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Posted: 1/7/2005 2:51:32 PM EDT


The Associated Press

PHOENIX, AZ (AP) -- Federal authorities have launched an inquiry into claims Taser International Inc. has made about safety studies for its stun guns. Its shares plunged more than 14 percent in morning trading Friday.

The Securities and Exchange Commission also is looking into a $1.5 million, end-of-year sale of stun guns by Taser International to a Prescott firearms distributor that some stock analysts have questioned because it appears to inflate sales to meet annual projections.

"We're confident that this is going to come out in our favor," Taser's president Tom Smith said late Thursday in announcing that it was cooperating with the SEC informal inquiry. An informal inquiry is a step below a formal investigation, where regulators have subpoena power.

Smith added that the Scottsdale-based company stands by its safety statements and the recent sale.

In morning trading Friday on the Nasdaq Stock Market, Taser shares were down $3.94 to $23.68. They traded as high as $33.45 a share just last month.

Recent investigations by several newspapers have raised serious questions about the stun gun's safety record and about Taser's reports to shareholders.

Although Taser has repeatedly said its stun guns have never caused a death or serious injury, reports in The Arizona Republic have linked the stun gun to 11 deaths and to several injuries involving police officers.

"We feel very confident that the statements that we've made surrounding the safety of our products are supported with the safety studies," Smith said.

However, questions about safety have already caused some police departments around the country to back off purchases of Tasers.

Some medical experts believe Taser shocks may exacerbate a risk of heart failure in cases where people are agitated, under the influence of drugs or have underlying health problems. Human rights advocates want law enforcement to stop using Tasers until scientific evidence can show they don't kill.

Last week, a Scottsdale investment analyst raised questions about the sale of 1,000 new consumer stun guns and other products to the distributor Davidson's Inc. that Taser announced on Dec. 20.

"It's a deal that could maybe make a quarter," said Rob Miceli, analyst with the Scottsdale firm Gradient Analytics Inc. "Anytime we see something like that it bears further investigation."

Davidson's has done business with Taser since 1999 and company CEO Bryan Tucker said there was no pressure from Taser executives to complete the deal before Taser's quarter and year end.




Link Posted: 1/7/2005 2:57:29 PM EDT
Link Posted: 1/7/2005 2:59:24 PM EDT
Yup, say goodbye to Taser. Better sell your shares off now.
Link Posted: 1/7/2005 3:09:43 PM EDT

Originally Posted By The_Beer_Slayer:
shit i thought the seeing eye cat was back in action!





Yeah. I was wondering if someone had catnapped the little guy wile I'm out!


(Boy, I'da been PISSED!!!!!)
Link Posted: 1/7/2005 5:45:12 PM EDT

Originally Posted By The_Beer_Slayer:
shit i thought the seeing eye cat was back in action!

Yeah.

I was hoping to see Our Famous SEC try to zap a Doberman or larger dog.

Missing, of course.
Link Posted: 1/7/2005 5:50:40 PM EDT
man!  I thought the cat went out on the town again...

or heck, I would settle for a re-telling..........
Link Posted: 1/7/2005 5:50:52 PM EDT

Originally Posted By GiggleSmith:

Originally Posted By The_Beer_Slayer:
shit i thought the seeing eye cat was back in action!

Yeah.

I was hoping to see Our Famous SEC try to zap a Doberman or larger dog.

Missing, of course.





Hey, a few years back, the SEC DESTROYED a collie. Wound up getting challenged to a duel over it!
Link Posted: 1/7/2005 6:01:56 PM EDT
I'll never be able to take the financial section of the newspaper seriously ever again. All I can think of when I read about the stock market is a man with a red and white cane, and a cat leading him -and everybody else- on.
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