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Tuesday, June 18, 2024 | Back issues
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Taser Ignores License Requirement, Class Says

SONOMA (CN) - Taser International improperly sells its self-defense weapons to California consumers who do not have a concealed weapons permit, a class claims in court.

California Penal Code considers Tasers a firearm, and places several requirements on consumers who carry firearms in public, according to the complaint in Sonoma County Superior Court. Such individuals must allegedly have a concealed weapons permit and complete of a handgun-safety class, among other requirements.

Taser International, however, makes no such requirements of California consumers, thus putting consumers at risk of criminal prosecution for carrying a handheld Taser, according to the complaint.

Lead plaintiff Chiko Katiki, a 23-year-old college student, says she bought a Taser C2 from the Taser International website to protect herself when walking to and from school and at odd hours.

But Taser neither required Katiki to show proof of a concealed weapons permit nor to go through a 10-day waiting period, per California law, according to the complaint. Katiki says she received her Taser with a paper target for practice and learned that she must call the company to undergo a private screening and activation code.

Her attorney, Mark Clausen of Santa Rosa, Calif., mailed Taser International a cease-and-desist letter in August 2012. Receiving no response, Clausen filed claims for fraud and declaratory relief on behalf of Katiki. The complaint says that Taser "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.

It did so "for the purposes of illicit profit," Katiki says.

The complaint notes that the parties dispute whether People v. Heffner (1977), which would dictate whether Tasers are considered loaded firearms in California, is "good law."

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