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Prisoner-rights group Amnesty International said



stun guns are needlessly deadly and urged police departments to stop using them until more rigorous testing can be done.

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The group is the latest critic to question the guns, which are used by law enforcement agencies nationwide to subdue criminal suspects who ostensibly don't warrant lethal force. Amnesty said about 70 people have died after being hit with one of the gun's electrical shocks.

"An inquiry should be carried out by acknowledged medical, scientific, legal and law enforcement experts who are independent of commercial and political interests in promoting such equipment," the group said.

Taser, whose ever-soaring stock is splitting Tuesday, rejected the report, saying evidence exists that its guns are safe.

"Amnesty has repeatedly called for independent testing while ignoring the mounting independent comprehensive reports showing Taser technology is safe and effective," the company said in a statement. "Anyone living in the real world in which law enforcement officers worldwide have to make split-second life-or-death decisions knows that Amnesty International's report and position is out of step with the needs of law."

The stock closed at a split-adjusted $25.48 Monday and recently traded at $24.80 on Instinet.