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Are Stun Guns Legal to Carry in All 50 States? Your State-by-State Guide to Stun Gun Laws 2024

While stun guns are a non-lethal, positive self-defense product that is legal for use in most states, many do have age, criminal history or even licensing requirements.

The following information, while accurate at the time of posting, is by no means an official or exhaustive list of state regulations. Please check your state's official website for the most accurate information on stun gun laws that may affect you.

Key Takeaways

  • Owning a stun gun is legal in 49 states across the U.S., but each state has its own set of rules, ranging from loose to tight. Rhode Island's the exception—it's a no-go there. Plus, you gotta pay attention to the differences between stun gun and TASER rules.

  • Local rules can put even tighter limits on owning and using stun guns, so it's crucial to stay in the loop because these rules can shift from time to time.

  • Taking stun guns on the road means you gotta know and follow the different rules from state to state;

Understanding Stun Gun Laws by State

Stun guns were first created in 1974 and quickly gained popularity as a non-lethal method of self-defense. Because of this, laws and rules about having and using stun guns had to come into play. Some states decided to outlaw them altogether, while others have different levels of rules, making the legal scene pretty tangled up across the nation.

Hawaii and Rhode Island stand out as places where having or using stun guns is straight-up against the law. However, as of January 1st, 2021, Hawaii changed things up with a new law that scrapped the ban, letting certain folks own a Taser or other electric guns if they meet certain criteria.

Because of this, state laws vary a lot when it comes to controlling these gadgets, making it a bit of a mixed bag across the country.

It’s important to note that TASERs should not be confused with stun guns. They have separate regulations governing their ownership and use. Understanding this distinction is crucial both for complying with stun gun and TASER laws and choosing an appropriate self-defense tool.

Stun Gun Laws by State: A Comprehensive Breakdown

Except for Rhode Island, most states allow one to possess a stun gun subject to specific stun gun laws by state and restrictions for civilian use:

  1. You use the stun gun for civilian self defense only

  2. You have no record of felony

  3. You are at least 18 to be allowed to purchase and carry a stun gun (although a person of any age, even minors, can have a stun gun at home). Check with your state government before a purchase as there are different laws by state.

While Rhode Island prohibits the possession of stun guns altogether, they are legal to own in all other US states. Each state has its own specific laws and different restrictions regarding their use.

In California, you can legally carry stun guns for self-defense purposes, but there are some restrictions as to who can have them, which include: no record of felony nor narcotics addiction, nor previous conviction for stun gun misuse.

In Illlinois, while purchase of a stun gun is legal only if one has a valid FOID card (Firearms Operations ID card) which can be issued if at least 21 years (can be younger with parent's written consent), plus compliance with Illinois Criminal Code, including prohibition in places like schools and parks. A background check will also be conducted by the seller.

In New York State, the rules around having stun guns used to be super tight until a federal court shook things up in 2019. Before that, regular folks weren't allowed to have them, not even on their own turf. But now, thanks to that decision, it's all good.

Florida does not require individuals wanting ownership or possession rights over these devices to obtain any kind of permit beforehand. Yet guidance from local law enforcement should still be sought after so as to avoid violating particular rules. These points highlight why being knowledgeable about local ordinances plays an important role when dealing with issues concerning firearms such as Tasers.

Alabama

 Legal to purchase and possess without a permit but in the City of Mobile, a city permit is required from the local police and possession is not allowed on school property, even in a vehicle in school premises. Stun gun high voltage

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Arizona

It is legal to buy, carry, and use a stun gun in Arizona, with exceptions. The user must be 18 years of age or older, and show a valid ID. There is no license required. 

Arkansas

Stun guns and tasers are legal to purchase and carry, you must be at least 19 to be allowed to purchase.

California

It is legal to buy, carry, and use a stun gun in California, with exceptions. It is illegal for felons to purchase or carry a stun gun. Minors must have written consent from a legal guardian to purchase before the age of 18. There is no license required. 

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Skinny Lipstick Stun Gun

Colorado

Stun guns are legal to purchase and carry without a permit required.

Connecticut

It is legal to buy, carry, and use a stun gun in Connecticut, with exceptions. The user must have a valid gun permit and be at least 21 years of age. There is no license required.

Delaware

It is legal to buy, carry, and use a stun gun in Delaware, with restrictions. The user must be at least 21 years of age, complete a background check, and have no felony convictions. Stun guns are illegal in Newark, Wilmington, and New Castle County. There is no license required. 

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Florida

It is legal to buy, carry and use a stun gun in Florida, with exceptions. Convicted felons and users under the age of 16 without parental supervision are not allowed to carry stun guns. There is no license required.

Georgia

It is legal to buy, carry, and use a stun gun in Georgia, with exceptions. Convicted felons are not allowed to carry stun guns. There is no license required. 

Hawaii

It is legal to buy, carry, and use a stun gun in Hawaii, with restrictions. Users must be 21 years of age, pass a background check, and receive a license in order to do so. Stun guns cannot be purchased online and shipped to Hawaii. 

Idaho

It is legal to buy, carry and use a stun gun in Idaho, with restrictions. Felons are not allowed to own stun guns. 

