Taser International, which has armed nearly a fifth of America’s police departments with electric stun guns and made millions for investors, is being investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission, reports the Arizona Republic. Company officials disclosed late Thursday that federal authorities have launched an inquiry into claims the company has made about its safety studies. The SEC is checking an end-of-year sale to a Prescott firearms distributor that some analysts have called dubious because it appears to inflate sales to meet annual projections. “We’re confident that this is going to come out in our favor,” Taser President Tom Smith said, adding that the company stands by its safety statements and the recent sale.
The disclosure comes after investigations by The Republic and the New York Times raised serious questions about the gun’s safety record and about the company’s reports to shareholders. Although Taser says its stun guns have never caused a death or serious injury, The Republic has linked it to 11 deaths and to several injuries involving police officers. Questions about safety have already caused some police departments around the country to back off purchases of Tasers, and the SEC probe could raise additional doubts.