Taser weapons are supposed to be the safe alternative to guns, providing police with a non-lethal way to subdue suspected criminals. But a new study shows that Tasers may be more dangerous than previously thought. A study published Monday in the American Heart Association's journal, "Circulation," finds that the electrical shock delivered to the chest from a Taser can cause cardiac arrest and sudden death.
The new study now provides the first ever scientific, peer-reviewed evidence that Tasers can indeed cause death, Cincinnati.com reported.
The company that makes Tasers has previously vouched for the safety of its weapons. In an interview with the New York Times, a Taser spokesman maintained that the weapons are safer than guns. But advocacy groups have long argued that Taser use should be goverened by stricter rules, the Times reported.
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“This is no longer arguable,” Dr. Byron Lee, a cardiologist not involved with the study, told the Times. “This is a scientific fact. The national debate should now center on whether the risk of sudden death with Tasers is low enough to warrant widespread use by law enforcement.”
Since 2005, more than a dozen men in Connecticut have died after being shocked by Tasers, the Hartford Courant reported last week.
And in 2008, Canadian police forces found that an older model of Taser stun guns delivered more power than the Taser company said was possible, the Arizona Republic reported at the time.