Are Tasers Legal in Virginia? What You Should Know

When it comes to self-defense weapons, one problem you’ll have to navigate is the fact that every state, and most municipalities, have their own laws concerning them.

flag of Virginia
flag of Virginia

Worse yet, different weapons will have different laws that affect them! A great example of this are Tasers.

Tasers are showing increased popularity among everyday people for self-defense use, especially for folks who don’t want to or can’t carry a gun.

But the laws covering tasers vary considerably from place to place, and they aren’t legal everywhere if you can believe it. How about in Virginia? Are Tasers legal in Virginia?

Yes, tasers are legal in Virginia to purchase, possess, and carry for self-defense. However, tasers cannot go into weapons-restricted areas and may not be possessed by felons and other prohibited persons.

Somewhat surprisingly, Virginia is very amenable to the idea of tasers in civilian hands, and it’s also a state that shows a proportionally high level of taser ownership considering the restrictions they have on firearms.

But even though they’re easy to get and easy to carry, assuming you don’t have a criminal record, there’s still plenty you’ll need to know before you commit. I’ll tell you all about it down below.

How are Tasers Classified in Virginia?

Tasers are categorized as “stun weapon(s)” in Virginia, defined as any device that emits a momentary or pulsed electrical output that’s capable of temporarily incapacitating a person.

Read Virginia’s definition for yourself in 18.2-308.1.

18.2-308.1. Possession of firearm, stun weapon, or other weapon on school property prohibited; penalty.

G. As used in this section:

“Stun weapon” means any device that emits a momentary or pulsed output, which is electrical, audible, optical or electromagnetic in nature and which is designed to temporarily incapacitate a person.

Are Stun Guns Legal in Virginia?

Yes, they are. Stun guns fall under the broad category of “stun weapons” as defined above, which includes true stun guns and tasers.

To clarify, a stun gun is a device that uses electricity to inflict pain and sometimes a momentary loss of muscular control but it does not fire darts or probes like a taser does.

I know it sounds pedantic, but it’s important to keep these proper definitions in mind because you will see tasers and stun guns lumped into the same category in some state’s statutes, or defined separately in others.

Always keep alert when reading those definitions, because they are important!

Can You Carry a Taser Openly?

Yes, you can. It is legal to openly carry a taser or a stun gun in Virginia as long as the device itself is legal and you are not a prohibited person. Will get into the disqualifications for taser possession in just a couple of sections…

Can You Carry a Taser Concealed?

Yes, you can, and you won’t even need a concealed weapons permit to do so. It is legal and lawful to carry a taser or stun gun concealed in Virginia as long as you obey all relevant laws concerning weapons and you are not a prohibited person.

Are there Age Restrictions on Taser Ownership or Possession in Virginia?

Yes. You must be at least 18 years old or older in order to be in legal possession of a taser or stun gun.

What Do You Need to Do to Buy a Taser in Virginia?

You to purchase a taser or a stun gun from a dealer in Virginia, you’ll need to prove how old you are and, in the case of a taser, fill out a form and potentially submit to a background check.

But regardless of what type of device you are buying and planning on carrying, you must have a clean background in order to legally possess it.

This means you cannot have any felonies on your background, have been adjudicated a juvenile delinquent, deemed mentally defective, or have a variety of other violations or disqualifiers in your history.

Any of the above, and everything else detailed in 18.2-308.2, will disqualify you from possessing a taser or a stun gun, with the notable exception that a disqualified person may still legally possess one in their residence or the surrounding curtilage.

Make sure you open up and read 18.2-308.2 for yourself because what I have included below is only an excerpt!

18.2-308.2. Possession or transportation of firearms, firearms ammunition, stun weapons, explosives or concealed weapons by convicted felons; penalties; petition for restoration order; when issued.

A. It shall be unlawful for (i) any person who has been convicted of a felony; (ii) any person adjudicated delinquent as a juvenile 14 years of age or older at the time of the offense of murder in violation of § 18.2-31 or 18.2-32, kidnapping in violation of § 18.2-47, robbery by the threat or presentation of firearms in violation of § 18.2-58, or rape in violation of § 18.2-61; or (iii) any person under the age of 29 who was adjudicated delinquent as a juvenile 14 years of age or older at the time of the offense of a delinquent act which would be a felony if committed by an adult, other than those felonies set forth in clause (ii), whether such conviction or adjudication occurred under the laws of the Commonwealth, or any other state, the District of Columbia, the United States or any territory thereof, to knowingly and intentionally possess or transport any firearm or ammunition for a firearm, any stun weapon as defined by § 18.2-308.1, or any explosive material, or to knowingly and intentionally carry about his person, hidden from common observation, any weapon described in subsection A of § 18.2-308. However, such person may possess in his residence or the curtilage thereof a stun weapon as defined by § 18.2-308.1.

Is Training Mandatory for Taser Ownership in Virginia?

No. No special training or instruction of any kind is mandatory for taser purchase, ownership or carry in Virginia.

Where Can You Carry a Taser?

You can carry your taser or stun gun anywhere that weapons may lawfully go in Virginia. There are many statutes and restrictions concerning this topic in this state, and you must familiarize yourself with all of them.

But, generally, you cannot carry your taser into any courthouse or courtroom, into any government office or other property, into any school building school property or school bus or other conveyance, and anywhere else where weapons are restricted either on public or private property.

You can’t read about the possession of stun weapons particularly on a school property in 18.2-308.1.

18.2-308.1. Possession of firearm, stun weapon, or other weapon on school property prohibited; penalty.

A. If any person knowingly possesses any (i) stun weapon as defined in this section; (ii) knife, except a pocket knife having a folding metal blade of less than three inches; or (iii) weapon, including a weapon of like kind, designated in subsection A of § 18.2-308, other than a firearm; upon (a) the property of any child day center or public, private, or religious preschool, elementary, middle, or high school, including buildings and grounds; (b) that portion of any property open to the public and then exclusively used for school-sponsored functions or extracurricular activities while such functions or activities are taking place; or (c) any school bus owned or operated by any such school, he is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

When Can You Use a Taser to Defend Yourself in Virginia?

Tasers are completely legal for civilians to possess in Virginia, but that doesn’t mean you can go around using them willy-nilly. In fact, the only time you should ever use your taser on another person is an instance of legitimate self-defense.

Considering that tasers are a significant use of force in and of themselves, you should only deploy them against someone if you are in genuine fear for your life or in fear of great bodily injury.

Note that Virginia is particularly harsh in its circumspection and judgment of civilian self-defense, and simply being afraid is not justification enough for you to taze someone else.

Your use of force must be proportional to the unlawful force that is being used against you, or threatened against you. Get this part wrong, and you will likely be facing serious criminal charges yourself.

It goes without saying that you must never use your taser on anyone else as a joke or prank, to settle an argument or just because you’re upset with…

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