NEW YORK – The Securities and Exchange Commission has closed its investigation and has recommended no enforcement action be taken on safety claims stun gun maker Taser International Inc. (TASR)made about its weapons and on another accounting issue, company officials said Tuesday.
The SEC first launched an inquiry in January into claims Scottsdale-based Taser made about safety studies and into a $1.5 million, end-of-year sale of stun guns to a firearms distributor in Prescott. Some stock analysts questioned the deal because it appeared to inflate sales to meet annual projections.
In September, the SEC announced it was formally investigating the company on those issues and had expanded the scope of the investigation to examine whether outsiders had acquired internal company information to manipulate stock price.
Taser said the SEC is continuing to investigate the issues relating to trading in the company's stock.
"We have continuously stated that we stand behind our accounting and our statements on medical safety," said Taser President Tom Smith, adding that the company will "continue to fully cooperate with the remaining item" under investigation.
A Taser shoots two barbed darts attached to wires that deliver 50,000-volts for several seconds. The electrical current overwhelms the nervous system, temporarily immobilizing an individual.
Taser began marketing stun guns to police in 1998 as a way to subdue combative people in high-risk situations. Now, more than 8,000 law enforcement agencies and military installations use them worldwide.
But critics say the stun guns have been used too liberally by police and have contributed to scores of deaths. Amnesty International has compiled a list of more than 100 people the group says have died after being shocked in scuffles with lawmen.
The company has consistently denied its products are to blame for the deaths, contending that no deaths have been directly linked to its product. The company also contends Tasers have saved the lives of thousands of suspects who might otherwise have been fatally shot by police.