The state of Texas does not regulate possession of stun guns or Tasers. There may be local regulations, however, and Texans across the state could face charges for using these weapons unlawfully. Read on for details.
Stun guns and Tasers deliver an electric current that can incapacitate someone temporarily. While stun guns only shock the target on direct contact, Tasers work from a distance by shooting darts attached to wires; the electrical current passes through the wires and disrupts the target’s neuromuscular system. (Taser is a brand name that has become the popular term for these weapons.)
Under Texas Law, you may buy and carry a stun gun or Taser without obtaining a permit. That's because the open and concealed gun carry laws in Texas apply only to clubs and firearms, and the state's legal definition of firearms excludes stun guns and Tasers (Tex. Penal Code §§ 46.01, 46.02 (2019)).
Only one criminal law in Texas refers specifically to stun guns (defined in a way that applies only to Taser-type devices). It’s felony to take or try to take away a Taser from a police officer or other law enforcement agent. The punishment depends on the type of officer or agent involved. (Tex. Penal Code § 38.14 (2019).)
Despite the lack of other laws mentioning these electronic weapons, it still would be illegal to use a stun gun or Taser to commit a crime. The legal definition of a “deadly weapon” in Texas includes anything that’s capable of causing death or serious bodily injury, either by design or in the way it’s used. Although Tasers and stun guns are considered less-lethal weapons, they can cause injury or even death in some cases. So, for example, you could potentially face sentencing enhancements for brandishing or using a Taser while assaulting or kidnapping someone. Also, under Texas’s deadly conduct law, it’s a crime to put someone else in immediate danger of serious injury—except in self-defense or to defend someone else. Whether these laws would be applied to the use of stun guns or Tasers may depend on the individual circumstances and how prosecutors and juries interpret the law. (Tex. Penal Code §§ 1.07, 9.31, 9.33, 22.02, 20.04, 22.05 (2019).)
Look Out for Legal Changes
States can change their laws at any time, so it’s always a good idea to check the current Texas statutes by using this search tool.
You can contact your local law enforcement agency to find out if there are any local ordinances or regulations that restrict the purchase, possession, or use of stun guns and/or Tasers. But if you’re facing criminal charges that involve the use of one of these weapons, you should consult a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. A local attorney who’s experienced in this area can help protect your rights and explain how courts and law enforcement agencies apply and interpret the law.