A stun gun (popularly also known as a Taser, the main maker of stun guns) is any device that emits a momentary or pulsed output, which is electrical, audible, optical or electromagnetic in nature and which is designed to temporarily incapacitate a person.
(Va. Ann. Code § 18.2-308.1.)
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, 18.2-283.1, 18.2-308.1.)
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. A mandatory minimum prison term may apply if you have been convicted of certain prior offenses.
(Va. Ann. Code §§ 18.2-287.01, 18.2-283.1, 18.2-308.1, 18.2-308.11.)
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.
(Va. Ann. Code §§ 18.2-308.2, 18-2-308.10.)
It is a Class 6 felony to knowingly remove a peace officer’s stun gun without permission. 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.
(Va. Ann. Code §§ 18.2-57.02, 18-2-308.10.)
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.