When it comes to less-lethal self-defense options, tasers are a distant second place to pepper spray but they are steadily gaining in popularity these days among the civilians. Tasers offer unique capability, able to reliably drop an assailant in their tracks with an accurate hit, and they have a much lower risk overall of inflicting injury or death compared to firearms.
But, taser laws are significantly different from state to state, and some states heavily restrict them. How about New Hampshire? Are tasers legal there?
Yes, tasers are completely legal to purchase, possess and carry in New Hampshire. However, you cannot be in possession of a taser outside of your own home if you are a convicted felon.
New Hampshire has surprisingly permissive taser laws, and as long as you’re 18 years old, you won’t have any trouble getting your hands on one or carrying it legally. There’re a few jurisdictions in New Hampshire where local laws are significantly more restrictive, but overall the legal landscape is pretty promising. Keep reading to learn more…
How Tasers are Classified in New Hampshire
Tasers are specifically defined under New Hampshire law as “electronic defense weapons,” described as any electronically activated non-lethal device that is capable of immobilizing or incapacitating a person temporarily using electricity.
Obviously, that descriptor fits tasers perfectly. What is also interesting, and something you should pay close attention to, is that the definition of “electronic defense weapon” defines them as non-lethal.
That’s great concerning the New Hampshire state statutes, but practically there is more to consider. Sit on that for just a moment and I’ll circle back to it in a few sections.
159:20 Self-Defense Weapons Defined.
In this subdivision:
I. “Electronic defense weapon” means an electronically activated non-lethal device which is designed for or capable of producing an electrical charge of sufficient magnitude to immobilize or incapacitate a person temporarily.
Are Stun Guns Legal in New Hampshire?
Yes, stun guns are likewise completely legal in New Hampshire the same way that tasers are. That’s because they too fall under the definition of electronic defense weapon.
Practically speaking, the way that stun guns and tasers are used is very different and the devices are considered distinct weapons, but the New Hampshire State statutes make no such distinction.
Ultimately, you should pick whichever one works best for you…
Can You Carry a Taser Openly in New Hampshire?
Yes, open carry of tasers is legal in New Hampshire as long as you may legally be in possession of the device and the device itself meets the definition laid down in 159:20, above.
Note that you don’t need any kind of permit to openly carry a taser or stun gun in New Hampshire.
Can You Carry a Taser Concealed in New Hampshire?
Yes! Happily, you can legally carry a taser or stun gun concealed in New Hampshire, and you won’t even need a permit to do so. However, you’ll still need to be a legal possessor and the device itself must be legal according to the definition in the statutes.
Are there Age Restrictions on Taser Ownership or Possession in New Hampshire?
Yes. You’ll have to be at least 18 years old to purchase, possess, or carry a taser in New Hampshire.
What Do You Need to Do to Purchase a Taser in New Hampshire?
If you want to purchase a taser in New Hampshire, all you need to do is head to a dealer that stocks them.
Stun guns are usually freely available, but for a taser you’ll likely have to complete a background check. If not, know that your personal information will still be recorded and sent to the manufacturer of the device. That is because they are serially linked to the purchaser.
As long as you have no felony convictions or no convictions of misdemeanor domestic violence, or a few other disqualifiers, you should be good to go.
Interestingly, though, New Hampshire law says that felons are allowed to possess a taser or stun gun so long as it is only on the premises of the place that they live. Nowhere else. This, at least, gives some people with past crimes an option to protect themselves lawfully.
159:21 Possession by Felons Prohibited.
Any person who has been convicted of a felony in this or any other state who possesses an electronic defense weapon away from the premises where he resides shall be guilty of a class B felony. Neither the whole nor any part of a sentence of imprisonment imposed for a violation of this section shall be served concurrently with any other term of imprisonment.
Is Training Mandatory for Taser Ownership in New Hampshire?
No. You do not have to undergo any special training to purchase or carry a taser or stun gun in New Hampshire.
Where Can You Carry a Taser in New Hampshire?
Tasers and stun guns can go nearly anywhere in New Hampshire, but they can’t go everywhere.
Most of these restricted places are “the usual suspects” where you would expect to see weapons barred from, including schools and school grounds, the secured area of airports, courthouses, courtrooms and annex buildings, and all government facilities of any level, to include municipal, state and federal installations. That includes the post office, don’t forget!
When Can You Use a Taser to Defend Yourself in New Hampshire?
Even though tasers aren’t classified specifically as deadly or dangerous weapons in New Hampshire, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t capable of inflicting death or great bodily injury. They are, and that’s why I called attention to it earlier…
If you frivolously use your taser or stun gun on someone, or if the use of your taser on an assailant is considered excessive force, you could be setting yourself up for serious charges…
That’s because tasers and stun guns can, have and will continue to cause serious bodily injury or even death- even when used according to the design specifications and in the correct way!
They are truly less-lethal weapons, despite being categorized as non-lethal weapons according to New Hampshire law. That means there’s still a possibility of serious harm when they are used.
For that reason, you should only ever use your taser on someone when you are genuinely in fear for your life or in fear of great bodily injury. See 159:23 below.
159:23 Criminal Use of Electronic Defense or Aerosol Self-Defense Spray Weapons. –
I. Any person who uses an electronic defense or aerosol self-defense spray weapon on a law enforcement officer or another person with intent to commit a crime punishable as a misdemeanor shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
II. Any person who uses an electronic defense or aerosol self-defense spray weapon on a law enforcement officer or another person with intent to commit a crime punishable as a felony shall be guilty of a class B felony.
III. Neither the whole nor any part of a sentence of imprisonment imposed for a violation of this section shall be served concurrently with any other term of imprisonment.
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