Stun Gun Laws by State: A Comprehensive Guide for 2021
Laws on stun
guns and TASER devices are constantly changing. Here is an up-to-date,
comprehensive guide and historical record of how these changes have been
playing out across the United States.*
*The information laid out within is solely for educational purposes and is not meant to be construed as legal advice. Check with an attorney if you need legal counsel.
Stun guns and TASER devices, commonly known as electroshock weapons or electronic control devices (ECDs), are excellent self-defense tools. Although stun guns and TASERs have important differences, they serve the same function: to shock, dismay and neutralize human attackers and wild animals. These pain compliance tools have been widely used by both law enforcement and civilians since the rise of the TASER in the 1990s. Restrictions on civilian use have been stringent since that time, particularly in several key states, but the 2nd Amendment has been referenced to great effect in tackling draconian stun gun laws.
Two important Supreme Court Cases
The landmark decision of District of Columbia vs. Heller set a critical precedent for all self-defense cases to follow. Dick Anthony Heller, a D.C. special officer, applied for a one-year firearm license for a handgun he intended to keep in his home and was denied. Dick sued the District of Columbia. The U.S. Court of Appeals decided that Heller’s 2nd Amendment right was indeed violated. They ruled that the 2nd Amendment protects an individual’s right to keep a firearm in their personal dwelling for the purpose of self-defense and claimed that the District of Columbia’s requirement that it be non-functional violated that right.
The landmark case of Massachusetts vs. Caetano in 2016 was responsible for the overturning of several stun gun bans nationwide. A woman by the name of Jamie Caetano was convicted of illegal possession of a stun gun by the State of Massachusetts, which she held for protection against her abusive ex-boyfriend. The Supreme Court unanimously vacated the case, with reference to District of Columbia vs. Heller, stating that Massachusetts’ outright ban on electroshock weapons violated a person’s right to bear arms under the 2nd Amendment.
Legal Timeline of Stun Gun Repeals
- Hawaii passes House Bill 891, overturning
their state stun gun ban. New law becomes effective as of
January 1st, 2022. Until then, stun guns and TASERs are still
in Michigan are still attempting to
make regular stun guns legal.
- New York is in the process of attempting to
pass a bill to regulate stun guns.
- Rhode Island has a pending federal court case with
an intention of overturning the ban.
remain in effect in Delaware within
the scope of the City of Wilmington,
New Castle County and some smaller
- New York strikes down their stun gun ban as
unconstitutional and in violation of the 2nd Amendment.
Illinois Supreme Court overturns the
ban on stun devices.
- Per Ramirez vs. Commonwealth, Massachusetts effectively strikes down their absolute ban on electroshock weapons and institutes restrictions instead: purchase requires a MA Firearm Identification Card (FID), MA ID and MA Basic Firearms Safety Course Certificate.
order of consent, New Jersey repeals
its ban on stun guns.
cities of Annapolis, MD; Baltimore, MD; New Orleans, LA; Philadelphia, PA and Tacoma, WA legalize stun guns.
- Howard County, MD removes its ban.
Ramirez vs. Commonwealth, Massachusetts effectively strikes down
their absolute ban on electroshock weapons and institutes restrictions instead: purchase requires a MA
Firearm Identification Card (FID), Massachusetts ID and MA Basic Firearms
Safety Course Certificate.
District of Columbia overrides their
stun gun ban and begins to regulate them instead via the Stun Gun Regulation Emergency Amendment Act.
U.S. Virgin Islands eliminates their stun gun ban.
- Baltimore County, MD deems their ban unconstitutional.
- Overland Park, KS stun gun ban is overruled.
- Harford County, MD uplifts its ban.
- Anne Arundel County, MD overturns its ban.
People vs. Yanna, Michigan lifts their ban on electroshock
weapons. Only branded TASER devices become legal, with the requirement of a CCW
permit; regular stun guns remain illegal in
ends ban on stun guns; regulates with
requirement of CCW permit.
