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Can a Felon Own a Taser?

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You have no doubt heard a lot about Tasers and their use by law enforcement agencies across the U.S. Even so, you might not have thought about owning one.

Regardless, let’s take a look at whether or not a felon can own one.

In this blog post, we’ll cover the following:

  • What to Know About a Taser
  • Is a Taser a Firearm?
  • State Taser Laws
  • What to Know About Owning a Taser
  • Taking Precautions


What to Know About a Taser

First, let’s look at exactly what a Taser is.

Developed in the 1960s for use in emergency situations, a Taser is an electroshock weapon that shoots probes connected to wires to deliver electric current to a target.

The term Taser is actually not a name but an abbreviation for Thomas A. Swift Electric Rifle (TASER) taken from a science fiction novel.

A Taser isn’t intended to kill a person because the voltage used is not high enough to be deadly. 

The current used in a Taser is safe and will not disrupt the heart rhythm. It is powered by a battery with the capacity to deliver a current for only a few minutes.

There are actually different types of Tasers, depending on whether it is a civilian or a police Taser. That’s right. The police use a different type of Taser than the civilian population. Is that a surprise?

A police Taser delivers a current lasting only five seconds with the shooting range being up to 30 feet. A civilian Taser can be shot from a range of 15-30 feet and delivers a current lasting 30 seconds.  

Often, a stun gun can be confused with a Taser. A stun gun is different from a Taser in that a stun gun also delivers an electric current, but the stun gun must be in direct contact with the target.

Is a Taser a Firearm?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Tobacco and Firearms, a Taser is not considered to be a firearm.

A Taser is considered to be a defense weapon used in emergencies when someone is being threatened by another and fears for their life. 

By definition, a firearm is any device made or adapted to propel a projectile through a barrel using the energy from expanding gases or any device readily convertible to that use. That is not a Taser.

Since a Taser is not considered a firearm, as a felon, you are not restricted from owning one according to the Gun Control Act of 1968. 

Therefore, having a felony conviction will not prevent you from purchasing and possessing a Taser.

State Taser Laws

Just because a Taser isn’t classified as a gun doesn’t necessarily mean that a felon is allowed to own one. It still depends on the law in each state, regulating the purchase and ownership of a Taser. 

A check of state laws shows that it is legal to own a Taser in 45 states with the exceptions being Hawaii, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, and Rhode Island.   Also, this link indicates that a felon cannot own a Taser in California as well.  You must be at least 18 years old to purchase and own a Taser.

To be on the safer side of things, we highly recommend you use this service to speak with a lawyer for $5 to confirm that you can own a taser in your state.

Now, owning a Taser is still not the same as being able to carry one in public and actually use it. While it is legal to carry a Taser in almost all states, in Connecticut a person cannot carry one in public. 

That is the case for someone with no criminal record just as it is for a person with a felony conviction.

While a background check used to be required to purchase a Taser, this is no longer the case.

That’s right; state laws do not require a background check prior to purchasing a Taser.

What to Know About Owning a Taser

The law in most states maintains that individuals, including felons, can carry a Taser in public. End of story, right? 

Well, not so fast. Think about it. As a felon, you can own and carry a Taser in most states. So, just carry one for protection?

No. That isn’t the best course of action. You still need to consider the potential consequences. 

You own a Taser and take it with you in public for protection. Then, you are in a situation where you feel threatened. So you pull out your Taser and prepare to use it if necessary.

What if there is a police officer close by who sees you brandishing a Taser. Or maybe a civilian who calls 911 to report a potentially dangerous situation. 

Then, the police show up, and there you are in a position of having a Taser in your hand.

If your Taser is carried in a hidden or suspicious manner, legal authorities may view it differently and may mistake it for a firearm. 

They could shoot you, or just arrest you.  

This can put you in the position of facing a deadly weapon charge. Of course if that happens, you should contact a lawyer.

Taking Precautions

With the sensitive nature of your situation, there is no reason to call attention to yourself needlessly by packing a Taser. You face enough restrictions already.

If you want to protect yourself and your home, you need to be cautious regarding what type of weapon you possess.

To not do so could result in your being arrested and possibly going back to prison. Don’t be among the 2/3 of felons who end up back in prison within the first two years of being released.

Don’t make the kind of mistakes you did in the past. You are not defined by your mistakes but in how you recover from them.

So what do you think about this blog post about whether a felon can own a Taser? Have you or someone you know been in this situation? What was that like and what happened? Please tell us in the comments below.

17 thoughts on “Can a Felon Own a Taser?”

