Although the self-defense and weapons laws of the United States vary considerably depending on what state you are in, some states stand out as truly byzantine, genuinely tyrannical and outwardly hateful towards the rights of citizens.
New Jersey is one such state, one that never found a case of government overreach and overregulation that it didn’t like. New Jersey is well known for its hatred for guns, and more weapons than that besides. How about tasers? Are tasers legal in New Jersey?
Yes, tasers are legal in New Jersey due to a Supreme Court decision handed down in 2016. However, the statutory regulations on tasers are still on the books, and they are classified as prohibited weapons. Presently, you can purchase and carry a taser because the laws are unenforceable.
You see how they did that? Even when they get smacked down by higher authority in the land, one coming down on the side of the citizens for a change, New Jersey still finds a way to create uncertainty, to make you squirm.
Such is the case with tasers, although the legal situation seems stable enough for now there’s no telling what might happen in the future.
Believe me, if you are considering a taser in the Garden State there is a whole lot you need to know before you pull the trigger. Keep reading…
How are Tasers Classified in New Jersey?
Tasers have a specific definition in New Jersey and also a specific classification among other weapons.
The definition, they are defined as “stun guns,” meaning any weapon which emits a temporary or permanently disabling electrical charge. They are also, most worryingly, still listed in 2:39-3 under prohibited weapons and devices by name.
Prior to the Supreme Court decision, this meant that stun guns were utterly prohibited in New Jersey. No exceptions for civilians whatsoever.
Now, New Jersey has conspicuously left them in the aforementioned section of prohibited weapons, listed accordingly, though the laws have been declared unenforceable concerning these devices. Be wary…
The following definitions apply to this chapter and to chapter 58:
t. “Stun gun” means any weapon or other device which emits an electrical charge or current intended to temporarily or permanently disable a person.
2C:39-3. Prohibited Weapons and Devices.
h. Stun guns. Any person who knowingly has in his possession any stun gun is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree.
So, Tasers are Actually Prohibited in New Jersey?!
No, as has been publicly declared by the New Jersey attorney general’s office and the state police.
At least for now, it is legal to purchase, possess and carry a stun gun or taser in New Jersey. And this isn’t just my conjecture, either: read for yourself the statement from the New Jersey State Police below.
Per the New Jersey State Police’s Firearms FAQ Page:
26. Are Tasers legal? Can I carry one?
Yes, an October 20, 2017 Memorandum from the State of New Jersey Office of Attorney General reviewed the findings of a Supreme Court decision and a Consent Order signed into effect by the State of New Jersey states that Stun Guns in New Jersey are legal for sale and possession with only two restrictions.
You must be 18 years of age or older to purchase or possess and you must not be a certain persons prohibited against purchasing or possessing one as per N.J.S.A. 2C:39-7(a).
Are Stun Guns Legal in New Jersey?
Yes, stun guns are legal in New Jersey. I’m not being redundant here, and this bears a point of clarification: practically speaking, tasers and stun guns are different devices.
Tasers are the ones that fire the darts, or probes, that stick into the target before the current is transmitted into them through wires that connect the probes to the launching device.
Stun guns, on the other hand, are those little box-shaped units that have the electrodes on the front, the ones that arc so menacingly when the device is switched on.
New Jersey makes no legal distinction whatsoever between these two types of devices according to the definition.
Can You Carry a Taser Openly in New Jersey?
Yes. Open carry of stun guns and tasers in New Jersey is still likely prohibited according to a strict interpretation of the laws as written.
Although nominally they’re no longer on the list of prohibited weapons by function of the laws being unenforceable.
For now, you’re probably safe carrying a taser or stun gun openly, but I would highly recommend that you keep it hidden from view while in a public place.
Can You Carry a Taser Concealed in New Jersey?
Yes. Concealed carry of tasers and stun guns should be legal under the current interpretation of the statues.
As long as you aren’t carrying it for any overtly criminal purpose, and you may be in legal possession of the taser, you should be able to conceal it. See 2C:39-4 for more.
2C:39-4. Possession of weapons for unlawful purposes.
d. Other weapons. Any person who has in his possession any weapon, except a firearm, with a purpose to use it unlawfully against the person or property of another is guilty of a crime of the third degree.
Are there Age Restrictions on Taser Ownership or Possession in New Jersey?
Yes. Regardless of the Supreme Court decision, you still have to be 18 years old or older to legally buy, own, and carry a taser in New Jersey.
What Do You Need to Do to Purchase a Taser in New Jersey?
If you want to purchase a taser in New Jersey you’ll need to go to a dealer that sells the device, whichever one you choose.
Note that they can be surprisingly tough to find in this state due to the uncertainty now hovering over the heads of dealers and retailers.
New Jersey is a downright nefarious state when it comes to governance, and it isn’t out of the question that the state might institute new, harsh and potentially devastating statutes concerning the sale and disposition of tasers and stun guns.
In any case, assuming you find a dealer, you’ll be able to purchase one as long as you aren’t a felon, haven’t been convicted of domestic violence, or other reasons that would disqualify you from possession.
See a partial list below, but make sure you open and read the entire section yourself because it’s quite lengthy when it comes to disqualifying factors.
2C:39-7 Certain persons not to have weapons or ammunition.
6. Certain Persons Not to Have Weapons or Ammunition.
a. Except as provided in subsection b. of this section, any person, having been convicted in this State or elsewhere of the crime, or an attempt or conspiracy to commit the crime, of aggravated assault, arson, burglary, escape, extortion, homicide, kidnapping, robbery, aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault, bias intimidation in violation of N.J.S.2C:16-1, carjacking in violation of section 1 of P.L.1993, c.221 (C.2C:15-2), gang criminality in violation of section 1 of P.L.2007, c.341 (C.2C:33-29),(…)
Is Training Mandatory for Taser Ownership in New Jersey?
No. At press time, New Jersey does not mandate any special training or other qualifications to purchase or possess a taser.
Where Can You Carry a Taser in New Jersey?
Carrying any kind of weapon in New Jersey is fraught with peril, and even though tasers have something of a special exception presently, all of the other statutes concerning weapons still apply to them…
Generally, you cannot carry your taser anywhere that has a sign up barring firearms or other weapons, or into any school or onto any school grounds, you can’t carry it into a courtroom or courthouse, nor into any other government building, be it state, local, or federal.
As usual, you also cannot carry your taser or any other weapon into the secured area of an airport beyond the security checkpoint or into the same zone of a seaport.
When Can You Use a Taser to Defend Yourself in New Jersey?
The only time you can ever use your taser on someone in New Jersey is in a legitimate case of self-defense when you are in fear of death or great bodily injury and can articulate as much in court.
Keep in mind that tasers can potentially inflict great bodily harm or death themselves, and that makes the deployment of a taser or a stun gun a very serious act in the State of New Jersey. Irresponsible use is likely to see you charged with a felony crime of battery.
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.