In a study of studies, UC-San Francisco cardiologists discovered that the results of safety studies done on TASERs vary depending on who’s funding them. The researchers examined 50 safety studies of the stun-guns, used by police and civilians alike as a “non-lethal alternative” to firearms:
The new study’s authors report that among the product safety studies they analyzed, the likelihood of a study concluding TASER® devices are safe was 75 percent higher when the studies were either funded by the manufacturer or written by authors affiliated with the company, than when studies were conducted independently.
Azadani, Lee and three colleagues divided TASER® safety study outcomes into four categories: harmful, probably harmful, unlikely harmful and not harmful. Of the 50 articles studied, 23 were funded by TASER International, Inc. or written by an author affiliated with the company. Nearly all (96 percent) of the TASER-supported articles concluded the devices were either “unlikely harmful” (26 percent) or “not harmful” (70 percent). In contrast, of the 27 studies not affiliated with TASER International, 55 percent found that TASERs are either “unlikely harmful” (29 percent) or “not harmful” (26 percent).
TASERs, currently the most popular brand of stun-guns, are not currently used by San Francisco police, though the Police Department has been given permission to research the possibility of arming officers with stun-guns.