Know Your Rights: A General Guide to Stun Gun Laws in the United States
Gun violence across the US is such a loaded topic these days… pun intended.
While some argue firearms are essential for self-defense, others insist lethal weapons are unnecessary and not regulated enough to prevent mass shootings.
Regardless of your stance on the 2nd Amendment and gun ownership, you can’t have a conversation about fast, effective self-defense without talking about stun guns.
Perhaps stun guns are overlooked because there are no Old Western films showing Marlon Brando rob a bank with a couple of electronic immobilization devices. Stun guns just don’t have the same notoriety as the traditional guns they’re named after.
If you’re a savvy consumer looking to get one of the most effective self-defense tools on the market today, make sure you stay well informed on stun gun laws. Much like gun laws, stun gun laws vary by state and change all the time.
Keep reading to see the most up to date info on stun gun laws.
But first, an important PSA…
Remember: Stun Guns Are NOT Tasers
Taser, stun gun.
Tomato, tomahto… Right?
Tasers and stun guns are actually quite different and therefore governed by different laws.
Both tasers and stun guns use electric shock to immobilize an attacker. However, stun guns require direct physical contact with the assailant and tasers do not.
Despite the name, stun guns don’t look much like guns at all! To use a stun gun, you must be close enough to hold the device against the body of an attacker. The electrical prongs on the stun gun overload the attacker’s nervous system and muscles in a matter of seconds.
Stun guns are usually smaller, cheaper, and easier to use than tasers. They come in many shapes and sizes. Stun guns can look like brass knuckles, flashlights, Walking Canes, keychains, cell phones, you name it.
Tasers, on the other hand, look much more like guns and can shock an assailant from up to 15-20ft away. Tasers are what most people have seen in movies or watched police officers use: pulling the trigger of a taser shoots out electrical probes that immobilize the attacker from a safe distance. Tasers are larger, harder to conceal and require good aim to be effective.
Why does this matter?
Some states that allow larger electronic immobilization devices, like tasers, do not allow stun guns.
Where Can You Own a Stun Gun? (Stun Gun Laws By State)
Stun guns are a powerful and non-lethal method of self-defense, making them very popular. But stun gun laws vary by state, and some countries outlaw them altogether.
The following countries outlaw or heavily restrict stun guns:
- New Zealand
- The UK
- Hong Kong
- India (for Police only)
Stun guns are legal to own in all of the United States, except the following:
- Hawaii – Illegal to buy/sell or own a stun gun
- Massachusettes – Illegal to buy/sell or own a stun gun
- Rhode Island – Illegal to buy/sell or own a stun gun
- Michigan – Illegal to buy/sell or own a stun gun
The City of Chicago does not allow buying/selling or owning stun guns.
Wisconsin allows stun guns, but with more restrictions than most states. For example, you must have the same Concealed Carry Weapons (CCW) license necessary for a firearm to carry a stun gun in Wisconsin unless you’re transporting it in a case or are from out of state.
Though legal, you cannot order a stun gun by mail if you live in Connecticut.
Other than these places, you are free to purchase and carry a stun gun with no legal restrictions.
Note: *It used to be illegal to buy/sell or own stun guns in New York. But thanks to a new law effective Spring of 2019, you can now order a stun gun in NY.*
Who Can Buy a Stun Gun?
Assuming you live where stun guns are legal, there are only a few basic restrictions to buying this self-defense tool.
- You must be at least 18 years old
- You cannot have a felony record
- Stun guns are only for self-defense
If you are a minor, or the seller has reason to believe you intend to use a stun gun as an attack weapon to commit a crime, you cannot buy a stun gun.
Other than that, in most states where stun guns are legal, you don’t have to buy a permit, go to any training classes, or even conceal your stun gun while you carry it.
The way stun guns are so easy to access and use makes them an excellent self-defense tool for women. If you or an important woman in your life aren’t comfortable carrying around a loaded weapon, consider one of these many options of stun guns that are lightweight and easy to conceal.
So what are you waiting for?
You don’t have to give up your guns to own a stun gun or taser. However, these EID’s could be a great addition or alternative to more lethal pistols and handguns.
For more information on the different types of stun guns, tasers, and other personal self-defense weapons, browse around our store. You’d be surprised how easy it is to conceal a weapon that could save your life.