Stun Gun Maker Taser Warns on Revenue

Taser International Inc. (TASR) on Friday said first-quarter revenue would miss Wall Street estimates because of adverse publicity about the safety of its stun guns, sending its shares down 14 percent.

Shares of Taser traded down $1.68, or 14 percent, at $10.31 on the Nasdaq market, down from a close on Thursday of $12 on Nasdaq.

The company said it saw first-quarter revenue of about $10 million. Wall Street expects $13.64 million, according to analysts polled by Reuters Estimates. Taser reported revenue of $19.2 million for the fourth quarter of 2004.

In early February, Taser declined to provide financial guidance as it warned of a delay in orders as law enforcement agencies tested rival products.

"...significant adverse publicity in the first quarter has caused what we believe to be a temporary disruption in our sales pipeline," said Rick Smith, Taser's chief executive, in a statement.

Taser, whose stun guns have sparked controversy over their safety, on Wednesday said an independent study had found that electrical stun technology was "relatively safe and clearly effective."

The company said it has assembled a team of experts to advise the company on public relations issues and that it has begun to defend itself against what it called "erroneous and misleading information in the public domain."

A chief critic of Taser stun guns has been the human rights group Amnesty International (search), which has questioned the safety of the weapons.

"We are disheartened at Amnesty's rhetoric and continued misrepresentation of the facts regarding Taser devices," Smith said. "This behavior is disingenuous and not helpful to the public discourse on this important subject."