Adults in Wisconsin don’t need a permit to have a stun gun or Taser in their own homes or businesses. But if you want to carry an electric weapon anywhere else, you’ll need a concealed carry license. Read on to learn about the state’s restrictions on the possession and use of stun guns at Tasers.
Wisconsin law uses the term “electric weapon” to refer to any device that’s designed, used, or meant to be used to immobilize or incapacitate someone with an electric current (Wis. Stat. § 941.295 (2019)).
This definition would apply to both stun guns and Tasers, despite their differences. You have to touch someone with the stun gun to deliver a shock. Tasers (a brand name that has become the popular term for these devices) work from a distance by shooting darts attached to wires that transmit the electrical current.
It’s a felony in Wisconsin to carry a stun gun or Taser anywhere other than your own home, land, or business, unless you have a concealed carry license, or the electric weapon is enclosed in a carrying case. This restriction doesn’t apply to peace officers and on-duty military or corrections personnel.
The state will not issue concealed carry licenses to certain people, including those who:
Because of these restrictions, you’ll have to go through a background check before you can get a concealed carry license. You also must show proof that you’ve completed a certified firearms safety or training course. (Wis. Stat. §§ 175.60, 941.295 (2019).)
Minors under the age of 18 aren’t allowed to have an electric weapon unless they’re being supervised by an adult during target practice or an instructional class. Anyone who sells or gives a stun gun or Taser to a minor will be charged with a felony; the penalties are stiffer if the youth kills someone with the weapon. (Wis. Stat. § 948.60 (2019).)
Even if you have a concealed carry license, it’s a misdemeanor to bring a stun gun to an elementary or secondary school, unless you keep it in your vehicle while you’re at the school for authorized business or you’re picking up or dropping off passengers (Wis. Stat. § 948.61 (2019)).
Criminal laws in Wisconsin specifically include electric weapons in the definition of dangerous weapons. That means you could be charged with a crime for using a stun gun or Taser in a negligent way that endangers someone’s safety or causes bodily harm. It also means you could face stiffer penalties for using an electric weapon while committing a crime, including robbery, stalking, or sexual assault.
As with any type of force, you’re allowed to use or threaten to use an electric weapon to defend yourself or someone else. (Wis. Stat. §§ 939.22, 939.48, 939.63, 940.20, 940.24, 940.225, 940.32, 943.32, 948.60 (2019).)
Look Out for Legal Changes
States can change their laws at any time. To see if Wisconsin has made any recent changes to the laws discussed here, or to read the full text, type in the statute number or a phrase in the search button on the state legislature’s statute page.
Some cities and counties in Wisconsin may have their own restrictions on stun guns and Tasers. You may want to contact your local law enforcement agency or a local lawyer with any about your legal rights to carry a stun gun or Taser. If you’ve been charged with a crime that involves an electric weapon, you should speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.