  1. And what I think people fail to realize is is most people at some point or another in their life have committed a felony whether they realize it or not. Like in high school or young adult selling a buddy of bag of weed or you give your neighbor a lower tab because he’s got a toothache both of those considered felonies. Or you and your girlfriend in high school send each other nudes that’s considered child pornography a felony there’s so many things that people do that are felonies technically but yet they’re so quick to pass judgment on people that are labeled felons because they got caught doing something. I do completely understand that there are people that should not have the right to own firearms due to them being a danger to themselves and others but I just don’t understand why our government and legal system is so stupid that things can’t be judged by a case-by-case matter it has to be these concrete absolute rules that apply across the board even when the circumstances are different. If people could actually use their brains and think logically in morally this world could be such a better place but that seems like an impossible task at this point and I hate the direction the world is going.

  2. first and foremost who gave the Gov the right to take something they never gave. its a god given right to life and under the constitution it say I have a right to be safe and secure in person and effects so why do the gov steal away gun rights from people that may have committed a crime felon and when you serve your time you are granted your freedom Again but with limitations.(Bull hockey) I have never found one gun law that anyone that wanted to do harm to someone would follow how ever those same laws limits a citizens to be safe and secure. and nowhere in the constitution does it say that they can take away your rights. even with ratification the still can not infringe upon your right to own a firearm it actually says in the constitution that they cannot be taken away but yet here we are.

  3. I wrote a bad check at 18 for $1500

    It got prosecuted as a felony (over $1000).

    I’ve been a felon ever since. I’m 60 years old, I can’t carry a gun, pepper spray (FL), etc.

    Let me tell you in the Miami area things are popping off! I own a liquor store in South Beach and really would like to defend my property.

    These laws are meant to attack the 2nd amendment and take our gun rights away. Way to many things are felonies!

  4. I’m finding inconsistencies between the advice you sometimes give here, and what other sources are saying. You say a felon can own a Taser in California, yet I’ve found several sources that say a felon may not purchase, possess, or carry a Taser in California. The same applies to pepper spray. You can buy it almost anywhere, but you can’t own it in California if you’re a felon. Nor can you own body armor. If you happen to be on a certain list, those intent on exacting their own punishment on you after you’ve already paid your legal debt to society know exactly where to find you, and you’re left completely defensless with a target on your back. People have been murdered that way by people they never even knew. I served my time, and have lived a productive and sin free live for over ten years since I was discharged. I’m an old man now, and no harm to anyone, yet I’ve received threats, including a note on my car several years ago. I don’t feel safe, and I have the right to defend myself, especially when the State has published my name and address for all to see. What am I supposed to do to feel safe? I never go anywhere anymore. I stay at home and distance myself from everyone. This is no way to live.

    Getting back to my question, can you please provide some legal citation that supports your position that I can own a Taser or Pepper spray, because I believe you’re wrong. If so, people here who take your advice may very well find themselves back in prison with njew charges.

  5. No… A firearm, by BATF definition, is any weapon that can CHAMBER a MODERN ROUND or can be modified to chamber a modern round. Therefore, a reproduction of a Colt Peacemaker can be modified to chamber modern ammunition= firearm… .50 cal muzzle loader can NOT be modified as such= NOT a firearm… Gamo/Red Ryder/Daisy/Crosman/etc air rifle= NOT a firearm… ETC…

  6. I agree. I am a felon, I got in trouble way back in the 90s after i got out of the military. I think its balony that i can not carry or have a weapon to protect myself and or my family. Our laws are so stupid its ridiculous. I haven’t been in no trouble since i got out. I only served 6 months on a 2 year sentence and now this felony on my record has made my life a living hell. I have done good for myself and never been into no trouble since then. I even own my own business, But i still can not properly protect myself or my family if someone were to break into my home because i am not allowed to be around firearms. So much for United States and our constitution.. the laws are blown way out of proportion, reaaon being is because in todays world just about everything a person does is considered a felony. And beings a felon can not own or be around guns , this world is in trouble. We are all humans and we all make mistakes in life, but if we stay clear of trouble and lead a productive life we felons should have ours rights restored. Its ridiculous. I dont think our government will ever change the law, so us felons are pretty much screwed. I guess we have to be superman if someone breaks into our homes, because if we can’t protect ourselves or family with guns, i guesd we have to hope we get super powers to take out 2 armed robbers.. thanks alot United States for screwing us felons..

