In recent years, we’ve seen a big uptick in the popularity of Tasers for civilian self-defense. For folks who’d rather carry a less-lethal tool for self-defense, the acquisition of these devices is on the rise.
Unfortunately, some states are still seriously behind the times, and tasers are either heavily restricted or outright illegal in some places. How about in Minnesota? Are Tasers legal here?
Yes, tasers are legal to own and possess in Minnesota. You won’t need a concealed weapons permit to keep one on or about your person, but you must obey all laws for the carry of weapons.
Minnesota is a surprisingly friendly state when it comes to the use of tasers in civilian hands. They are generally straightforward to get, and can be carried as an alternative to a firearm with no need to get a concealed weapons permit.
This can make them an attractive choice for some people. Naturally, there is more you will want to know, so keep reading…
How are Tasers Classified in Minnesota?
Tasers are defined as “electronic incapacitation devices,” or EIDs for short. This is a legal definition in Minnesota characterized as any portable device designed or intended to be used offensively or defensively in order to immobilize or incapacitate a person by means of an electrical pulse or current.
That definitely fits the description of a taser! You can read the exact text of the definition yourself and section 624.731.
However it should be noted that tasers might also meet the definition of a “dangerous weapon,” which is any device designed as a weapon incapable of producing death or great bodily harm.
You can read that definition in 609.02, and make sure you check out the standards for “bodily harm,” “substantial bodily harm” and “great bodily harm”: a taser can inflict all of them!
624.731 TEAR GAS AND TEAR GAS COMPOUNDS; ELECTRONIC INCAPACITATION DEVICES.
Subdivision 1. Definitions. For the purposes of this section:
(2) “electronic incapacitation device” means a portable device which is designed or intended by the manufacturer to be used, offensively or defensively, to temporarily immobilize or incapacitate persons by means of electric pulse or current, including devices operating by means of carbon dioxide propellant. “Electronic incapacitation device” does not include cattle prods, electric fences, or other electric devices when used in agricultural, animal husbandry, or food production activities.
Subd. 6. Dangerous weapon. “Dangerous weapon” means any firearm, whether loaded or unloaded, or any device designed as a weapon and capable of producing death or great bodily harm, any combustible or flammable liquid or other device or instrumentality that, in the manner it is used or intended to be used, is calculated or likely to produce death or great bodily harm, or any fire that is used to produce death or great bodily harm.
Subd. 7. Bodily harm. “Bodily harm” means physical pain or injury, illness, or any impairment of physical condition.
Subd. 7a. Substantial bodily harm. “Substantial bodily harm” means bodily injury which involves a temporary but substantial disfigurement, or which causes a temporary but substantial loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ, or which causes a fracture of any bodily member.
Subd. 8. Great bodily harm. “Great bodily harm” means bodily injury which creates a high probability of death, or which causes serious permanent disfigurement, or which causes a permanent or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ or other serious bodily harm.
Are Stun Guns Legal in Minnesota?
Yes, they are. Although stun guns are classified identically with tasers under Minnesota law, practically speaking these are two distinct devices, as stun guns rely on fixed electrodes attached to the device and don’t project darts or probes in the same way that a taser does.
In the eyes of the law, both devices are covered by the same statutes, but practically speaking, each offers different advantages to users.
Can You Carry a Taser Openly in Minnesota?
Yes, you can. You may openly carry a taser in Minnesota as long as you lawfully possess the device and the device itself is legal. Note that you don’t have to have a permit or any other special permission to open carry a taser in Minnesota, though you should check all local regulations where you happen to be before you commit to doing so.
Can You Carry a Taser Concealed in Minnesota?
Yes, you can carry a taser concealed in Minnesota. You won’t need a concealed weapons permit to do so, though obtaining your concealed weapons permit is always a good idea.
Are there Age Restrictions on Taser Ownership or Possession in Minnesota?
You have to be at least 18 years old or older to buy and possess a taser or stun gun in Minnesota.
What Do You Need to Do to Purchase a Taser in Minnesota?
If you want to purchase a stun gun or taser in Minnesota you’ll need to get one from an authorized dealer who must supply it to you with instructions concerning its use, effectiveness and dangers. You also need to complete a background check in the case of a taser.
In Minnesota, as with most other states, you cannot purchase or own a taser:
- ❌ if you are a felon,
- ❌ if you have any crime of misdemeanor domestic violence in your background or any other assault-related charges,
- ❌ if you have been involuntarily committed to psychiatric care,
- ❌ or if you’ve been adjudicated mentally defective for whatever reason.
Although there is not total overlap, a good benchmark is that if you are prevented for whatever reason from purchasing or possessing firearms, you won’t be able to legally possess a taser.
Violating this statute is a serious misdemeanor in Minnesota, and potentially a felony under certain circumstances!
624.731 TEAR GAS AND TEAR GAS COMPOUNDS; ELECTRONIC INCAPACITATION DEVICES.
Subdivision 1. Definitions.
Subd. 5. Prohibited sale. Except as permitted by subdivision 6, no person shall knowingly furnish or sell tear gas or a tear gas compound to another person. No person shall knowingly furnish or sell an authorized tear gas compound or an electronic incapacitation device to a person prohibited from possessing it by subdivision 3. No person shall knowingly furnish or sell an authorized tear gas compound or an electronic incapacitation device which fails to meet the requirements of subdivision 2. No tear gas, tear gas compound, authorized tear gas compound, or electronic incapacitation device shall be sold or furnished on premises where 3.2 percent malt liquor as defined in section 340A.101, subdivision 19, is sold on an on-sale basis or where intoxicating liquor as defined in section 340A.101, subdivision 13, is sold on an on-sale or off-sale basis. No person shall sell tear gas, a tear gas compound, authorized tear gas compound, or electronic incapacitation device in violation of local licensing requirements.
Is Training Mandatory for Taser Ownership in Minnesota?
No, training is not mandatory for the purchase of a taser or its position in Minnesota, though dealers are required by law to furnish these devices with instructions concerning their use, effects, and dangers.
Where Can You Carry a Taser in Minnesota?
You can carry a taser in many places throughout Minnesota, but you can’t just carry them anywhere, as they are subject to many of the same restrictions and regulations concerning other weapons.
For instance, you cannot carry a taser into:
- ❌ any place of worship without the express permission of the head authorities of the place of worship,
- ❌ into any public housing project,
- ❌ any courthouse,
- ❌ into any school or onto any school property including school buses and other conveyances,
- ❌ or into any government building, installation or office, including municipal, state and federal buildings. Don’t forget, that includes the post office!
When Can You Use a Taser to Defend Yourself in Minnesota?
A taser can only be used for lawful self-defense in Minnesota, and that means you should only deploy it against someone if you are in legitimate fear for your life or and fear of bodily harm.
If you use your Taser for some frivolous or unlawful reason, you will certainly be facing felony charges in Minnesota! Remind yourself that Tasers are still capable of inflicting great bodily harm or even death in some cases and such outcomes are not unheard of even in the current decade.
Tom Marlowe practically grew up with a gun in his hand, and has held all kinds of jobs in the gun industry: range safety, sales, instruction and consulting, Tom has the experience to help civilian shooters figure out what will work best for them.