Are Stun Guns Legal in Florida?
April 5, 2022 Don Pumphrey, Jr. Criminal Defense Social Share
It’s important that people have ways to defend themselves. In a world where being in the wrong place at the wrong time could prove fatal, or someone enters your home unexpectedly, many Floridians are eager to have self-defense tools handy in order to ensure their safety. One of the most common self-defense tools is a stun gun or Taser. But are they legal to carry in Florida? How and where can you use them? We’ll cover all of this and more in our blog post.
Stun Guns v. Tasers
Stun guns and Tasers both use electrical currents to cause pain to the other person, temporarily incapacitating them. But they work differently in achieving this end.
Stun guns require the user to actually touch the other person directly with the device in order to deliver the painful current of electricity.
In Florida, they are referred to as “electric weapons” when they are being used to, or their intended use is, to defend or attack, the destruction of life, or the infliction of injury.
A Taser is a brand name for this type of device, the popular term that people usually use when referring to this type of self-defense weapon. But a Taser shoots from a distance, using darts with wires attached to deliver the electrical current to the other person. While stun guns cause pain, Tasers will disrupt the other person’s neuromuscular system.
A Taser would be classified as a “dart-firing stun gun” in Florida. This means it is a device that has one or more darts that can deliver an electric current.
Can Everyone Carry a Stun Gun in Florida?
While Florida law does not require a license to purchase or possess a stun gun or Taser designed for self-defense, there are still restrictions on who can use them and under what circumstances.
In Florida, you can face a felony charge for buying, using, or having an electric weapon if you:
- Have been convicted of a felony and have not had your record expunged or your civil rights restored in the State of Florida; or
- Are younger than twenty-four and were convicted of a juvenile offense that would have been classified as a felony if you committed the crime as an adult.
Can Minors Have Stun Guns in Florida?
You cannot use a stun gun in Florida if you are under sixteen years of age. However, you can use it if you are under the direct supervision of an adult who has your parent’s consent. The responsible adult can be charged with a misdemeanor if they knowingly let minors younger than sixteen use or even handle the stun guns without supervision and parental consent. It is also a misdemeanor offense if you sell or give a stun gun to someone under eighteen years of age without their parent’s permission.
When Can You Carry the Stun Gun?
In Florida, it is illegal to carry a stun gun or Taser, in an open or concealed fashion, for a purpose that is not self-defense. Also, the stun gun or Taser has to be nonlethal and designed specifically for self-defense.
You cannot carry a stun gun or Taser in the following places:
- On school property
- On a school bus
- At a school-sponsored event
This limitation applies equally to all schools K-12, colleges, post-secondary schools, and career centers.
Law enforcement officers are exempt from these limitations.
How Can You Use the Stun Gun?
In Florida, it is illegal to brandish the stun gun or Taser in a rude, careless, angry, or threatening way, unless required for self-defense. This offense is generally classified as a first-degree misdemeanor, but it can be charged as a felony if the crime occurs on or near school property, or during a school-sponsored event either during school hours or during the event.
Additionally, it is a third-degree felony to:
- Use a stun gun against an on-duty officer of the peace purposefully; or
- Use, threaten to use, try to use, or show the stun gun or Taser while you are under indictment or are aiming to commit a felony (some nonviolent felonies are omitted).
To learn more about carrying a concealed weapon, click here. To learn more about weapons charges in general, click here.
Tallahassee Criminal Defense Attorney
Weapons charges can be serious, even if they result from just the use of a stun gun. Ensure you are informed, protected, and defended by a qualified Tallahassee criminal defense attorney. Don Pumphrey and the members of the legal team at Pumphrey Law Firm will zealously fight for your rights and guarantee you have equal footing in the courtroom. Call us today at (850) 681 – 7777 or send an online message today to discuss your legal matter during an open and free consultation with an attorney in our team.
Written by Gabi D’Esposito