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 Virginia 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 Virginia
In Virginia, most people may purchase, posses, or use a stun gun for self defense without obtaining a permit.
However, a convicted felon (or someone convicted of certain crimes as minor) may purchase a stun gun to use only in the person’s dwelling (and surrounding land, if applicable), but may not carry or use the weapon in public.
(Va. Ann. Code § 18.2-308.2.)
Situations or Circumstances Where Carrying a Stun Gun is Illegal
In Virginia, it is illegal to carry a stun gun:
- in a secure airport terminal
- in a courthouse, or
- on school property (including school buses).
(Va. Ann. Code § 18.2-287.01, -283.1, & -308.1.)
Penalties for Stun Gun Carry Violations
It is a class 1 misdemeanor to possess or use a stun gun in a secure airport terminal, in a courthouse, on school property. Penalties include a fine of up to $2,500, up to one year in jail, or both. And a mandatory minimum prison term may apply if you have been convicted of certain prior offenses.
It is a class 6 felony for convicted felons and people who were convicted of certain crimes as minors to carry or use a stun gun in public. Penalties include either a fine of up to $2,500, up to one year in jail, or both; or (at the discretion of the jury or judge), at least one (and up to five) years in prison.
Getting Legal Help
If you have any questions about whether you are allowed to purchase, carry, or use a stun gun in Virginia, or if you are facing charges for a stun gun violation, consult a qualified criminal defense lawyer.