When you think of self-defense implements, your mind probably goes immediately towards guns or maybe knives. On the less-lethal side of the spectrum pepper spray is the go-to.
But what about tasers? Tasers are undoubtedly effective when used properly and when they work as advertised, and they are another ranged method of self-defense.
Seems like civilians tend to shy away from them compared to police. Part of this is probably because tasers aren’t freely legal everywhere.
How about in Florida? Are tasers legal or not in Florida?
Yes, tasers are legal in Florida and available with very few restrictions. You can carry a taser openly or concealed with no permit so long as you’re at least 16 years old and are carrying it only for self-defense purposes.
For some folks, a taser can be a great defensive implement. They can go into places where guns and other weapons might be forbidden, and they are indeed a less-lethal option that still gives you standoff capability. Nonetheless, there’s plenty you’ll want to know about Florida’s state laws on the matter. I’ll tell you what you need to know below…
How are Tasers Classified in Florida?
Tasers don’t fall under the definition of other common weapons, and instead inhabit two specific definitions according to the state statutes and 790.001. The first is an “electric weapon or device,” meaning any device which uses electrical current for offensive or defensive purposes, the infliction of injury or the destruction of life.
The second is a “dart-firing stun gun,” which applies to tasers more specifically, a term that Florida defines as any device having one or more darts capable of delivering electrical current.
Check the precise text taken directly from 790.001 below.
790.001 – Definitions
(14) “Electric weapon or device” means any device which, through the application or use of electrical current, is designed, redesigned, used, or intended to be used for offensive or defensive purposes, the destruction of life, or the infliction of injury.
(15) “Dart-firing stun gun” means any device having one or more darts that are capable of delivering an electrical current.
Stun Guns Legality in Florida
Yes, they are. Stun guns are distinct from tasers even though they’re close cousins technologically. A stun gun lacks the probes and wires that tasers fire, and is only useful at contact distance when you can jab the arcing electrodes directly into the assailant.
The terms are often used interchangeably in conversation, and sometimes even in legal definitions. But it’s important to know that these devices are distinct functionally and in the case of Florida stun guns are considered an “electric weapon or device,” but not a “dart firing stun gun.” Try not to get it mixed up!
Can You Carry Tasers Openly?
Yes, you can. Open carry of a taser in Florida is completely legal as long as you are only carrying it for legal, lawful purposes of self-defense. No permit required. Check 790.053 for more.
790.053 Open carrying of weapons.—
(1) Except as otherwise provided by law and in subsection (2), it is unlawful for any person to openly carry on or about his or her person any firearm or electric weapon or device. It is not a violation of this section for a person licensed to carry a concealed firearm as provided in s. 790.06(1), and who is lawfully carrying a firearm in a concealed manner, to briefly and openly display the firearm to the ordinary sight of another person, unless the firearm is intentionally displayed in an angry or threatening manner, not in necessary self-defense.
2) A person may openly carry, for purposes of lawful self-defense:
(b) A nonlethal stun gun or dart-firing stun gun or other nonlethal electric weapon or device that is designed solely for defensive purposes.
(3) Any person violating this section commits a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
Can You Carry a Taser Concealed in Florida?
Yes, you sure can. You can conceal carry a taser or stun gun in Florida also, without need of a concealed weapons permit, as long as you’re only carrying it for legal, lawful purposes, of self-defense as described above.
790.01 has more.
790.01 Unlicensed carrying of concealed weapons or concealed firearms.—
(1) Except as provided in subsection (3), a person who is not licensed under s. 790.06 and who carries a concealed weapon or electric weapon or device on or about his or her person commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
(3) This section does not apply to:
2. A nonlethal stun gun or dart-firing stun gun or other nonlethal electric weapon or device that is designed solely for defensive purposes.
(4) This section does not preclude any prosecution for the use of an electric weapon or device, a dart-firing stun gun, or a self-defense chemical spray during the commission of any criminal offense under s. 790.07, s. 790.10, s. 790.23, or s. 790.235, or for any other criminal offense.
Age Restrictions on Taser Ownership or Possession
Yes, there are. In the State of Florida anyone aged 16 or older may own and carry a taser or a stun gun for legal self-defense purposes, and carry it openly or concealed.
It’s worth noting that people under the age of 16 cannot even handle a stun gun or a taser unless under the direct supervision of an adult, or an adult that is acting with the consent of the minor’s parents.
790.22 Use of BB guns, air or gas-operated guns, or electric weapons or devices by minor under 16; limitation; possession of firearms by minor under 18 prohibited; penalties.—
(1) The use for any purpose whatsoever of BB guns, air or gas-operated guns, or electric weapons or devices, by any minor under the age of 16 years is prohibited unless such use is under the supervision and in the presence of an adult who is acting with the consent of the minor’s parent.
(2) Any adult responsible for the welfare of any child under the age of 16 years who knowingly permits such child to use or have in his or her possession any BB gun, air or gas-operated gun, electric weapon or device, or firearm in violation of the provisions of subsection (1) of this section commits a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
How to Purchase a Taser in Florida
Buying a taser or a stun gun is simple in Florida. You can buy a stun gun right over the counter anywhere such devices are sold. The purchase of a taser is likewise pretty simple, though typically this will entail the dealer recording your personal information and identification. You also cannot have any felony convictions on your record or have been adjudicated mentally defective.
Is Training Mandatory for Taser Ownership in Florida?
No. You don’t need any specialized training to own or carry a taser legally in Florida, and you don’t even need a concealed weapons permit in order to hide one legally so long as you’re only carrying it for legal purpose of self-defense.
Where Can You Carry a Taser?
You can carry a taser pretty much anywhere in Florida with the notable exception of schools and school properties, any government buildings at the municipal, state or federal level, including courtrooms, and the secured area of an airport or seaport.
When Can You Use a Taser to Defend Yourself?
Only in cases of legitimate self-defense where you’re in fear of death or great bodily injury. Tasers are considered less lethal weapons, but definitely not non-lethal weapons, so discharging one is always considered a serious event.
Use your taser on someone as a joke, in order to win an argument, or because they were verbally harassing you and you can expect to be charged with serious crimes!