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Taser International, Inc. ( ) is an American developer, manufacturer, and distributor of TASER electroshock guns, a handheld less-lethal weapon designed to incapacitate a single person from a distance. The company is based in Scottsdale, Arizonamarker, USAmarker. Taser is the most common brand of electroshock gun.

History of the company

The company was founded in September 1993 (under the name ICER Corporation) by brothers Rick and Tom Smith. The Smith brothers were upset when two friends were shot and killed in a traffic altercation in Scottsdale, Arizona. As part of earlier research, Rick Smith contacted John H. "Jack" Cover, the original inventor of the TASER system, to work on a non-firearm weapon using compressed air (or nitrogen) propulsion system. In October 1993, they signed an agreement whereby Mr. Cover licensed his technology to the company while also joining the corporation as an employee. The company name was then changed to AIR TASER, Inc. The word "TASER" is the acronym of the fictional weapon "Thomas A. Swift's Electric Rifle".

In June 1994, a non-firearm version of the TASER was developed, allowing it to bypass federal and state laws that only apply to firearms, and a tracking system (the "anti-felon identification" or "AFID" system) was created. This enables the weapon to disperse confetti with serial numbers when fired and links the specific weapon to the scene where fired.

In 1998, the company adopted its current name to emphasize the company's international expansion. In the same year, the company began marketing the weapon to law enforcement agencies and police departments, in addition to public consumers who had bought tasers for personal self-protection in prior years.

In 2001, Taser International developed its "Advanced Taser Electro-Muscular Disruption" system. In May 2001, they filed for an initial public offering and began trading NASDAQ under the stock symbol TASR. In May 2003, the company released its new Taser X26 model.

Rick Smith is the current chief executive officer, director; Tom Smith is Chairman of the Board; Jas Dhillon is Chief Strategy Officer.

Building architecture

The headquarter building has biometric access control via iris scan. The facility is keyless, has fiber optic data networks, and motion sensing light switches. It received "Best New Office Building in the State of Arizona" award by the Arizona Commercial Real Estate Magazine, Real Estate & Development Awards on February 7th, 2006.


The company manufactures various TASER products and accessories for 4 markets: Law Enforcement; Consumers; Professional Security; and Military. Sample products includes,
  • AXON is a networkable computer-controlled TASER with audio-video recording.
  • X26 and M26 are electronic control devices. They use replaceable cartridges containing compressed nitrogen for propulsion.
  • XREP is a wireless Taser fired from a 12 gauge shotgun: see Electroshock weapon, Wireless long-range electric shock weapon.
  • C2 is a self-defense electronic control device for consumers.
  • Shockwave is a system that simultaneously deploys six TASER cartridges.
  • TASER X3 is a electronic controlled device that will be launched July 27, 2009


TASER devices use a replaceable cartridge containing compressed nitrogen to deploy two small probes that are attached to the handhelddevice with insulated conductive wires. The devices transmit controlled pulses of electricity that are designed to stimulate skeletal muscles of the human body without affecting the heart or other vital organs. The pulses affect the sensory and motor functions of the peripheral nervous system and cause incapacitation. The electricity from a device will transmit through clothing up to one inch per probe or two inches cumulative. Generally, currents approaching 100 mA are lethal if they pass through sensitive portions of the body. The TASER device transmits between 2.1 to 3.9 mA of current.

Military use

The TASER is largely unregulated and has never been studied for safety or effectiveness by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. But for years the Defense Department has studied TASERs as part of military research into weapons designed to be effective without being deadly. Examples of use includes: 12th Security Forces Squadron training[276864] to improve the number of options for police; the U.S. military police to help keep order in Iraqmarker; and robots. The company has affiliation with the the Defense Technical Information Center.


According to Taser International, as of October 9, 2007, the company has not lost any product liability lawsuits:

On June 6, 2008, the company lost its first product-liability suit. A San Jose, California, jury said Taser had failed to warn police in Salinas, California, that prolonged exposure to electric shock from the device could cause a risk of cardiac arrest, attributing the death to inadequate training by the company.

In late January 2008, the public safety committee of the 39th Parliament of the Canadian House of Commons launched an investigation into their use, after the death of Robert Dziekanski. Additionally, the Braidwood Inquirymarker is a public inquiry being conducted in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, examining the safety of Tasers and this particular death. The inquiry is a two-stage investigation being conducted by the Court of Appeal of British Columbia and a retired Yukon Territories Justice.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation commissioned National Technology Systems (NTS) to conduct a series of tests finding that some TASER X26 Stun Guns manufactured before 2005 "deliver a higher level of electricity than the manufacturer promises". The company's partial reponse was,


  • Anglen, Robert. "Taser tied to 'independent' study that backs stun gun." The Arizona Republic. May 21, 2005. [276865]
  • Johnson, Kevin. "Taser contributes to police families." USA Today. April 24, 2005. [276866]
  • "Taser research marred by conflicts." Vermont Huardian. May 23, 2005. [276867]
  • "TASER WEAPONS - Use of Tasers by Selected Law Enforcement Agencies", United States Accountability Office, May 2005.[276868]
  • "The Use of Stun Weapons in US Law Enforcement", 2008, Amnesty International. [276869]

External links

Further reading

  • "Technology and Law Enforcement", by Robert L. Snow, Raymond E. Foster, 2007, ISBN 0275993345, Greenwood Publishing Group[276870]


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