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Taser facing lawsuit for illegally offering guns

Published time: October 03, 2012 21:17
Edited time: October 04, 2012 01:17
Taser guns. (AFP Photo / Karen Bleier)

Taser guns. (AFP Photo / Karen Bleier)

The makers of the less-lethal Taser stun guns are being brought to court in California for allegedly allowing their products to be purchased by consumers who don’t possess the necessary concealed know-how or permits.

Chiko Katiki, a 23-year-old college student, is the lead plaintiff in a class claim introduced this week in Sonoma County Superior Court. Katiki’s attorneys are going after weapon makers Taser International for selling its product online to individuals who have failed to obtain a concealed weapons permit and complete a hand-gun safety class — both mandatory in California for any civilians that want to carry a firearm, a category in which the state groups the Taser.

Although Taser International has adamantly maintained that their products are safe when used correctly, independent studies have linked the devices to playing a role in the deaths of hundreds of Americans. Amnesty International has tied the Taser to contributing to the deaths of 500 Americans between 2001 and 2012.

“Of the hundreds who have died following police use of Tasers in the USA, dozens and possibly scores of deaths can be traced to unnecessary force being used,” Susan Lee of Amnesty International explained in the report.

According to legal documents recently obtained by Courthouse News Service, Katiki purchased a Taser C2 from the company’s website for personal security, but was never informed that she’d have to go through a rigorous screening process to be legally licensed in California. The student says she did receive a paper target for practice that the company provided her with, but was never made aware of the restrictions in place across California.

Last month, attorney Mark Clausen filed a cease-and-desist letter against Taser International on behalf of Katiki, but has yet to receive a response. Now he intends on taking them to court for fraud and declaratory relief on behalf of his client, alleging that the company "falsely represented that plaintiff and others similarly situated may lawfully carry a fully-loaded Taser in any public place for purposes of self-defense" without a license.

Courthouse News Service says the plaintiff believes Taser International failed to make the illegality of their gun public "for the purposes of illicit profit.”

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