When it comes to self-defense, the gun is usually seen as the ultimate tool, but guns aren’t appropriate everywhere, for all situations, or for every citizen.
Much of the time, what’s actually needed is an effective weapon that can be deployed at a safe distance but doesn’t qualify as genuinely lethal force…
The taser definitely fits the bill, with a combination of high effectiveness and range that will rarely result in any permanent injury.
But these unique electronic weapons are usually covered by equally unique laws in every state, so if you want to make one a part of your self-defense armory you’ve got to get fluent on the law where you live.
Keep reading, and I’ll tell you everything there is to know about Michigan’s taser laws…
Are Tasers Legal in Michigan?
Yes, tasers are now legal for civilian possession and use in Michigan, though this was not always so.
They were the exclusive tool of law enforcement and other security forces until 2012 when a new bill was signed into law.
But there’s a catch: any civilian that wants to carry or possess a taser for self-defense must be 21 years old or older, and have a concealed pistol permit and also have prerequisite training in the effective carry, use, deployment, effects and risks associated with tasers.
Only then can you carry one legally.
How Does Michigan Define a Taser?
Tasers are referred to as electromuscular disruption devices in Michigan law, defined as any device capable of creating electoral muscular disruption that is used or intended to be used as a defensive device to produce temporary incapacitation of a person by emission of electricity and one that also contains a serialized identification or tracking system, dispensing coded material that is traceable to the purchaser.
This means that any such taser or similar device that is legal for use in Michigan must not only be possessed and carried by a person with a concealed pistol permit and the training to effectively and safely use a taser, but it must also meet the stipulation for traceability detail below.
You can read about this for yourself in 750.224a of the Michigan compiled laws:
750.224a Portable device or weapon directing electrical current, impulse, wave, or beam; sale or possession prohibited; exceptions; use of electro-muscular disruption technology; violation; penalty; verification of identity and possession of license; prohibited use; definitions.
(7) As used in this section:
(a) “A device that uses electro-muscular disruption technology” means a device to which both of the following apply:
(i) The device is capable of creating an electro-muscular disruption and is used or intended to be used as a defensive device capable of temporarily incapacitating or immobilizing a person by the direction or emission of conducted energy.
(ii) The device contains an identification and tracking system that, when the device is initially used, dispenses coded material traceable to the purchaser through records kept by the manufacturer, and the manufacturer of the device has a policy of providing that identification and tracking information to a police agency upon written request by that agency. However, this subdivision does not apply to a launchable device that is used only by law enforcement agencies.
Can You Carry a Taser Openly in Michigan?
Yes, you can openly carry a taser in Michigan but only if you have a concealed pistol permit and the relevant training for carrying a taser as detailed above.
Be perfectly clear, you cannot own or possess a taser, even one carried openly, without meeting the state standards for licensure and training.
Violation of these statutes will result in criminal charges, imprisonment and stiff financial penalties!
Can You Carry a Taser Concealed in Michigan?
Yes. You can legally carry a taser concealed in Michigan so long as you have a concealed pistol permit and the relevant training for the use and risks associated with tasers.
Once again, refer to the sections above for clarification.
However, it should also be pointed out that any person who is lawfully in possession of a taser most immediately disclose that fact to any police officer if stopped while carrying the device on their person or in their vehicle.
Offenses can involve fines of increasing severity and eventually revocation of your concealed pistol permit.
See section 28.425f of the Michigan Compiled Laws:
28.425f Concealed pistol license; possession; disclosure to peace officer; violation; fine; notice to department; suspension or revocation by county clerk; entry into law enforcement information network; seizure by peace officer; forfeiture; “peace officer” defined.
(1) An individual who is licensed to carry a concealed pistol shall have his or her license to carry that pistol and his or her state-issued driver license or personal identification card in his or her possession at all times he or she is carrying a concealed pistol or a portable device that uses electro-muscular disruption technology.
