Taser Laws in Nebraska: Are they Legal?

Tasers are steadily gaining popularity in self-defense circles among some concerned citizens. Tasers give you range and effective stopping capability when they work as advertised, and they are an attractive less lethal option compared to a firearm. And, frankly, some people just aren’t comfortable with the idea of guns…

flag of Nebraska
flag of Nebraska

But despite the advantages and the proven track record of tasers in their niche, they aren’t legal everywhere. How about in Nebraska? Are tasers illegal in Nebraska?

Yes, tasers and stun guns are completely legal to buy and possess in Nebraska. However, carrying them concealed is a somewhat nebulous issue under the state statutes, and various cities and municipalities have their own laws covering them.

Nebraska is a pretty good state for taser ownership. However, the fact that tasers don’t have a reliable definition under the weapons statutes means that they occupy something of a shadowy zone concerning whether or not they might be construed as a deadly weapon per se.

This means that concealing one, without a permit, might be a bit dodgy. I’ll try to explain everything below…

How are Tasers Classified in Nebraska?

Like I said above, tasers don’t really have a specific legal definition under the Nebraska revised statutes.

Most states either give tasers and stun guns their own specific definition, or lump them in under an existing definition for dangerous weapon, deadly weapon and sometimes even firearm. But not Nebraska!

It might seem like a simple thing, but the legal definition of an item is critically important for determining how it interacts with the language in other statutes, at least it is important if you don’t want to go digging through mountains of case law looking for a precedent to sort these things out.

At any rate, you can see the most relevant terms concerning weapons defined below, and at least see that taser does not fit under either of the ones relevant to firearms. However, looking in 28-1406 we see that it is possible for tasers to be considered deadly force, so do keep that in mind.

28-1201. Terms, defined.

For purposes of sections 28-1201 to 28-1212.04, unless the context otherwise requires:

(1) Firearm means any weapon which is designed to or may readily be converted to expel any projectile by the action of an explosive or frame or receiver of any such weapon;

(3) Handgun means any firearm with a barrel less than sixteen inches in length or any firearm designed to be held and fired by the use of a single hand;

28-1406. Terms, defined.

As used in sections 28-1406 to 28-1416, unless the context otherwise requires:

(3) Deadly force shall mean force which the actor uses with the purpose of causing or which he knows to create a substantial risk of causing death or serious bodily harm. Purposely firing a firearm in the direction of another person or at a vehicle in which another person is believed to be constitutes deadly force. A threat to cause death or serious bodily harm, by the production of a weapon or otherwise, so long as the actor’s purpose is limited to creating an apprehension that he will use deadly force if necessary, shall not constitute deadly force;

Are Stun Guns Legal in Nebraska?

Yes, stun guns are legal to purchase, possess and use for self-defense in Nebraska. To be clear, although the terms stun gun and taser are often used interchangeably these two devices are actually very different in terms of construction and application, though they both rely on electricity.

A stun gun is a device that has the electrodes built into the front in a fixed manner, and when it is switched on and it touched to an attacker it will shock them. Tasers, on the other hand, are the devices that similarly rely on electricity to deliver a debilitating shock, but they fire electrodes connected to the unit by wires, greatly increasing the effective range.

As far as Nebraska is concerned, these two devices are the same at the state level though you must research all local municipal and city laws: these laws can be significantly more restrictive than the state’s own…

Can You Carry a Taser Openly in Nebraska?

Yes, you can openly carry a taser or stun gun in Nebraska legally. No permit is required. However, you must be in legal possession of the device.

Can You Carry a Taser Concealed in Nebraska?

Probably. Not a good, reliable answer I know, but the law is somewhat unclear as of now.

As mentioned above in detail, tasers don’t have a reliable definition under the Nebraska state statutes, and accordingly we don’t know how well they interact with the state’s statutes on carrying concealed weapons, specifically found in 28-1202…

28-1202. Carrying concealed weapon; penalty; affirmative defense; applicability of provisions.

(1)(a) Except as otherwise provided in this section, any person who carries a weapon or weapons concealed on or about his or her person, such as a handgun, a knife, brass or iron knuckles, or any other deadly weapon, commits the offense of carrying a concealed weapon.

(b) It is an affirmative defense that the defendant was engaged in any lawful business, calling, or employment at the time he or she was carrying any weapon or weapons and the circumstances in which such person was placed at the time were such as to justify a prudent person in carrying the weapon or weapons for the defense of his or her person, property, or family.

(2) This section does not apply to a person who is the holder of a valid permit issued under the Concealed Handgun Permit Act if the concealed weapon the defendant is carrying is a handgun.

(1) A minor or a prohibited person shall not carry a weapon or weapons concealed on or about his or her person, such as a handgun, a knife, brass or iron knuckles, or any other deadly weapon.

(2) A violation of this section is a Class I misdemeanor for a first offense and a Class IV felony for a second or subsequent offense.

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

Yes. You need to be at least 18 to purchase and possess a taser or stun gun, but you likely need to be 21 in order to safely conceal a stun gun or taser under all conditions because that’s how old you have to be to get a concealed weapons permit.

What Do You Need to Do to Purchase a Taser in Nebraska?

If you want to purchase a taser or stun gun in Nebraska all you’ll have to do is head to a dealer where these devices are sold.

Stun guns are freely available, though you cannot be in possession of one if you are a felon or any other person that is restricted from possessing weapons.

Tasers are similarly easy to purchase, and you can even buy one over the internet and have it sent to you, but chances are you’ll need to complete a background check form for one at a dealer since the manufacturer of these devices keeps records of its customers and users.

Likewise, you cannot be a prohibited person and be in possession of or purchase a taser in Nebraska. See 28-1206. Possession of a deadly weapon by a prohibited person; penalty- for more.

Is Training Mandatory for Taser Ownership?

No. No sort of training is necessary if you want to purchase or possess a taser or stun gun in Nebraska, but if you want to get your concealed weapons permit, you’ll need to undergo the relevant training to qualify.

Where Can You Carry a Taser in Nebraska?

You can carry a taser pretty much anywhere that weapons may lawfully go in the state. Broadly, this means you cannot carry your taser on any school property or into any school building or other facility, and that includes school buses and other conveyances.

As you might expect, you cannot take it into any government building including an office or courthouse, you cannot carry it into any law enforcement-related facility of any kind, and you can’t take your taser into the post office or into any secured or sensitive area, such as beyond the security checkpoint in an airport.

Violating weapons restrictions of this kind in Nebraska is potentially a serious crime, anywhere from a misdemeanor to a substantial felony, so pay attention!

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

The only time you can use a taser lawfully on someone else in Nebraska is in a legitimate case of self-defense. This means you can only deploy it on someone if you are in genuine fear for your life or in fear of great bodily injury.

That’s because tasers are considered a pretty substantial level of force themselves, capable of inflicting death or great bodily injury and kind even if it is not very likely compared to a gun.

Frivolous use of a taser will almost certainly see you charged with aggravated assault or aggravated battery as relevant under the Nebraska state statutes.

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