When it comes to self-defense weapons, tasers can offer you and other defensively-minded citizens some unique advantages: they have more range than pepper spray and they can be a lot more decisive, dropping an attacker in their tracks when those zapping probes connect. But they rarely inflict any lasting, serious injuries!
There’s a reason why police forces rely on them, and why more and more citizens are turning to them. Many states are coming around on the idea of tasers being in civilian hands alongside firearms, but not quite all. How about Kentucky? Are tasers legal in Kentucky?
Yes, tasers are legal in Kentucky and can be carried concealed without a permit since the state adopted constitutional carry in 2019. However, various counties and cities have their own regulations on tasers that must be followed.
This is good news for Kentuckians, because Tasers are a lot simpler to own and carry compared to years gone by.
They were always legal, mostly, but in the past, if you didn’t have a concealed weapons permit, you couldn’t carry a taser anywhere except your own property or other private property where you had permission from the owner.
Not anymore, though! There’s still some stuff you’ll need to know about if you want to make a taser part of your defensive lineup, so keep reading.
How are Tasers Classified in Kentucky?
Kentucky doesn’t really have a specific definition for tasers and other electroshock weapons. This is a little daunting, in some ways. If you want to get really technical, a taser might qualify as a “dangerous instrument” or a “deadly weapon” depending on the circumstances in which it is used.
That isn’t an impediment to legally carrying one, but it is a reminder that tasers are not strictly non-lethal devices. You can read the definitions for “dangerous instrument” and “deadly weapon” yourself below in Section 500.080.
500.080 Definitions for Kentucky Penal Code.
(3)”Dangerous instrument” means any instrument, including parts of the human body when a serious physical injury is a direct result of the use of that part of the human body, article, or substance which, under the circumstances in which it is used, attempted to be used, or threatened to be used, is readily capable of causing death or serious physical injury;
(4)”Deadly weapon” means any of the following:(a)A weapon of mass destruction;(b)Any weapon from which a shot, readily capable of producing death or other serious physical injury, may be discharged;(c)Any knife other than an ordinary pocket knife or hunting knife;(d)Billy, nightstick, or club;(e)Blackjack or slapjack;(f)Nunchaku karate sticks;(g)Shuriken or death star; or(h)Artificial knuckles made from metal, plastic, or other similar hard material;
Are Stun Guns Legal in Kentucky?
Yes, stun guns are also legal in Kentucky the same way that tasers are, and may be carried under the same circumstances. However, as with tasers, cities and counties may impose their own restrictions and regulations concerning the possession or carry of stun guns.
And just to clarify, this isn’t a matter of semantics, either: stun guns and tasers are distinct devices from one another even though they occupy the same sort of niche as weapon systems.
They both use electricity to inflict pain and potentially incapacitate a human, but tasers fire electrodes that have wires trailing back towards the unit through which the charge is transmitted.
Stun guns, on the other hand, have electrodes fixed to the front of the device and will shock a person directly when they are switched on and pressed into them.
Can You Carry a Taser Openly?
Yes, it is legal to carry a taser openly in Kentucky so long as the device is legal and you are lawfully allowed to possess it.
Can You Carry a Taser Concealed?
Yes, you can. Concealed carry of a taser is likewise legal, with no permit required, as long as the taser device is legal and as long as you may lawfully possess the taser.
Remember that Kentucky in the past required a valid concealed weapons permit in order to carry a taser concealed out in public, otherwise, you had to keep it on private property.
However, with the passage of the so-called constitutional carry bill in 2019 now anyone that may legally possess such a device can carry it in public as long as it is not forbidden by municipal laws.
Check out section 237.109 for more information concerning the authorization for the carrying of concealed deadly weapons. It is worth pointing out, though, that the case, Blair v. Commonwealth (2007) established a precedent that tasers are not considered deadly weapons. This precedent is not necessarily ironclad, but it is a good thing for citizens who prefer to carry a Taser for its less-lethal capability.
237.109 Authorization to carry concealed deadly weapons without a license.
(1)Persons age twenty-one (21) or older, and otherwise able to lawfully possess a firearm, may carry concealed firearms or other concealed deadly weapons without a license in the same locations as persons with valid licenses issued under KRS 237.110.
(2)Nothing in this section shall be construed to allow the carrying or possession of any deadly weapon where it is prohibited by federal law.
Are there Age Restrictions on Taser Ownership or Possession in Kentucky?
Yes. You must be at least 18 years old or older to possess a taser in Kentucky. Do note that the law is somewhat unclear on the topic of concealed carry of tasers, however, regarding the age of the carrier: if you want to carry a taser concealed, with or without the benefit of a concealed weapons permit, you might need to be 21 years old.
What Do You Need to Do to Purchase a Taser in Kentucky?
Tasers are freely available in Kentucky for most gun shops and sporting goods retailers that carry guns. You can also buy them online and have them shipped to you directly in the state.
Generally speaking, anyone who is forbidden from owning a firearm will likely be unable to purchase a taser, and should not possess one.
Similarly, anyone who is addicted to a narcotic substance, has been adjudicated mentally defective, is a juvenile delinquent that is under the age of 25 or who has been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence is likewise barred from ownership or possession.
Is Training Mandatory for Taser Ownership in Kentucky?
No. No special training is required to purchase or possess a taser in Kentucky, and with the passage of the constitutional carry bill, you’re no longer required to undergo training to obtain a concealed weapons permit previously necessary for conceal carrying a taser.
Where Can You Carry a Taser in Kentucky?
You can carry a Taser pretty much anywhere you can carry other weapons in Kentucky. Likewise, the typically restricted areas also apply, including schools and school properties, courthouses, restricted installations like airports and other sensitive areas, local, county, state, and federal government buildings, post offices, and so forth.
When Can You Use a Taser to Defend Yourself in Kentucky?
You should only use a taser to defend yourself from the use or threatened, imminent use of unlawful force against yourself or someone else. Nominally, this would be the use of unlawful force against you that could entail a substantial risk of death or bodily injury.
But, considering that there is a precedent in Kentucky where tasers are not typically considered deadly force means that they might be viable as a proportional force for lesser attacks.
As always, I highly recommend that you only use your taser when you have no other choice and when you’re genuinely afraid of injury. The misuse of a Taser could see you charged with significant crimes in Kentucky, so never use it to settle an argument just because someone insults you, or as a joke.
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.