Stun Gun Laws in Pennsylvania

Learn about Pennsylvania’s rules on the possession and use of stun guns and Tasers.

By , Legal Editor

Most people in Pennsylvania can buy stun guns and Tasers without a permit. But the state's restrictions on gun ownership also apply to these weapons. And no one may use a stun gun or Taser for an illegal reason. Read on for details.

What Counts as a Stun Gun Under Pennsylvania Law?

Stun guns and Tasers are hand-held devices that can temporarily immobilize or incapacitate someone with an electrical current. Stun guns require direct contact, while Tasers work from a distance by shooting darts attached to wires that transmit the electrical current. (Taser is a brand name that has become the popular term for these weapons.)

Pennsylvania law uses the term "electric or electronic incapacitation device" for both stun guns and Tasers.

Legal Use of Stun Guns and Tasers in Pennsylvania

Most Pennsylvanians may legally possess a stun gun or Taser without a permit. Unless you're a law enforcement officer, however, you may only use one of these weapons with a reasonable amount of force to defend yourself or your property.

It's a misdemeanor to use a stun gun or Taser for any other reason, but it becomes a felony if you use it with the intent to commit another felony. (18 Pa. Con. Stat. § 908.1 (2019).)

People Prohibited From Possessing or Using Stun Guns and Tasers

You may not possess or use a stun gun or Taser if you are in the class of people prohibited from having firearms in Pennsylvania. This group includes those who:

  • were convicted of certain felonies or other crimes, including domestic violence and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • are subject to a domestic violence protective order that requires them to relinquish their weapons, or
  • have been involuntarily committed to a psychiatric institution or found by a court to be incompetent.

(18 Pa. Con. Stat. §§ 908.1, 6105 (2019).)

Look Out for Legal Changes

You can use this search tool to find the full text of the Pennsylvania laws discussed here, including details on all of the crimes that would make you ineligible to possess stun guns or Tasers. Also, states can change their laws at any time, so it's always a good idea to check the current statute.

Getting More Information and Legal Help

There could be local ordinances or regulations on stun guns and Tasers. If you have any questions about your legal right to own, carry, or use one of these weapons, check with your local law enforcement agency or a local criminal defense lawyer.

If you've been charged with a crime that involved the use of a stun gun or Taser, you should promptly speak with a qualified criminal defense lawyer who can explain how the law applies to your situation and any legal defenses that might be available to you.

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