Do you have that in a shocking pink?

Amy Scott Jan 8, 2007

KAI RYSSDAL: Yes, we do business and the economy on this program. But bear with me here for a second while we take a brief detour into fashion. What’s shiny and pink and small enough to fit in a handbag? Nope, not the latest MP3 player or cell phone. It’s the latest model from Taser. Right — the stun gun company.

Marketplace’s Amy Scott has more on one of today’s hot new products at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

AMY SCOTT: The new Taser C-2 comes in colors like “black pearl,””metallic pink” and “electric blue.” It costs as little as $300. A promotional video touts its consumer-friendly features.

VIDEO: Its compact, lightweight design makes the Taser C-2 the ideal choice to carry in your purse, or on your belt.

That worries Dalia Hashad. She directs Amnesty International’s USA program. Hashad says in the past five years more than 220 people have died after being shot with tasers. That includes one death just a few days ago. Those people were tasered by police officers. Hashad says civilians are another story.

DALIA HASHA: People will be using it who don’t have to go into work every day and account for how they used it, why they used it. There won’t be appropriate training.

There will be some safeguards. At the Consumer Electronics Show today Taser co-founder Tom Smith said the company won’t activate a new device until its buyer passes an online or telephone background check.

TOM SMITH: Much like you get a credit card and you have to call and register, now we the company can make sure it’s used by responsible people, that they’re over the age of 18. So we can take control of that.

Taser has consistently denied that its products cause death, to the point of suing coroners who’ve declared otherwise. The controversy has taken a toll on the company. Two years ago Taser stock traded above $30 a share. Today? It’s around $8.

I’m Amy Scott for Marketplace.

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