PHOENIX—Stun gun maker Taser International said Friday it will offer police a pump-action Taser shotgun that will allow officers to knock out people from as far as 65 feet away.
The Taser/Mossberg X12 LLS almost doubles the range of the company's X26 model pistol. It uses a special pump-action shotgun developed by O.F. Mossberg & Sons, Inc. and a wireless stunning device folded into the shell.
Taser spokesman Steve Tuttle said the Scottsdale, Ariz.-based company started working on the shotgun with the U.S. military in mind. But he said the company decided the weapons would find a niche with police SWAT teams.
"Distance equals safety, and you want to have that extra cushion between you and the attacker," Tuttle said.
The Taser shotgun could be a gentler way of stopping people than firing beanbags or other projectiles, he said.
"You're really throwing a major league baseball fastball at somebody, with the beanbag round," Tuttle said. "You're causing some significant injuries."
Taser plans to field test the weapons starting in February at selected police departments and sell them at the end of 2008. Tuttle said the company hasn't published the price, but said the shotguns would be less expensive than the X26.
It doesn't have any agreements with the military to manufacture the shotguns.
Amnesty International, which claims that people have died as the result of Taser weapons, criticizes Taser for adding more weapons to its product line.
"The company just doesn't get it," Dalia Hashad, director of Amnesty's USA Program.
All of this as Chicago Police Want More TasersThe Chicago Police Department is looking to up its number of tasers from about 350 to 2,500 devices. Chicago had halted the distribution of tasers to their police following the autopsy results of tased suspect Ronald Hasse. The cause of death was found to be electrocution with drugs as a contributing factor.
The police department seems to have forgotten the incident and now cites tasers as "less-than-lethal":
"We view them as a less-than-lethal option," police spokeswoman Monique Bond said of the department's Tasers, which were discharged 181 times in 2006.With over 290 taser-associated deaths from 2001-2007, that's clearly false. The acid test is this: Would those same 290 people have died if standard non-lethal apprehension techniques had been used? Statistics that examine trends in mortality rates before and after police departments begin employing tasers don't fully address that question. If a weapon is killing people, it's not very non-lethal