  7. I was convicted of simply bad checks, NO violence, NO weapons, no drugs, just some bad checks!! And this was nearly 18 years ago, and florida law says I cannot carry a Taser?? I mean we are people with lives, and families, and what am i to do when someone breaks into my home and tries to rob and kill me or my family?? Tell the true criminals who are breaking in, today is your lucky day, because I’m a convicted felon and cannot stop you with a taser or a gun!! This countries gun laws for convicted felons are insane!! I mean alot of us are trying to do good and like me, I’ve prospered and made a great life for myself now, but cannot protect myself and my family because of the felon laws!!! What good is a kitchen knife, against someone breaking in on you with the intent of killing, robbing and possibly raping you or family???? A damn kitchen isnt going to do anything against an armed killer!!! That’s what I think about the felin laws.

  8. Everyone here is making good arguments. When the Constitution was written, it was not uncommon to see a 12 year old walking down a road with a rifle helping Mom with “food shopping” so to speak.

    A felony by historical definition was designed to indicate a term of incarceration beyond 10 years. In recent times it has been used to define the seriousness of a crime.

    Recent mass shooting events have proven that crimes classified as a felony do not deter people with mental illness or emotional problems from carrying out their crimes.

    Political correctness only seem to reinforce the beliefs that being convicted of a felony makes those who live in glass houses more fearful of you.

    I strongly believe that someone convicted of a felony should have their rights restored if they have stayed out of trouble for a 5 year period.

    To say that being convicted of a felony reduces the value of that persons life is wrong and unjust.

    Unfortunately, due to other articles in the Constitution, individual states and cities may be selective about who has the right to bear arms.

    Food for thought . . .

    Laws were inacted for businesses and even the government to prohibit lawfully licensed card carrying people from carrying a weapon on certain properties. Nobody seems to complain that it too restricts your right to bear arms.

    As a felon I have the right to purchase a new taser in my state and carry it. Don’t think I don’t

  9. except that D.C. v. Heller said that the right to self defense is a “Fundamental Right” under the U.S. Constitution. The term “Fundamental Right” means a right that is considered so sacred that government regulation of it must pass strict scrutiny that the government’s proposed regulation doesn’t hamper the ability of the person to execute that right. Plus, we don’t have any limiting language in the second amendment AT ALL. Gee, why might that be? Maybe because the framers of the Constitution didn’t want firearms regulated AT ALL- Otherwise they would have said what they meant. If you don’t like the constitution amend it but to restrict someone’s constituional rights based on “Suzie-feel-good” logic is nothing short of treason against the the United States.

  10. First off, a taser isn’t a firearm. This is BATF rules and regulations that have force of federal law that the states are required to abide by under the supremacy clause of the U.S. constitution. This essentially means that the state can’t apply firearms law to tasers, ever as a matter of long standing U.S. Constitutional law that is old enough that qualified immunity claims are but a joke. That said- the appearance of a firearm does not a firearm make. One had better make sure its a firearm before acting. Police don’t get qualified immunity for reckless or willful ignorance of fact or law- they only get qualified immunity if they weren’t put on notice of what the law is, and there’s no argument that government actors weren’t put on notice of 1800s supreme court precedent. Let Mr. PoPo pull that shit because they will be facing a lawsuit that will strip them of every possession they have. You can make sure they can’t afford a pack of cigarettes or even a pair of clean underwear for this shit.

  11. I honestly think laws need to be amended. I could totally support a felon who used a weapon or acted violently being prohibited from owning a gun….but someone who has no history of violence on their record shouldn’t lose the right to defend themselves. Especially when you consider a violent felon could stab someone with a knife, do their time, then after probation they’re able to own / use a knife which they used in their crime but not a gun which they didn’t use. Many states automatically restore rights like voting, I think the same should apply to gun rights. 1) base it on the crime – no violence / violent history rights restored after their sentence / probation ends; had a weapon but only “threatened” with it, maybe a 3-5 yr ban after the sentence ends, use a weapon 10+ yrs ban after sentence / probation. 2) restore the rights automatically after a certain time period of time rather than make the person who has paid their debt to society jump through all sorts of hoops to try to be a “regular” citizen again.

  12. I was convicted 30 years ago.since them I haven’t had any trouble.i have led a good law abiding life.i recently purchased a civilian taser but I am a little worried about carrying it in ohio.so it sits in a box.i don’t want a gun.i just want to be able to carry my taser

  13. I don’t see any problems with a felon owning a taser if a felon wants to hurt or kill someone there’s other objects he or she could use other than a taser so i don’t see any problems with a felon owning a tasers think outside the box guy’s.

  14. I can’t wrap my mind around why being caught with drugs one time means you lose the right to defend yourself with anything above a stick….God gave me the right to arm myself, “he who haveth not a sword, sell your ckoak and buy one.” I will die for that right.

    • Completely agree. As a 100lb a single female with a family to protect, I feel like I should be able to protect myself & my children regardless of a felony I got almost 15 years ago. Not fair to me or my children.


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