Axon Pauses Taser Drone Plans As Ethics Board Members Resign

Taser Drone Plans
Image: Axon

The Uvalde, Texas school shooting sent the entire world into a frenzy. Nineteen children and two teachers lost their lives in the attack and multiple injuries.

The incident sparked an outrage amongst the public with people asking to implement rigid gun laws.

However, C.E.O. and founder of Axon, Rick Smith, said that we need better solutions to safeguard teachers and students, which is why the company proposed the idea of a drone equipped with a Taser that could be used in case of mass shootings.

The C.E.O. said that these drones could lessen the effects of such events and prevent things from escalating to ‘severe levels’ quickly.

Members of the ethics advisory board resign.

Although it was in good faith, Smith’s idea received backlash, and nine members of the company’s ethics advisory board handed over their resignation letters. Following such pushback, Smith stated that the company is putting its plans for the taser-equipped drones on halt.

In a blog post, Axon’s C.E.O. clarified that the company’s aim to find a solution to mass shootings in the country, influenced it to ‘quickly’ share its ideas. He added that that announcement intended to start a conversation on a potential solution.

In light of Feedback, we are pausing work on his project and refocusing to further engage with key constituencies to fully explore the best path forward,” he wrote.

Rick added that it was ‘unfortunate’ that the board members withdrew from their posts before he had a chance to address their concerns.

Former board members comment on the matter.

The nine people who stepped down from the ethics board said they were unaware of the announcement and did not ‘expect’ it. The members believed that following the recent incidents in America, everyone feels the weight on their shoulders to do something to help prevent such occurrences.

“But Axon’s proposal to elevate a tech-and-policing response when there are far less harmful alternatives is not the solution,” the members added.

A few weeks ago, the ethics advisory board had voted against Axon’s decision on taser-equipped drones. But, following the school shooting in Uvalde, the company announced the plan. Rick told news sources that he was ‘disappointed’ by the police, who did not move against the suspect for over an hour.

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