Stun Gun & TASER Laws By State
State Legal for Security Guard Use Legal for Consumer Use/Possession Permit Required for Consumers to Possess Background Check Required Other Restrictions on Sale* Alabama Yes Yes No No No Alaska Yes Yes No No No Arizona Yes Yes No No Yes (verify possession of valid gov’t ID) Arkansas Yes Yes No No Yes (no sales under 19) California Yes Yes No No Yes (no sales under 19 and no felony convictions) Colorado Yes Yes No No No Connecticut No Yes (in home only) No No No Delaware Yes Yes (permit required for concealed carry) No No No District of Columbia Yes Yes No No No Florida Yes Yes No No No Georgia Yes Yes No No No Hawaii No Yes* N/A N/A *Legal on Jan 1, 2022 Idaho Yes Yes No No No Illinois Yes (with FOID) Yes (with FOID + on premises, business, or by invitation) Yes Yes (for TASERs) Yes (must only sell to FOID holder + waiting period) Indiana Yes Yes No No No Iowa Yes (with professional permit) Yes Yes No No Kansas Yes Yes No No No Kentucky Yes Yes No No No Louisiana Yes Yes No No No Maine Yes Yes No No No Maryland Yes Yes No Yes (for TASERs) No Massachusetts Yes Yes (with resident firearm license) Yes No Yes (submit a copy of resident firearms license, Massachusetts ID, and MA Basic Firearms Safety Course certificate) Michigan Yes Yes Yes No Yes (verify identity and possession of CCW) Minnesota Yes Yes No Yes (for TASERs) Yes (no sales under 19) Mississippi Yes Yes Yes No No Missouri Yes Yes No No No Montana Yes Yes No No No Nebraska Yes Yes No No No Nevada Yes Yes No No No New Hampshire Yes Yes No No No New Jersey Yes (as of Oct. 2017) Yes (as of Oct. 2017) No No No New Mexico Yes Yes (permit required for concealed carry unless on own premises or in personal vehicle) No No No New York Yes (as of April 2019) Yes (as of April 2019) No No There may be other county/local laws regulating civilian CEW possession within the State of New York. It is the sole responsibility of the individual possessing the CEW to research and comply with laws. North Carolina Yes (no concealed carry outside of own premises) Yes (no concealed carry outside of own premises) No No No North Dakota Yes Yes No (permit not required to conceal carry StrikeLight but required for all other CEWs) No No Ohio Yes Yes No No No Oklahoma Yes Yes No No No Oregon Yes Yes No No No Pennsylvania Yes Yes No No No Puerto Rico Yes Yes Yes No Yes. Please note there is a minimum order requirement for shipment. Rhode Island No No N/A N/A N/A South Carolina Yes Yes No No No South Dakota Yes Yes No No No Tennessee Yes (permit required Yes No No No Texas Yes Yes No No No Utah Yes Yes No No No Vermont Yes Yes No No No Virginia Yes Yes No No No Washington Yes Yes No No No West Virginia Yes (permit required for concealed carry unless on own premises) Yes (permit required for concealed carry unless on own premises) No No No Wisconsin Yes (with CCW License) Yes (with CCW License or in own home/business) Yes No Yes (verify possession of CCW or that use is restricted to home/business) Wyoming Yes Yes No No No
Frequently Asked Questions:
What are the stun gun laws per state?
See above chart. As of 2021, stun guns are prohibited statewide only in the State of Rhode Island and in various localities within Delaware. Hawaii will officially legalize on January 1, 2022.
Who cannot possess a stun gun?
Although the laws vary from state to state, generally:
- Minors, anyone under the age of 18
- Convicted felons
- Persons with prior convictions of assault or misuse of a weapon
- Persons convicted of drug crimes
- Persons with mental illness or those who are found to be a danger to self or others
subjected to an active court order for harassing, stalking, threatening, etc.
Where are stun guns prohibited?
Stun guns and TASERs, like most weapons, are typically not allowed in government buildings, such as courthouses, prisons, administrative facilities, etc. They are also not allowed in public schools, airports (no open carry; checked luggage only) and other restricted areas.
Can I travel with a stun gun or TASER?
Travel by Air – When traveling on a plane, your electroshock weapon should be stored in checked luggage, just as you would do for pepper spray/mace. Placing your device in carry-ons or on your person will likely lead to confiscation and possible prosecution by airport authorities, so be wary of that. If you are heading out of the country, make sure that your stun gun is legal where you are going.
Travel by Land – The laws will change as you move from state to state in the U.S. Being mindful of the regulations of the state you are traveling to is important. In Wisconsin, for example, you are allowed to carry your electroshock weapon without a CCW so long as you carry it in a concealed within a carrying case; no open carry unless you have a CCW permit that is honored by the state. If you are crossing the border into another country you must be especially careful. Canada, for example, bans all weapons. Attempting to carry your stun gun or TASER across the Canadian border will get your weapon confiscated at best, or get you in big legal trouble at worst.
Travel by Sea – Stun guns and TASER devices are considered crime control weapons by the United States. Export outside the U.S. must be approved by the U.S. Department of Commerce.
Can I conceal carry my TASER?
It depends, as the law can be vague or grey in some locations. Although the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) does not consider TASER devices to be firearms, several states are regulating them under that legal framework. There are several states that require a permit for conceal carry, particularly those that have licensing requirements for possession.
- New York strikes down their stun gun ban as unconstitutional and in violation of the 2nd Amendment.