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Illinois

It is legal to buy, carry and use a stun gun in Illinois, with exceptions. A FOID card is required for purchase or an Illinois concealed carry permit. Still there are certain restrictions like carrying it in public housing or public transit, in school or a courthouse, or whereStun guns are illegal in the city of Chicago.  

Indiana

Stun guns are legal to buy, carry and use in Indiana, with exceptions. Valid ID and permit are required for purchase. 

Iowa

Stun guns are legal to buy, carry and use in Iowa, except for Denison and Crawford Country, where they are illegal.

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Kansas

Stun guns are legal to buy, carry and use in Kansas, with exceptions. Users must be 18 years of age or older. There is no permit required. 

Kentucky

Stun guns are legal to purchase and possess in Kentucky without any special permits or restrictions. However, as with any form of self-defense tool, responsible use and adherence to general safety laws is expected of owners.

Louisiana

Stun guns are legal to purchase and carry in Louisiana without the need for a special permit. However, it is always recommended to use them responsibly and in accordance with the law, specifically for self-defense purposes.

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Pink lipstick stun gun

Maine

Stun guns are legal to purchase and carry in Maine without the need for a special permit. However, users must be at least 18 years old and have no felony convictions. It's always recommended to use them responsibly and in accordance with the law, specifically for self-defense purposes.

Maryland

Stun guns are legal to buy, carry and use in Maryland. Purchaser must complete a background check, but no permit is required. 

Massachusetts

Stun guns are legal to buy, carry and use in Massachusetts, with a valid permit. 

stun gun

Michigan

Stun guns are illegal to buy, carry and use in Michigan. 

Minnesota

Stun guns are legal to buy, carry and use in Minnesota, with exceptions. Users must be at least 18 years of age, pass a background check, and have no prior felony convictions. No license is required. 

Mississippi

Stun guns are legal to purchase and carry in Mississippi. There are no specific state-wide restrictions or licensing requirements for ownership or possession, but users are encouraged to handle these devices responsibly and in accordance with the law, primarily for self-defense purposes.

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Our black variant of the skinny lipstick stun gun

Missouri

In Missouri, you're free to buy and carry stun guns without needing any special permissions.

Montana

Legal to purchase and possess without a permit required.

Nebraska

In Nebraska, the legal requirements for stun gun ownership include being a minimum of 18 years old and having a clean criminal record, specifically with no felony convictions.

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Our black high voltage stun gun

Nevada

Stun guns are legal to buy, carry and use in Minnesota, with restrictions. Users must be at least 18 years of age, with no prior felony convictions. No license is required. 

New Hampshire

Stun guns are legal to buy, carry and use in New Hampshire, as long as the user is over the age of 18. No license is required. 

New Jersey

Stun guns are legal to buy, carry and use in New Jersey, as long as the user is over the age of 18. No license is required.

stun gun

New Mexico

In New Mexico, stun guns are legal to purchase and possess. There are no specific state-wide restrictions or licensing requirements for ownership or possession.

New York

Stun guns are legal to buy, carry and use in New York. There is no license required. 

North Carolina

Stun guns are legal to buy, carry and use in North Carolina. There is no permit required. 

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Pink variant of the skinny lipstick stun gun

North Dakota

Legal to purchase and possess without a permit.

Ohio

Stun guns are legal to buy, carry and use in Ohio, as long as the user has a valid permit. 

Oklahoma

Stun guns are legal to buy, carry and use in Oklahoma, as long as the user has a valid permit. 

Oregon

Legal to purchase and possess without a permit.

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Pennsylvania

Stun guns are legal to purchase and possess in Pennsylvania without the need for a special permit or license.

Rhode Island

Stun guns are illegal in the state of Rhode Island. 

South Carolina

Legal to purchase and possess without a permit.

stun gun with flashlight

South Dakota

Legal to purchase and possess without a permit.

Tennessee

Stun guns are legal to purchase and possess in Tennessee without the need for a special permit or license.

Texas

In Texas, stun guns are legal to purchase and possess. There are no specific state-wide restrictions or licensing requirements for ownership or possession.

stun gun

Utah

It is legal to own and carry without a permit in Utah.

Vermont

Legal to purchase and possess without a permit required.

Washington

Legal to purchase and possess except in Ruston, Washington.

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West Virginia

Stun guns are legal to purchase and possess in West Virginia without the need for a special permit or license.

Wisconsin

Stun guns are legal to buy, carry and use in Wisconsin, with exceptions. A valid permit is required, and the item must be carried in a closed case. 

Wyoming

Legal to own and carry without a permit.

The Importance of Local Ordinances

It's key to remember that besides state laws, local rules might also limit owning and using stun guns. In some places, you might need a license or permit if you want to use a stun gun or TASER for your protection. Some states also require background checks such as Illinois, Maryland, or Minnesota.

While most states in the U.S. give the green light for folks to have these weapons, there's one place that says no: the U.S. Virgin Islands, which is an organized, unincorporated territory of the United States. This shows how the rules about stun guns can vary a lot from one local area to another, and they can change over time, too.

black lipstick stun gun

Stay updated with any changes in these local laws is crucial for remaining legally compliant.

