Taser: Back By Popular Demand

A couple of months back I reported on stun-gun maker Taser International’s deal with electronics retailer The Sharper Image to sell the weapons in stores across North America. I’m happy to report The Sharper Image backed out of the deal thanks to reports out of the mainstream media about the potentially lethal “nonlethal” weapons. That’s the good news. Now, read on for the terrifyingly bad news….

Taser is adamant about equipping North Americans with their high-voltage guns, which have potentially contributed to 71 deaths since 1999, reports the Arizona Republic. If they can’t make money by selling their weapons in stores, there are other, more direct approaches. Taser has decided to effectively cut out the middleperson.

The company issued a press release yesterday proudly announcing the sale of a “consumer-friendly” version of the guns via their Web site, effective IMMEDIATELY. Taser CEO Rick Smith had this to say on the momentous occasion of making North America a more dangerous place: “We are proud and excited to offer our latest life-saving technology, the TASER X26C Citizen Defense System, to private citizens seeking responsible, non-lethal self-defense protection.”

This can’t be real, can it?! For $999, people all across North America can buy their own stun gun, which comes with six cartridges, a flashy holster, an owner’s manual, a 40 minute DVD on how to use the weapon AND (here’s the kicker), a free in-home professional training session. That’s right people: Mr. Taser himself (or Ms. Taser – they are an equal opportunity company) will come to your home and, in front of your innocent, impressionable child, they will show you how to load, point, shoot (and possibly kill) anyone in site.

Residents of the U.K. – Taser’s coming after you too. The guns have become so in-demand that your government just approved of the use of Tasers in the United Kingdom.

Both pieces of news, which came out on Wednesday, sent the company’s shares soaring. In one day, the company added nearly $225 million to its market value. With such money-making potential, what will Taser think of next? I shudder at the thought….

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