Axon Enterprise Inc | Discontinue development of non-lethal taser drone system at Axon Enterprise Inc

13.67% votes in favour
AGM date
Previous AGM date
Proposal number
Resolution details
Company ticker
Resolution ask
Other ask
ESG theme
  • Social
ESG sub-theme
  • Conflict and/or violence
  • Diversity, equity & inclusion (DEI)
Type of vote
Shareholder proposal
Filer type
Company sector
Company HQ country
United States
Resolved clause
RESOLVED: Shareholders of Axon Enterprise, Inc. (“Company”), in recognition of the public safety and human and civil rights issues raised by former members of the Axon AI Ethics Board and multiple organizations, request that our Company discontinue the development and plans for sale of a remotely-operated, non-lethal TASER drone system.
Supporting statement
"Supporting Statement: Axon is a public safety technology company most known for developing Taser electroshock weapons and body cameras. In May 2022, a two-thirds majority of Axon’s AI Ethics Board voted to advise the Company not to develop Taser-equipped drones for a limited pilot program with law enforcement. The board expressed “serious concerns around Taser misuse and the possibility that the deployment of weaponized drones and robots could increase the rate at which force is used,” particularly on people of color.

Weeks later, Axon announced its intention to embed Taser-equipped drones in schools and other public spaces. Axon proposed using AI surveillance, algorithmic predictors, and virtual reality simulations to stop mass shootings. Axon did not seek meaningful input from its in-house Community Advisory Coalition, AI Ethics Board, or Vice President of Community Impact prior to the announcement. It did not put forth a considered proposal, but instead linked to CEO Rick Smith’s graphic novel for details.

The AI Ethics Board consequently denounced Axon’s decision, given that the project was a “notable expansion” of what the Board had already evaluated and firmly rejected. Nine of the thirteen AI Ethics Board members resigned, stating they had “lost faith in Axon’s ability to be a responsible partner.”

Substantial evidence supports the AI Ethics Board’s concerns. Police use of Tasers has killed over 500 people since 2010. Exposing students to constant surveillance is a violation of privacy, and AI tools have a track record of perpetuating racial disparities and subjecting innocents to undue harm. Gun- detecting AI scanners deployed in schools routinely flag laptops as threats but fail to detect common handguns. AI-powered aggression detectors installed in schools routinely flag innocent behavior, like coughing, while failing to detect screams. With Tasers involved, routine automated errors of this kind could result in serious physical harm.

Axon temporarily paused the project in response to the resignations, but Smith has since admitted the Company is still pursuing it. Axon has now replaced both the Community Advisory Coalition and the AI Ethics Board with a new advisory council, which Smith still does not commit to heeding.

The rollout of this proposal demonstrates a tremendous failure of management’s self-governance procedures, exposing Axon to reputational damage. Moving forward risks exposing the company to litigation and financial costs as it puts the physical and psychological safety of children and others at risk. Given these risks, Axon’s plan to develop Taser-equipped drones for use in public settings renders the Company vulnerable to further erosion of its reputation as a trusted developer of transformative technology for public safety."

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