(2) An individual who is licensed to carry a concealed pistol and who is carrying a concealed pistol or a portable device that uses electro-muscular disruption technology shall show both of the following to a peace officer upon request by that peace officer:
(a) His or her license to carry a concealed pistol.
(b) His or her state-issued driver license or personal identification card.
(3) An individual licensed under this act to carry a concealed pistol and who is carrying a concealed pistol or a portable device that uses electro-muscular disruption technology and who is stopped by a peace officer shall immediately disclose to the peace officer that he or she is carrying a pistol or a portable device that uses electro-muscular disruption technology concealed upon his or her person or in his or her vehicle.
Where Can You Carry a Taser in Michigan?
You can carry a taser anywhere that you are legally allowed to do so as long as the taser is lawfully possessed.
That being said, there is quite a long list of places where you are not, specifically, allowed to carry any taser.
You can read about these prohibited places for yourself in (lengthy) section 28.425o, but I have included the abbreviated list below for your convenience.
For instance, you cannot carry your taser into a school or onto any school property with the sole exception that you are a parent or legal guardian dropping your child off or picking your child up from the school.
You also cannot carry your taser into any public or private child care center or daycare, into any sports arena or stadium, or into any bar or tavern licensed as such under Michigan law that drives its primary source of income from the sale of alcohol consumed on the premises.
Also noteworthy that you cannot carry your taser into any property or facility owned or operated by a church, synagogue or other religious institution unless that institution’s officials know that you are carrying a taser and permit you explicitly to do so.
Finally, you cannot carry your taser into any entertainment facility that has a seating capacity of 2,500 or more, into any hospital, or into any college or university dormitory or classroom.
Whew! Quite a long list. And you definitely don’t want to violate the statute regarding these prohibited places because you’ll be charged at first with a civil infraction and fined $500, along with having your concealed pistol permit suspended for 6 months.
Subsequent violations will result in total revocation of your permit, increasing fines and eventually prison time.
How Old Do You Have to Be to Possess a Taser in Michigan?
You must be 21 years of age or older to possess a taser in Michigan. This is because you must be 21 years of age or older to get a concealed pistol permit in the state, and that permit is a prerequisite for taser ownership.
Anyone younger who’s in possession of a taser for any reason except a reason that is exempted under 750.224a is violating the law.
Are Any Persons Restricted from Carrying a Taser in Michigan?
Anyone who is not expressly permitted under the state statutes above from possessing a taser may not possess a taser in the state of Michigan, under penalty of law.
Also, anyone who is otherwise unable to obtain a concealed pistol permit will of course be unable to possess a taser in the end, outside of any other disqualifications.
Generally speaking, this means that a person must be free of any felony charges from any state, not be convicted of any misdemeanor charges of assault or domestic violence, or any misdemeanor crime involving a taser or other electrical discharge weapon, and must be mentally fit, i.e. not adjudicated mentally incompetent.
When Can You Use a Taser in Michigan for Self-Defense?
Even though a taser is typically classified as a less-lethal weapon, it is not a less-than-lethal weapon, and the deployment of a taser is still considered a significant use of force, one that may result in life-altering consequences for the target.
Accordingly, you must only ever deploy your taser in self-defense when you’re genuinely afraid that you will be attacked and harmed, and the use of that taser is proportional to the force that is imminently, unlawfully about to be used against.
For instance, you cannot use your taser to settle an argument or because someone insulted you.
You cannot use your taser in response to simple battery like someone throwing a drink in your face or pushing you.
You can use your taser if someone is threatening to beat the crap out of you or is threatening you with any sort of unlawful lethal force.
The unlawful or unethical use of a taser can result in substantial criminal charges, so you should only ever draw and deploy it when you’re legitimately afraid for your own well-being and can articulate as much in court.
Are there Any Other Laws Concerning Tasers to Know about in Michigan?
No, not concerning civilian carry or possession. Just make sure you get your concealed pistol permit, obtain the prerequisite training for the safe use of your taser and all relevant risks, and then avoid carrying the taser in any location where it is forbidden by law and you’ll be good to go.
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.