When it comes to civilian self-defense, tasers get kind of a bad rap. Though they are limited in their application compared to pepper spray, and nowhere near as decisive as a firearm, they still fill an important gap when it comes to intermediate force.
There are many situations where a firearm or knife is just not called for, but pepper spray might make things worse. If you need to drop an assailant without a massive risk of debilitating injury, and do so quickly, tasers are great…
But, because these devices are so unique, most states have wildly varying laws concerning civilian possession and carry of them.
If you want to make a Taser a part of your self-defense EDC, you’ll need to figure out these laws.
Today we’re looking at Florida, and there is a lot to like! Keep reading, and I’ll tell you more below.
Are Tasers Legal in Florida?
Yes. Tasers are completely legal for law-abiding citizens in Florida. You don’t even need a concealed weapons permit to purchase or carry one.
You may also take a taser anywhere that you have a legal, lawful right to be as long as it doessn’t violate any of the other states statutes.
How Does Florida Define a Taser?
Florida defines tasers as a unique category of weapon, one known as a dart firing stun gun.
Florida defines a dart firing stun gun as any device that has one or more darts capable of transmitting an electrical current.
Tasers might also potentially fit under the definition of electric weapon or device, meaning any device that through the application of electrical current is intended to be used for offensive or defensive purposes, the destruction of life or the infliction of injury.
Properly used and in most cases, a taser will not inflict any permanent injury to the target to say nothing of a fatal injury and so accordingly will be defined most accurately as a dart firing stun gun under Florida state statutes.
The exact definitions of both can be found in 790.001, included verbatim below for your convenience:
As used in this chapter, except where the context otherwise requires:
(14) “Electric weapon or device” means any device which, through the application or use of electrical current, is designed, redesigned, used, or intended to be used for offensive or defensive purposes, the destruction of life, or the infliction of injury.
(15) “Dart-firing stun gun” means any device having one or more darts that are capable of delivering an electrical current.
Can You Carry a Taser Openly in Florida?
Yes, absolutely. Any citizen, be they a visitor or Florida resident, may lawfully carry a taser openly for the purposes of self-defense.
This is readily clarified under 790.053 which covers the open carrying of weapons:
790.053 Open carrying of weapons.
(1) Except as otherwise provided by law and in subsection (2), it is unlawful for any person to openly carry on or about his or her person any firearm or electric weapon or device. It is not a violation of this section for a person licensed to carry a concealed firearm as provided in s. 790.06(1), and who is lawfully carrying a firearm in a concealed manner, to briefly and openly display the firearm to the ordinary sight of another person, unless the firearm is intentionally displayed in an angry or threatening manner, not in necessary self-defense.
(2) A person may openly carry, for purposes of lawful self-defense:
(a) A self-defense chemical spray.
(b) A nonlethal stun gun or dart-firing stun gun or other nonlethal electric weapon or device that is designed solely for defensive purposes.
(3) Any person violating this section commits a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
Can You Carry a Taser Concealed in Florida?
Yes, you can, and you don’t even need a concealed weapons permit to do it.
This is often confused under 790.01 which specifies in paragraph one that any person who concealed carries an electric weapon or device is committing a first degree misdemeanor.
But make sure you read the exceptions provided in subsection 3, which heading (b) provides that a person may carry for lawful self-defense, in a concealed manner, a non-lethal dart firing stun gun designed solely for defensive purposes.
This is one issue that people commonly get wrong, so I’m including the relevant excerpt of the text below:
790.01 Unlicensed carrying of concealed weapons or concealed firearms.
(1) Except as provided in subsection (3), a person who is not licensed under s. 790.06 and who carries a concealed weapon or electric weapon or device on or about his or her person commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
(3) This section does not apply to:
2. A nonlethal stun gun or dart-firing stun gun or other nonlethal electric weapon or device that is designed solely for defensive purposes.
(4) This section does not preclude any prosecution for the use of an electric weapon or device, a dart-firing stun gun, or a self-defense chemical spray during the commission of any criminal offense under s. 790.07, s. 790.10, s. 790.23, or s. 790.235, or for any other criminal offense.
Where Can You Carry a Taser in Florida?
You can carry your taser anywhere you have a legal, lawful right to be in Florida with a few exceptions…
Most notably, you cannot carry your taser onto the grounds or other property of any school, and the school definition is quite a broad one in Florida, applying to elementary schools all the way up to colleges, universities and post-secondary education institutions.
You also cannot carry your taser into any city, county, state or federal government building or into the secure area of any airport, typically defined as the area passed the security checkpoint and scanners.
How Old Do You Have to Be to Possess a Taser in Florida?
Anyone that is age 18 or older may legally possess a taser so long as they do not have any felony convictions on their record or misdemeanor crimes of assault or domestic violence, or any previous conviction of misuse of a taser or similar electric weapon.
Also, there are some special statutes restricting tasers from the possession of anyone convicted of certain juvenile offenses that would have been categorized as felonies if the offender was an adult at the time the offense was committed.
This restriction applies until the person is at least 24 years old, and depending on the crime and question does not necessarily mean they will have their right to own and possess a taser restore once they turn 24.
If you were a young delinquent who turned your life around, you might need to consult with an attorney to look into getting your criminal record expunged in your civil rights are stored if you want a taser in Florida.
Are Any Persons Restricted from Carrying a Taser in Florida?
Yes. Florida specifically forbids any person to be in possession of a taser or other electric weapon or device:
- if they have been convicted of a felony in the state of Florida,
- if they were found to have committed a delinquent act that would have been a felony if committed by an adult offender by any such person under 24,
- if they have been convicted or committed any crime against the United States designated as a felony,
- or found guilty of any offense punishable by a prison term exceeding one year.
A full list of persons prohibited from taser ownership and the restoration of such rights can be found in 790.23 of the Florida state statutes.
When Can You Use a Taser in Florida for Self-Defense?
Florida is definitely pro self-defense when it comes to citizens, and you’ll rarely find any state that is more permissive when it comes to tasers in civilian hands generally. However this doesn’t mean you can run around tazing people without good cause!
The use of a taser is still considered force, and though a thorough discussion of the ethical use of force and self-defense and the legal ramifications of doing so is beyond the scope of this article, there are generally some clear-cut circumstances when it is okay, and not okay, to deploy your taser.
Broadly speaking, you want to only use your taser when you genuinely feel in fear for your safety.
This means that you reasonably, sincerely believe someone is going to imminently use unlawful force against you.
As always, your use of force must be proportional to the force being used against you.
- If someone is threatening you with death or great bodily injury, the use of the Taser is absolutely justified.
- If someone is threatening to beat you, that is punch or kick you, the use of the taser is almost certainly justified.
- If someone has it simply touched you or committed simple battery by throwing a drink in your face or something like that, the use of your taser is probably not justified.
Likewise, you can never, ever use your Taser to scare or intimidate someone, to win an argument or in response to an insult or verbal harassment.
Understand this: tasers are typically thought of as non-lethal weapons, but they are more properly classified as less-lethal weapons, meaning they are a lot less likely to be lethal compared to a knife or gun.
You will be responsible for the outcome whenever you deploy your taser, whether it is justified or not, so keep that in mind!
Are there Any Other Laws Concerning Tasers to Know about in Florida?
Not really. There are specific statutes covering the criminal use of tasers, carrying a taser for any illegal purpose, and so forth, but these can be broadly lumped under the admonishment to not be a criminal!
If you are a criminal, you cannot and should not carry a Taser in Florida…
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.