It’s no secret that every state in the US has its own laws concerning firearms, but what some people forget about is that state laws can vary considerably concerning all the other weapons, too.
Tasers are a great example, considering that, although they have a great record in police service, they aren’t yet legal everywhere in civilian hands. And even where they are, there are various restrictions to consider.
How about in Vermont? Can civilians legally have tasers in Vermont?
Yes, tasers are legal for civilian possession and carry for self-defense purposes in Vermont as long as the carrier is 18 and isn’t prohibited from possessing it.
Vermont is a surprisingly solid state when it comes to taser laws, with no major restrictions on acquiring or carrying these tools.
However, there are still plenty of weapons laws that will affect them, and you’ll need to know about them if you want to make tasers a part of your self-defense plan. Keep reading and I’ll tell you more…
How are Tasers Classified in Vermont?
Tasers don’t have a specific definition in Vermont, except that they fall under the definition of dangerous or deadly weapon found in 13-85-4016, that statute being referenced also by 13-85-4004.
In short, Vermont defines a dangerous for deadly weapon as a firearm or any other weapon or device that is known to be capable of producing death or serious bodily injury.
Don’t get it confused: people like to think of tasers as strictly non-lethal weapons, but that just isn’t true! Tasers can, and have, inflicted serious bodily harm and even resulted in deaths when used correctly and as directed by the manufacturer. Accordingly, they are rightly considered dangerous weapons under Vermont law and elsewhere. Keep that in mind as you read the rest of this article and other statutes. Read the definition for yourself in 13-85-4016.
13-85-4016. Weapons in court
(2) “Dangerous or deadly weapon” means any firearm, or other weapon, device, instrument, material, or substance, whether animate or inanimate, that in the manner it is used or is intended to be used is known to be capable of producing death or serious bodily injury.
Are Stun Guns Legal in Vermont?
Yes, stun guns are completely legal in Vermont.
Note that many places make no distinction between stun guns and tasers, often using one term or the other to refer to both devices. Practically speaking, they are different weapons…
In short, a taser fires its electrodes as darts or probes, while a stun gun has fixed electrodes that must be manually jabbed into the target to work.
Vermont does not make any distinction between the two, and does not define either in the statutes, but that might not be the case in certain cities or other municipalities, so pay attention to those definitions when you encounter them!
Can You Carry a Taser Openly in Vermont?
Yes, the open carrying of a taser or a stun gun is completely legal in Vermont. This assumes that you are a legal possessor of such devices and that the device itself is legal.
Note that 13-85-4003 makes clear that carrying a dangerous or deadly weapon is only a crime if it is carried with the intent to injure another person. See for yourself below.
13-85-4003. Carrying dangerous weapons
A person who carries a dangerous or deadly weapon with the intent to injure another shall be imprisoned for not more than two years or fined not more than $2,000.00, or both. It shall be a felony punishable by not more than 10 years of imprisonment or a fine of $25,000.00, or both, if the person intends to injure multiple persons.
Can You Carry a Taser Concealed in Vermont?
Yes, you can. Just like open carry, the concealed carrying of a taser is also legal in Vermont as long as you may legally possess the taser itself. Note that you will not need a concealed weapons permit to legally carry a taser in Vermont.
Are there Age Restrictions on Taser Ownership or Possession in Vermont?
Yes. In the state of Vermont it is illegal to sell or otherwise transfer a taser or stun gun to anyone that is under the age of 18. As long as you are 18 years old or older, you may legally carry a taser or a stun gun for self-defense in Vermont.
What Do You Need to Do to Purchase a Taser?
If you want to purchase a taser or a stun gun in Vermont you’ll need to find a dealer of these devices and follow their instructions.
Stun guns can usually be purchased after simply proving you are 18 years old or older. Tasers, on the other hand, require more information and potentially a background check.
Is Training Mandatory for Taser Ownership?
No. Although training is required in order to obtain a concealed weapons permit in Vermont, you don’t need that permit in order to carry your taser or stun gun as described in the previous section.
Likewise, no special training is required in order to just purchase a taser or stun gun from a dealer.
Where Can You Carry a Taser?
You can carry your taser in Vermont anywhere that dangerous or deadly weapons may go lawfully.
This assumes that you’re a legal possessor of the device, but generally speaking, you cannot carry your taser:
- ❌ into any government building of any kind,
- ❌ into the restricted area of an airport,
- ❌ or into any school building,
- ❌ school property,
- ❌ school bus,
- ❌ or other school conveyance.
See 13-85-4004, and be sure to catch the reference for the definition of dangerous or deadly weapon as it refers to section 4016 above.
13-85-4004. Possession of dangerous or deadly weapon in a school bus or school building or on school property
(a) No person shall knowingly possess a firearm or a dangerous or deadly weapon while within a school building or on a school bus. A person who violates this section shall, for the first offense, be imprisoned for not more than one year or fined not more than $1,000.00, or both, and for a second or subsequent offense shall be imprisoned for not more than three years or fined not more than $5,000.00, or both.
(b) No person shall knowingly possess a firearm or a dangerous or deadly weapon on any school property with the intent to injure another person. A person who violates this section shall, for the first offense, be imprisoned for not more than three years or fined not more than $1,000.00, or both, and for a second or subsequent offense shall be imprisoned for not more than five years or fined not more than $5,000.00, or both.
(d) As used in this section:
(1) “School property” means any property owned by a school, including motor vehicles.
(2) “Owned by the school” means owned, leased, controlled, or subcontracted by the school.
(3) “Dangerous or deadly weapon” shall have the same meaning as in section 4016 of this title.
When Can You Use a Taser to Defend Yourself in Vermont?
Because we learned that tasers are properly classified as dangerous weapons in Vermont, meaning a weapon that can potentially cause great bodily harm or death, you can only use them in self-defense when faced with a proportional level of unlawful force being used against you.
For instance, if someone is threatening you in a way that you are legitimately in fear for your life or in fear of great bodily harm, you would be justified in using your taser against them to stop that use of unlawful force.
On the other hand, using your taser against someone who’s only harassing you, insulting you or pushing you, or some other kind of simple battery, the use of a taser and self-defense could and likely will be viewed as excessive force.
Tasers are not toys, and they should never be used on someone as a joke or for anything less than legitimate self-defense purposes! Doing otherwise is definitely a serious crime in Vermont.
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.