Taser guns not bad for your health?

Despite some evidence of injuries and even death, researchers say the use of Taser guns by the law enforcement community is generally a safe use of force a new study says.

In a review of nearly 1,000 cases, 99.7% of those subjected to a Taser had mild injuries, such as scrapes and bruises, or none at all said William Bozeman, M.D., the lead investigator and an emergency medicine specialist at Wake Forest University School of Medicine that conducted the study. Only three subjects (0.3%) suffered injuries severe enough to need hospital admission. Two had head injuries suffered in falls after Taser use. A third subject was admitted to a hospital two days after arrest with a medical condition of unclear relationship to the Taser. Two subjects died, but autopsy reports indicate that neither death was related to the Taser, researchers said in a release.

It may come as no surprise that the independent study was funded by the National Institute of Justice and included six law enforcement agencies across the United States.

Earlier partial results involving 597 cases were published in the September issue of Annals of Emergency Medicine and full results were presented at the American College of Emergency Physicians' Research Forum in Seattle this week.

The stun gun's are in the news constantly, it seems. For example, just this week Taser International who makes the gun, said a

U.S. federal court dismissed a product liability lawsuit brought against the company related to a death in custody. Taser said this was the fifty-ninth wrongful death or injury lawsuit that has been dismissed or that the company has won, and it has not lost any product liability lawsuit.

In addition, the Jacksonville, Fla., Sheriff's department ordered 450 Tasers for its police force. And the U.S. Marshals Service recently ordered 350 of the devices.And recently University of Florida student Andrew Meyer was subdued by a Taser at a Senator John Kerry event. CNN noted a few year ago that its own correspondent/anchor Rick Sanchez got Tasered but just a few seconds later he continues with his report. And of course there was a lot of controversy after MTV's Jackass Johnny Knoxville got zapped for fun.

According to a Forbes article, Taser has steadily recovered since early 2005 when the stun gun maker got nailed by the Securities and Exchange Commission for questionable safety claims after the

Arizona Republic reported 84 deaths in five years following Taser strikes. Similarly, Amnesty International reported in 2004 that stun guns were related to more than 70 deaths in a four-year period, and consequently pushed for law enforcers to stop using the devices. Thomas Smith, Taser chairman, claimed in 2005 that his weapons are "non-lethal" as defined by The Department of Defense.

However, Smith also mentioned that, "it is important to note that the Department of Defense policy does not require or expect non-lethal weapons to have a zero probability of producing fatalities or permanent injury."

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