Stun Gun Laws by State: The Legal Guide

From the stun guns of law enforcement to the concealed carry weapons of civilians, self-defense comes in many shapes and sizes. But when using force, the rules are different for those sworn to protect and serve. Learn more about the various options available for self-defense and the unique considerations for law enforcement.

However, depending on your state, dangerous weapons have different restrictions. There are also state laws and local ordinances that might require a license or a permit required in the event you want to use something like a taser device or a stun gun that issues an electrical charge for personal protection. The reason for this is that some of these dangerous weapons can cause serious injury, and it is up to each state government to decide how to regulate the ownership and carrying of these items.

Almost all states define taser stun guns as devices powered by an electrical charging unit that emits an electrical charge or are otherwise capable of incapacitating someone with an electrical charge.

What Are Laws Regarding Stun Gun Use?

State laws dictate that stun guns or taser devices are legal for civilian self-defense in 48 of the 50 states as long as:

  1. You only use it for self-defense purposes;

  2. You do not have a felony record;

  3. You are not a minor under the age of 18.

According to US law, you must prepare official paperwork to buy or sell stun guns. First, you will need a stun gun bill of sale to confirm the sale and purchase deal. Some US states may require the notarized bill of sale, which is published and regularly updated on the websites of state governments. 

Do I need a permit to carry stun gun?

In most states, you do not need a permit for a stun gun. To own a stun gun, you need a license in Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois. 

Can Minors Have Stun Guns?

Absolutely no states allow the ownership of stun guns or tasers by anyone underage, and it is illegal to sell, lease, give, rent, barter, or otherwise provide a Taser stun gun to anyone under the age of 18.


It is similarly unlawful for anyone to possess a dangerous weapon in specific locations like hospitals and schools.

Multiple states criminalize possessing a dangerous weapon like a stun gun or Taser if you are in a school, such as Idaho Code Ann. § 18-3302D.

In Michigan, it is illegal to carry a concealed stun gun not only at a school but also at

  • Private Day Care Center;

  • Sports arena;

  • Stadium;

  • Bar or tavern;

  • Religious facility;

  • Entertainment facility;

  • Hospital;

  • Dormitory.

Laws like these are pretty common across multiple states. 

Assault and Stun Guns

Almost all states criminalize stun guns for assault or situations other than self-defense. This means that if you own a stun gun or a taser, you cannot use it to harm someone else in anger or for no reason. You can only use it for self-defense; if you use it in any other capacity, you will face criminal charges.

For example, in California, Cal. Penal § 244.5. states: 

Every person who commits an assault upon the person of another with a stun gun or less lethal weapon, as defined in Section 16780, shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail for a term not exceeding one year, or by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 for 16 months, two, or three years.

What Are the Laws for Police and Peace Officers?

Many states allow police officers, peace officers, or other professionals to carry tasers or stun guns. However, they also require regular training and certification to ensure they know how to use it and in which circumstances.

In the state of Georgia, peace officers who are legally allowed to carry Tasers and other stun guns must undergo rigorous training and receive certification that they qualify to have and use such a weapon, according to Ga. Code Ann. § 35-8-26. TASER and electronic control weapons.

Where Are Stun Guns Illegal?

The illegality of Taser stun guns varies depending on your age, the state you are in, whether or not you have a permit, and where you possess the Taser stun gun in question.

Currently, having a stun gun or Taser is legal in all states except for Hawaii and Rhode Island. At the same time, special permission is required in Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin.


Overall, most states are very lenient when it comes to ownership of a Taser stun gun.

In almost every state, it’s perfectly legal to own one for self-defense as a civilian. Some specifications prohibit use outside the home or you from pointing it at a peace officer or other personnel. These are not for use in any situation other than personal defense, and there can be criminal charges associated with those who violate any of these stun gun laws.

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