When it comes to self-defense implements, most people have unique reasons for choosing their tool of choice. Firearms are overwhelmingly the most common, but pepper sprays and even knives have their place and proponents.
Tasers are becoming increasingly popular in recent years, but despite being considerably less damaging and dangerous than guns, they still aren’t legal everywhere. That’s too bad for people who might want to make use of their unique capabilities.
How about Missouri? Are tasers legal there?
Yes, tasers and stun guns are completely legal in Missouri, and freely available for purchase. They can be carried, openly or concealed, without the necessity of a concealed weapons permit.
If you prefer a taser as a special-purpose item in your self-defense arsenal or you just don’t want to deal with all of the baggage associated with a firearm, Missouri is a great place to invest in one.
They are very easy to get and easy to carry. Keep reading, and I’ll tell you what else you need to know about Missouri’s taser laws…
How are Tasers Classified in Missouri?
At press time, tasers and stun guns don’t really have a specific legal definition to be found in the statutes of Missouri.
Normally, it’s possible they could qualify as deadly or dangerous weapons considering using either of them can potentially inflict great bodily harm or death, but that will be on a situational basis.
If you care to look at 571.010 you’ll see that terms like “taser,” “stun gun,” “electrical control device” and others are nowhere to be found. Also, neither device is lumped in with other catch-all terms like “firearm” or “projectile weapon” as you can see below…
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall mean:
(8) “Firearm”, any weapon that is designed or adapted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive;
(15) “Projectile weapon”, any bow, crossbow, pellet gun, slingshot or other weapon that is not a firearm, which is capable of expelling a projectile that could inflict serious physical injury or death by striking or piercing a person;
Are Stun Guns Legal in Missouri?
Yes, they sure are. Stun guns are distinct devices compared to tasers, even though the two terms are commonly used interchangeably in casual conversations, sometimes even in legal terminology.
To help prevent confusion, stun guns are close-contact electrical weapons that have electrodes built into the front of the device itself, and they will shock the target when they are switched on and then pressed into them.
Tasers, on the other hand, fire a set of darts, or probes, which are basically electrodes that lodge in the target and then conduct a current from the device to them via trailing wires.
Practically there are many differences, though legally, in Missouri, there are none.
Can You Carry a Taser Openly in Missouri?
Yes. You can legally possess and openly carry a Taser or a stun gun in Missouri. No permit or other special permission is required.
You must never display your taser in a threatening manner, and be advised that local laws may prevent you from open carrying if you don’t have a concealed weapons permit.
Be sure to check the laws of the places you visit, work and live in before you open carry a taser or stun gun.
Can You Carry a Taser Concealed in Missouri?
Yes, you can. You can conceal carry a taser or stun gun in Missouri with no need for a concealed weapons permit, but it’s worth mentioning that having the permit gives you additional privileges as detailed in the preceding section.
Also, there are some locations where you can legally carry a taser concealed, with a permit, that you wouldn’t be able to without. Just some food for thought!
Are there Age Restrictions on Taser Ownership or Possession in Missouri?
Yes. You have to be at least 18 years old or older to purchase and possess a taser or stun gun in Missouri.
What Do You Need to Do to Purchase a Taser in Missouri?
If you want to purchase a taser or stun gun in Missouri, all you need to do is find a retailer and then plunk down some cash. Soon enough, you’ll have one in your possession.
You will need to undergo a background check, though… Note that the manufacturer of taser devices, particularly, records purchaser information in their database.
Assuming you don’t have any felonies or any other substantial criminal record, you’ll have one and be out the door in no time.
Is Training Mandatory for Taser Ownership in Missouri?
No. You don’t have to undergo any special training classes to purchase or possess a taser in Missouri, though if you want the concealed weapons permit so you can have more options and privileges when carrying a concealed you will have to undergo training to obtain it.
Where Can You Carry a Taser in Missouri?
You cannot carry your taser on any private property where the owner or the owner’s authorized agent has forbidden the carry of weapons or tasers specifically.
You also cannot carry it:
- into any school or onto any school property or school buses,
- and do any correctional facility,
- and any police department,
- sheriff’s office or courtroom or courthouse,
- into any government building of any kind,
- be it local, state or federal in nature
- and that includes the post office.
Notably, you also cannot carry your taser into a church or into any polling place on voting day. There are some other areas besides, such as airports and other sensitive installations that have restricted areas.
571.030. Unlawful use of weapons, offense of — exceptions — violation, penalties.
1. A person commits the offense of unlawful use of weapons, except as otherwise provided by sections 571.101 to 571.121, if he or she knowingly:
(1) Carries concealed upon or about his or her person a knife, a firearm, a blackjack or any other weapon readily capable of lethal use into any area where firearms are restricted under section 571.107; or
(8) Carries a firearm or any other weapon readily capable of lethal use into any church or place where people have assembled for worship, or into any election precinct on any election day, or into any building owned or occupied by any agency of the federal government, state government, or political subdivision thereof; or
(10) Carries a firearm, whether loaded or unloaded, or any other weapon readily capable of lethal use into any school, onto any school bus, or onto the premises of any function or activity sponsored or sanctioned by school officials or the district school board; or
When Can You Use a Taser to Defend Yourself in Missouri?
The only time you can use your taser in Missouri is in a genuine case of self-defense, and specifically when defending yourself or someone else against a legitimate threat of death or great bodily injury.
That’s because tasers, contrary to popular opinion, are not non-lethal devices; they are properly categorized as less-lethal weapons, with less-lethal meaning that they are only less likely to inflict substantial injuries or death on the target.
And that means anytime you pull the trigger on your taser that possibility exists, and so discharging it is very serious! If the state finds that you tazed someone without justification or did so unreasonably, they’re going to throw the book at you.
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.