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Stun-gun maker Taser may get a business jolt

The Taser has been championed as a non-lethal alternative for cops facing violent suspects. Now, the stun-gun maker may be getting an enormous boost. — By CNBC's Melissa Francis
/ Source: CNBC

Taser International could have a new deal to sell thousands of new stun guns guns to the Los Angeles Police Department.

It would be worth millions of dollars for the stun gun company. Championed as a non-lethal alternative for cops facing violent suspects, the Scottsdale, Ariz. maker of the weapons may be getting an enormous boost.

The Los Angeles Police Commission is approving the purchase of nearly 6,800 tasers. The cost? Nearly $7 million. It would be the largest sale of Tasers to a single force or city. The new smaller and lighter tasers would replace some 750 older models already in the Los Angeles Police Department arsenal.

But, it’s not a done deal. The Los Angeles City Council must still sign off on it.

Los Angeles Police Commissioner Alan Skobin says arming officers with stun guns helps cut down on lethal officer-involved shootings. Tasers are designed to deliver non-lethal shocks, leaving suspects temporarily incapacitated. But, safety questions remain. Amnesty International says more than 150 people have died after being shot by Tasers, since June 2001. Many of those suffered cardiac arrests on the scene.

Defending his decision to outfit his force with these controversial weapons Chief Bill Bratton says the majority of suspects killed by Tasers were under the influence of narcotics.