have Tasers and don’t need to get physical, all sweaty and rolling around in the dirt.

    If the police have a mouthy suspect on their hands, they think “OK, this A-hole is messing with me. I have a magic gun that shuts them up and they fall down. Then they get back up again.” The only problem is that sometimes the person doesn’t get back up again.

    Taser International has been relatively successful in their PR, insisting that a bogus condition called “excited delirium” is responsible for the deaths following Taser use. Something more is going on here and the overvoltage condition in older Taser units might be the cause. But again, as long as Taser International is stonewalling, don’t expect a full story from them.

  • Dailylarrna

    “Bogus” condition ? I guess you haven’t spoken with many ER doctors or first responders. You need to educate yourself. Why is it 90% of Canadians still believe in the tooth fairy,bigfoot, and flying saucers ?

  • Andy Canada

    i care more about keeping police officers safe than people high on drugs, drunk, and those people in society who make it worse than better.

    Here’s something interesting, it does work, even without using it, just showing it makes people come to order

    NC — Durham Police: Tasers Lower Comp Rates: EAST 08/26/09
    Police in Durham, N.C., are crediting their purchase of Tasers with deterring assaults on officers and cutting worker’s compensation costs by 71.5 % during the past year.

  • Andy Canada

    NC — Durham Police: Tasers Lower Comp Rates: EAST 08/26/09
    Police in Durham, N.C., are crediting their purchase of Tasers with deterring assaults on officers and cutting worker’s compensation costs by 71.5 % during the past year.

  • http://Discover the real dailylarrna

    Looks like the desperate pieces of pumper trash from Yahoo’s Taser International message board are imitating me. Just goes to show how desperate they are as Taser’s stock price continues to slide lower as more ethical issues are exposed about Taser’s business practices and more people die from taser shocks.

  • the real Dailylannna Says

    I am off of my med’s again. I know I could use an intervention but I am beyond that now it’s plain to see. Please help me. Taser Inc is a great company and the Smith’s really are nice people. I am sorry for the pain and suffering I have caused.

  • me

    Despite what the brochures and lawyers of corporate Tasers International would have you believe, these are NOT Star Trek phasers set on “stun”: those volts often kill people. [I doubt the rhyme is a coincidence, and that they hope to invoke that imagery]

    Because of deliberate misinformation, our peace officers (bless them) often inadvertently end up using lethal force in simple misdemeanor situations.

  • http://www.weirmanuel.com Knewid aka iaats2h

    Have you seen how small the trigger guard is on the Taser stun guns? They should use a Stinger stun gun if they want to where gloves. The Stinger will not harm anyone either since its design prevents it from being effective.

    While I am just talking, is there, any, man, that wants sex with me? I love women but dont want to touch them just hunky men.

  • http://www.weirmanuel.com newidwasashighas182O

    Taser needs a new stun gun design as good as the Stinger S200-AT. They are using old technology. The S200 has a little red light that would stop me in my tracks every time except when the butt plate falls off and the batteries fall onto the ground. And they have a new camera that is almost available that will eventually record in full color when it comes out soon.
    Someone should really taken Knewid aka iaats2h up on his offer for a man date. I know for a fact that he will rock your world in a girly sort of way.

  • Roger Tan

    Whoever wants to make a remark about Taser should know the subject matter well. Otherwise it is simply talking without substance. I have being handling a Taser for the past 12 years and have tasered and witnessed hundreds of people being tasered without any casualty.

    So please do not victimise Taser as it is a good tool for law enforcement. An alternative to using standard firearms. If you have seen a face being shot with a revolver then you can understand why Taser is a better choice.

  • Julian

    Haha how fail is it that a bunch of people from a taser message board come here to spam? Nothing’s going to change until a celebrity gets tasered into a coma, cops ain’t gonna give up their pretty little sparks if they’re not allowed to shoot anything and everything.

  • Brian

    @Dailylarrna,

    Umm, that’s real interesting advice, coming from someone who knows nothing about me. Also you have a weak grasp on medicine, even if you do “…[talk] to ER doctors or first responders”. Which, by the way, I have and do.

    What’s the ICD-10 code for Excited Delirium? Where exactly is this “condition” discussed in the Washington Manual of Medical Therapeutics? What’s the page number for ED in the Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy? Or indeed, in any other standard and reputable medical text?

    That’s why excited delirium is bogus. By sticking a non-recognized (but plausibly medical-sounding) name on it that points the finger of responsibility at the deceased, it’s a PR way of diverting attention away from Taser. Oldest PR trick in the book. Which, in your own way, you tried to do too.

  • Kelly Kelly

    Pepperball Technologies offers far more superior less lethal weapon systems than taser ever will. Pepperball systems are versatile and can be used in many more scenarios than tasers one dimensional systems. Furthermore taser has proven that their weapons do not belong in the less lethal category. How effective is the taser system if the operator is hit with Pepperball’s new HotShot pepper spray? If that is not enough how would taser fair against the Tac700 or any other Pepperball product? For the most part pepperball is the more efficient weapon which can be safely deployed by cops, private security, the military and consumers.

    Think about it taser is only useful when the attacker is within arms distances. Pepperball allows you to strike first and get away from the attacker before the assailant gets within arms length.

NEW ON DISCOVER
OPEN
CITIZEN SCIENCE
ADVERTISEMENT

Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

Discoblog

Quirky, funny, and surprising science news from the edge of the known universe.
ADVERTISEMENT

See More

ADVERTISEMENT
Collapse bottom bar
+

Login to your Account

X
E-mail address:
Password:
Remember me
Forgot your password?
No problem. Click here to have it e-mailed to you.

Not Registered Yet?

Register now for FREE. Registration only takes a few minutes to complete. Register now »