After a Michigan court ruled that the state’s ban on stun guns was illegal, the state legislature amended the law to require a concealed pistol license for civilian possession and use of Tasers. Read on to learn about the differences between Michigan regulations on stun guns and Tasers, license requirements for Tasers, and penalties for violating those requirements.
There are two basic types of hand-held devices that temporarily incapacitate people with electrical currents:
Some state laws treat stun guns and Tasers the same (and may use the same terminology for both). But Michigan’s licensing requirements apply only to Taser-type devices (more on that below).
Before 2012, it was illegal in Michigan to sell or possess any portable device that directs an electrical current designed to injure, kill, or temporarily incapacitate the target. That definition would apply to both stun guns and Tasers. The only exceptions were for on-duty law enforcement officers or certain other individuals (like probation officers and licensed private investigators) who were authorized and trained to use the devices as part of their official duties. However, a Michigan appeals court ruled that a complete ban on consumer possession and use of all stun guns and Tasers, whether in the home or openly carried in public, was an unconstitutional violation of the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms (People v. Yanna, 824 N.W.2d 241 (Mich. Ct. App. 2012)).
Michigan then changed its law to add a licensing requirement for devices that use electro-muscular disruption technology (like Tasers). If you live in Michigan, you may have and use these one of these devices in a reasonable way, as long as:
(Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.224a (2019).)
Since the license to have a Taser in Michigan is the same as for concealed handguns, there are fairly strict qualifications. The state police will conduct a background check, and a number of things on your record will disqualify you, including:
Among other requirements, you must be 21, a U.S. citizen (or in the country legally), and a Michigan resident for six months, unless you qualify for an emergency license. (Mich. Com. Laws § 28.425b (2019).)
Even if you have a Michigan concealed pistol license, it’s illegal to use a Taser except under circumstances that justify the legal use of physical force, including to defend yourself or someone else from an attack or sexual assault. It’s also against the law to carry a Taser in certain places, including:
(Mich. Comp. Laws §§ 28.425o, 780.972 (2019).)
Possession of a Taser without a concealed permit license is a felony, punishable by up to four years in prison and/or a fine of up to $2,000. If you have a license for your Taser but use it against someone unlawfully, you could be found guilty of a misdemeanor and face to 30 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $500.
It’s a civil infraction if you:
Carrying a Taser to any of the prohibited locations is also a civil infraction for the first offense, but it goes up to a misdemeanor for a second violation and a felony for the third one.
Fines for these civil infractions are $100 or $500 (and more for subsequent offenses). Your Taser may also be seized, although there’s a procedure for getting it back if you have a license and show it to the law enforcement agency within 45 days. Your license could also be suspended or even revoked under certain conditions. (Mich. Comp. Laws §§ 28.425f, 28.425o, 750.224a (2019).)
Look Out for Legal Changes
States can change their laws at any time. You can use this search tool to find and read the current Michigan codes discussed in this article.
If you have any questions about whether you are allowed to purchase, carry, or use a Taser in Michigan, or if you are facing charges for a Taser violation, consult a qualified criminal defense lawyer.