There is often confusion between two types of non-lethal weapons: stun guns and TASERs. It should be clarified that while both fall under this category, their distinct differences must not go unnoticed by individuals seeking proper knowledge of self-defense tools permitted by various jurisdictions around them.

 

Stun Guns vs. TASERs: Understanding the Difference

While stun guns and TASERs are often used interchangeably, they differ in their method of deployment. Stun guns require direct contact with the attacker, while taser stun guns can be deployed from a distance using darts or probes.

These gadgets pack different levels of punch and have different effects tied to them. TASERs are known for being effective at reducing injury during use-of-force incidents and have no long-term consequences. Meanwhile, stun guns can dish out temporary physical pain, leave you feeling dizzy and disoriented, and might even mess with your head psychologically.

In most states across the US, it's totally cool for regular folks to have stun guns and tasers for self-defense. But Rhode Island's got some tough rules about owning these weapons, so it's smart to know the deal with state laws before you start carrying or moving them around.

Stun Gun Ownership Responsibilities

Gun ownership comes with responsibilities, starting with appropriate storage. It is important to keep the stun gun in a dry area and ensure it is turned off when not in use.

The best bet is to stash it away securely or lock the stun gun up tight. If you can, keep the batteries separate too.

Maintenance of the stun gun should also be prioritized by regularly checking its battery charge and inspecting for dirt or corrosion on the contacts.

When deciding to carry a stun gun for self-defense purposes, owners must follow these key steps: understand laws governing their state’s regulations regarding usage, notify authorities about deployment, and strictly adhere to instructions provided in accompanying documentation.

Just like all forms of legislation, stun gun laws have witnessed changes over time.

Recent Changes and Trends in Stun Gun Legislation

The laws surrounding stun guns have undergone significant changes recently. Again, as of January 1st, 2022, Hawaii has officially legalized the possession of these devices.

In some states like Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, New Mexico (they switched things up in 2021), and Wisconsin, you have to snag a concealed carry permit or a concealed weapons permit to buy and carry stun guns.

Lots of places, like New Mexico, are totally cool with folks who are at least eighteen having stun guns for self-defense.

stun gun

Interestingly, a recent court decision backed up qualified immunity for a school resource officer who tased a student with a disability during a civil rights case against them, even though the claim itself got turned down in the end.

While it might seem tempting to rely solely on a legal firearm for self-defense, it's crucial to consider other potential countermeasures first. Options like pepper spray, personal alarms, tasers, or just making a racket to draw attention are all good non-lethal alternatives to consider.

It's also important to keep up with what's happening with the local laws and rules because they can have a big impact on when and how you can use certain self-defense gear. Even in places where crime isn't a big issue, it's still smart to stay alert and ready for anything, just in case.

Alternatives to Stun Guns for Personal Protection

For those seeking alternatives to stun guns, pepper spray is a viable option for non-lethal personal protection. By releasing a chemical derived from chili peppers, it can cause temporary blindness and intense pain, effectively incapacitating an attacker.

Like pepper spray, self-defense classes are also valuable in enhancing one’s ability to protect oneself by promoting awareness of their surroundings and building physical and mental strength.

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Our 4-in-1 self-defense set - personal alarm, stun gun, pepper spray, and escape hammer

Summary

Keeping tabs on the stun gun laws is crucial because they can change from state to state and even within different local areas.

Stun guns, which folks sometimes mix up with TASERs, are actually two different gadgets, each with its own set of rules to follow. Taking stun guns on the road can be tricky because you've got to navigate through the varying rules of different states.

If you've got a stun gun, it's up to you to keep it stored, maintained, and used the right way. With the laws around self-defense gear like stun guns or tasers changing lately, it's super important to stay on top of what rules apply now.

The good news is, there are other options out there like pepper spray, personal alarms, and self-defense classes that give you different ways to stay safe on your own.

Frequently Asked Questions

In what states are stun guns illegal?

The use of stun guns and tasers is permitted by law in all states, except for Rhode Island  where they have some rules about buying, owning, and using these weapons.

Are stun guns legal to carry around?

In most states, stun guns are legally available for purchase and possession by consumers as long as it is used for self-defense alone, at least 18 years old to purchase and carry, no record of felony for most states, and not carried within certain premises like schools. It is best to check with the local state laws..

Can I travel with a stun gun?

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) allows you to pack a stun gun or Taser in your checked luggage, as long as you adhere to specific regulations.

What's the difference between a stun gun and a taser?

The big difference between a stun gun and a Taser is how far they reach. Both are handy for self-defense, but with a stun gun, you have to be in physical contact with the person, while a taser can zap 'em from up to 15 feet away.

To sum it up, tasers keep you safe from a distance, but stun guns need you to get up close and personal to work well against attackers.

Are stun guns legal in all states?

Before you buy a stun gun, make sure to check out the laws in your area because they can vary from state to state. Although most states declare it legal having these stun guns and tasers, there are specific exceptions in a few cities within certain states, or have further requirements such as a  FOID card in Illinois.