Taser International makes stun guns. In a lawsuit filed against USA Today it says misleading articles have cost the company a shocking $1 billion in shareholder value.

Taser International Inc. said Friday it has sued Gannett Co. Inc., accusing the publisher of USA Today of libel over its stories about Taser’s stun guns.

The company said the lawsuit, filed in an Arizona state court, targets a USA Today article on June 3 that it said misrepresented the electrical output of Taser weapons and in photographs compared them with electric chairs, lightening and electric train tracks.

A representative for Gannett which is also the parent company of the Arizona Republic newspaper, said the company had not yet seen the complaint and declined comment.

Taser, based in Scottsdale, Ariz., accused Gannett of publishing a series of misleading articles about its products, which disable victims with a 50,000-volt shock.

“Over the course of this biased campaign, more than $1 billion dollars of shareholder value has been erased,” Taser Chief Executive Rick Smith said in a statement.

He said the company believes that some law enforcement agencies delayed buying the stun guns based on the coverage.

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