A stun gun (popularly also known as a Taser, the main maker of stun guns) is a non-lethal weapon used primarily for self-defense. People who have qualms about carrying a firearm, but who are also concerned about self defense, often opt to carry a stun gun as an effective but less dangerous form of protection.
This article describes California state law regarding who may not have a stun gun, and the circumstances or situations when carrying a stun gun is illegal in the state.
To learn more about how stun guns work, and how permitting laws vary by state, see States Requiring a Stun Gun Permit.
People Who May Not Carry a Stun Gun in California
In California, most people may purchase, posses, or use a stun gun without obtaining a permit. However, you may not purchase, possess, or use a stun gun, if you are:
- a convicted felon, or someone convicted of an assault or of misuse of a stun gun under federal, California, or another state law
- addicted to any narcotic drug
- younger than 16 years old, or
- at least 16 years old, but younger than 18, without parental consent.
(3 Ca. Penal Code Ann. § 22610.)
Situations or Circumstances Where Carrying a Gun is Illegal
It is illegal to carry or use a stun gun when you are in a secure area of an airport or harbor terminal, or in any government building or certain public community meetings.
As with other weapons, it is illegal to assault someone with a stun gun. Additional penalties apply if you use a stun gun to assault a school employee, peace officer, or fire fighter who you know—or should know—is on duty.
(7 Ca. Penal Code Ann. § 171b & 8 Ca. Penal Code Ann. § 245.5.)
Penalties for Gun Carry Violations
It is a misdemeanor to purchase, possess, or use a stun gun if you fall into one of the categories or are in one of the places discussed above. Penalties include a fine of up to $1,000, up to six months in jail, or both.
Penalties for assaulting someone with a stun gun include a fine, up to three years in prison, or both. If the victim of the assault was an on-duty school employee, police officer, or fire fighter, the maximum prison time increases to four years.
Getting Legal Help
If you have any questions about whether you are allowed to purchase, carry, or use a gun in California, or if you are facing charges for a stun gun violation, consult a qualified criminal defense lawyer.