Any time you commit to a self-defense weapon to carry or use, it’s important to know the laws relevant to that weapon. Do you live in New York now or have plans to travel there soon? Is a taser gun on your “must have” list for self-defense? Most states do allow for the purchase, carry, and use of a taser gun. Some have restrictions on these devices, and some don’t. Are taser guns legal in NY? Let’s answer that question and set you on the path to choosing the best self-defense weapon for your situation (and your state).
Taser guns are not legal in New York. State penal code section 265.01 lists the possession of an “electronic dart gun” as a 4th degree criminal offense. Taser guns fit in to New York’s definition of an electronic dart gun. It reads,” “Electronic dart gun” means any device designed primarily as a weapon, the purpose of which is to momentarily stun, knock out or paralyze a person by passing an electrical shock to such person by means of a dart or projectile.”
How Does A Taser Gun Work?
Fitting New York state’s definition perfectly, when you fire a taser gun, two metal darts are shot up to 15 feet from the weapon and attach firmly to a target with small barbs. Once they have made contact, an electric shock is delivered to the target through conductive wires connecting the darts to the device. The electrical current can jump through up to 2″ of clothing, so can still be effective on an attacker who is wearing thick layers. The shock will temporarily disable the target through neuromuscular incapacitation. Basically, they lose all control of their muscles and this buys you time to run to safety.
What Does A Taser Gun Look Like?
Most taser gun models, except the Bolt, look similar to a pistol. They have a handle and trigger, top mounted and laser sights, and the cartridges are shot from the front end, or muzzle, of the device. It could be fairly easy to mistake a taser gun for a handgun. They do typically have bright yellow branding or accessory pieces, which does help distinguish them from other weapons.
The Bolt mentioned above has more of streamlined design. The handle curves more gently into the front end of the weapon and it is more compact than other models. Looking at the X26P, you can see the more stark resemblance between it and a standard pistol. Each taser model is designed to be comfortable to handle and offer effective aim for its user.
What Happens If I Have A Taser Gun In New York?
New York’s penal code does address penalties for carrying taser guns (electronic dart guns) and other non-lethal weapons. The severity and punishment of each offense is outlined clearly in the code. Let’s look at a brief description of these penalties.
- If you are found to possess a taser gun, you could be charged with a Class A Misdemeanor and subject to a fine of up to $1,000 or a year in jail, or both. Selling, loaning out, or gifting another person with taser gun will also get you a Class A Misdemeanor charge.
- If you have an existing criminal conviction on your record and you are found to have disposed of a taser gun in New York, you could face a Class D felony charge. This could result in a fine of up to $5,000 and 1 to 7 years in prison, or both.
- A Class E felony charge can be assessed if you are found to threaten to use, possess, or display a taser gun while also found to be stalking another person. This charge comes with a penalty of a fine up to $5,000, 1-4 years in prison, or both.
Are There Exemptions To The Law?
There are some people who may be exempt from the laws restricting taser guns. Peace officers and law enforcement personnel may not be held to the same restrictions as the general public. Military members who are serving official duty in the state of New York may also be exempt from the penalties enforced when carrying a taser gun or other “electronic dart gun”.
If you are a peace officer, law enforcement, or military member and not totally familiar with exemptions for taser guns, it is best to call your local agency for clarification.
What Else Should I Know?
The regulations in New York are the same for carrying electronic stun guns as for taser guns. Neither weapon is legal for civilian purchase, carry, or use in the state. You should always consult local law enforcement with any questions you may have in regards to these or other self defense tools.
If you are traveling through New York, it is best to leave your taser gun at home. A simple traffic stop could cost you the penalties of a misdemeanor offense, making for a very costly road trip.
There are other non-lethal self defense devices you can carry in New York to protect yourself, such as pepper spray. There are regulations addressing this product, too. For example, pepper spray products cannot be legally shipped to a New York address. This video explains the shipping restriction well.
Each state has its own laws regarding the carry, use, and sale or purchase of taser guns (or similar devices). It’s imperative to study your home state guidelines and review those of states you will be visiting or traveling through. Are taser guns legal in NY? For now, they are not.
If you live there or have plans to visit, you’re going to need to find a different means of self defense. Laws change, so check with your local enforcement agency regularly to see what updates have been made to allow taser guns to defend yourself.