When it comes to self-defense, for many citizens there’s a big gap in their capability: the concerned citizen might be a good martial artist and a good shot, but there’s a serious need for capability that falls somewhere between fisticuffs and lethal force.
Some problems are too risky to solve with fists alone, and many serious ones still don’t call for a deadly intervention. This is where something like a taser comes in…
Tasers can provide you with significant standoff capability and a high percentage of stopping an assailant before they can continue their attack.
However, taser laws tend to be very different from state to state, so you’ll need to research them where you live. Below I’ll tell you everything that you should know about tasers if you live in Texas. Keep reading to find out more.
Are Tasers Legal in Texas?
Yes, tasers are entirely legal in Texas. In fact, tasers are barely regulated at all.
They’re not categorized in the same way as firearms and other weapons, and accordingly have basically no restrictions concerning possession, carry and ownership.
It’s no exaggeration to say that tasers are not weapons according to the Texas state statutes, unless they are used as such for self-defense or in the commission of a crime.
This is an important concept concerning the disposition of these devices as they relate to and interact with all other Texas laws! Texas statutes penal code section 46.01 contains relevant definitions for various weapons.
Check it out for yourself and you’ll see that tasers are not defined on their own or under any other relevant weapon. I’ve included the most salient ones below:
Sec. 46.01. DEFINITIONS.
In this chapter:
(1) “Club” means an instrument that is specially designed, made, or adapted for the purpose of inflicting serious bodily injury or death by striking a person with the instrument, and includes but is not limited to the following:
(2) “Explosive weapon” means any explosive or incendiary bomb, grenade, rocket, or mine, that is designed, made, or adapted for the purpose of inflicting serious bodily injury, death, or substantial property damage, or for the principal purpose of causing such a loud report as to cause undue public alarm or terror, and includes a device designed, made, or adapted for delivery or shooting an explosive weapon.
(3) “Firearm” means any device designed, made, or adapted to expel a projectile through a barrel by using the energy generated by an explosion or burning substance or any device readily convertible to that use. Firearm does not include a firearm that may have, as an integral part, a folding knife blade or other characteristics of weapons made illegal by this chapter and that is:
(A) an antique or curio firearm manufactured before 1899; or
(B) a replica of an antique or curio firearm manufactured before 1899, but only if the replica does not use rim fire or center fire ammunition.
(4) Repealed by Acts 2021, 87th Leg., R.S., Ch. 642 (H.B. 957), Sec. 3, eff. September 1, 2021.
(5) “Handgun” means any firearm that is designed, made, or adapted to be fired with one hand.
(14) “Chemical dispensing device” means a device, other than a small chemical dispenser sold commercially for personal protection, that is designed, made, or adapted for the purpose of dispensing a substance capable of causing an adverse psychological or physiological effect on a human being.
How Does Texas Define a Taser?
Texas does not have a specific definition for tasers and other electromuscular disruption weapons or devices.
The Texas Department of Public Safety acknowledges that, at least in the context of private security, tasers and similar weapons are not expressly prohibited under Texas law via the Private Security Act or any related administrative rules.
This is consistent with the rest of the Texas state statutes concerning these devices…
Can You Carry a Taser Openly in Texas?
Yes. You can open carry any taser or similar device in Texas with or without a concealed weapons permit. These devices are not regulated in the same way as other self-defense weapons.
Can You Carry a Taser Concealed in Texas?
Yes. You can also concealed carry your taser in Texas whether or not you have a concealed weapons permit. This includes being out and about on foot in society or in your own vehicle.
Similarly, you may conceal a taser inside your vehicle in a glove box, center console or other compartment without the benefit of a concealed weapons permit.
Where Can You Carry a Taser in Texas?
You can carry a taser pretty much anywhere in Texas except in places where weapons and other self-defense devices, of any kind, are expressly forbidden.
Also, note that various county and city laws might be more stringent than state laws, so be sure and check your municipal laws before you commit to carrying your taser. It would not do to get this part wrong!
Generally, you cannot carry your taser or any other weapon into a county, state or federal government building, or into any meeting place where a meeting is required to be open to the public by law, regardless of the venue.
It should also be pointed out that Texas law allows various businesses to restrict firearms from their premises by posting a sign conspicuously.
But, it’s uncertain if this signage can apply to tasers whether or not they are signified by name. Be careful!
How Old Do You Have to Be to Possess a Taser in Texas?
Generally you have to be at least 18 years old or older to purchase and possess a taser in the state of Texas. Typically, sellers of such devices will not sell any taser or stun gun to anyone that is under the age of 18.
However, it does not appear that there are any state statutes forbidding the possession of a taser by anyone under the age of 18.
Are Any Persons Restricted from Carrying a Taser in Texas?
Apparently not! Even though persons convicted of felonies and certain misdemeanor crimes, (assault, domestic violence), might be prohibited from buying a taser over the counter in Texas, there is no state level law that prohibits these people from being in possession of a taser.
Now, to be perfectly clear, this does not in any way allow or facilitate the use of tasers as weapons of criminality, but it might be a good choice for a citizen who has a record but has otherwise clean their life up and still cannot possess a firearm for self-defense.
Tasers provide ranged, less-lethal capability that is difficult to come by in a civilian context.
When Can You Use a Taser in Texas for Self-Defense?
In Texas, as with everywhere else, you should only use a taser when you have a legitimate need of self-defense against someone who is going to use unlawful force against you.
Because tasers are less lethal weapons, that generally means you can use them as a proportional, reasonable response to unlawful force that is less than lethal as well.
For instance, you can never use your taser to settle an argument or because someone has insulted you.
However, you could use your taser on someone who’s threatening to strike you or beat you up, and, of course, could tase someone who is threatening you with unlawful deadly force.
The use of a taser and an unlawful or unethical way against someone will constitute a significant crime that can result in drastic financial penalties and even jail or prison time, so don’t play around with it or ever use it to prank someone.
These things are not toys, and people have died from being tazed even when the devices were used correctly under ideal circumstances. They are still weapons, in fact, when used accordingly!
Are there Any Other Laws Concerning Tasers to Know about in Texas?
No. For practical purposes, this is all you need to know about tasers if you are a concerned citizen that wants to carry one for self-defense in the State of Texas.
Any other relevant laws concerning the possession, use or misuse of a taser would be covered under various state statutes concerning criminal activity as outlined above.
Long as you are not using your taser in the commission of or the furtherance of any crime, there’s nothing else you need to know.
Carry one confidently in Texas, but I recommend you be respectful of any businesses or other properties that have posted signage regarding the carry of weapons.
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.