Taser International calls the outcry after Miami-Dade police zapped two children with its stun gun unjustified, the Miami Herald reports. The company says it has the science to prove the weapon is safe for use on kids. Researchers, doctors, and a respected independent testing labs dispute various elements of Taser’s data and say more research is needed. Taser says its weapon delivers a shock well below a threshold that Underwriters Laboratories (UL) has deemed safe for a 2-year-old. Some UL scientists question the application of their study to Tasers. Taser cites several animal studies it sponsored that it says show the gun is safe for kids. A lead researcher on those studies said he didn’t design the experiments with kids in mind.
Taser cites independent studies done by several countries and the U.S. Department of Defense as proof that the gun poses no serious hazards. Doctors and researchers say there’s not enough evidence about the potential effects on kids to make such a blanket statement, especially concerning children. “I don’t think anybody really knows what the risks are using them with people,” said Kenneth Foster, a bioengineer who reviewed research on Tasers for the Defense Department, which bought the stun guns to use in Iraq and Afghanistan. “There’s no data whatsoever to justify saying there are no risks.” The debate on the safety of zapping kids drew national attention last month after reports emerged that Miami-Dade police jolted a 6-year-old boy and a 12-year-old girl.