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Saturday, March 05, 2005

Taser sales to public worry officers

St Petersburg Times: Taser sales to public worry officers

TAMPA - Tasers, the powerful and controversial stun guns used by thousands of police agencies, are stirring debate yet again.

Manufacturer Taser International is touting a new compact, lightweight version - this one for sale to the public.

The new model's debut comes as Taser International faces questions about the safety of the weapons, even in the hands of trained police officers. And some of the very officers who support the use of Tasers by law enforcement are not so sure Joe Schmoe should carry one, too.

The civilian model unveiled last fall, which blasts targets with 50,000 volts of electricity instead of bullets, is remarkably similar to the version carried by agencies including the Tampa Police Department. But the civilian version shoots for up to 30 seconds straight, while the police model shoots only five seconds at a time.

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