Taser Laws in Michigan: Legal or Not?

The majority of citizens living in the US have full and nearly unfettered access to their Second Amendment rights. Sadly, this cannot be said of every state, and in these states, folks might turn to other self-defense options that are less restricted… perhaps something like a Taser…

flag of Michigan
flag of Michigan

But, as it turns out, tasers themselves might be seriously restricted, and only recently are inroads being made to fully legalize them across the nation. Let’s look at Michigan, a state known for its somewhat restrictive laws. Are tasers legal in Michigan?

Tasers are illegal to possess, carry, and use for self-defense in Michigan but you must complete training to purchase and carry one along with having a concealed pistol license. Also, any taser device must have an active identification and tracking system built into it.

Well, Michigan is nothing if not consistent, and even though tasers and stun guns were completely banned prior to 2012, they still aren’t giving up on regulating them into oblivion if they can. It’s a sad state of affairs, but if you care to jump through enough hoops you can still get and carry a taser in Michigan.

There’s a lot more you have to know before that point, though, so keep reading and I’ll tell you about it…

How are Tasers Classified in Michigan?

Tasers are classified as a “device that uses electromuscular disruption technology.” Quite a mouthful, but this is just Michigan’s way of defining any device capable of creating electromuscular disruption use or intended as a defensive device that can temporarily incapacitate a person via conducted energy.

That certainly fits the taser to a tee, but read closely the following definition taken word for word from 750.224a and you will see that it also describes a device containing a tracking and identification system that will activate when the device is discharged.

This is a critically important factor for taser possession in Michigan, because any legal device that is sold or owned by folks must meet both of those standards. If it doesn’t have a tracking system, it isn’t legal.

750.224a Portable device or weapon directing electrical current, impulse, wave, or beam; sale or possession prohibited; exceptions; use of electro-muscular disruption technology; violation; penalty; verification of identity and possession of license; prohibited use; definitions.

(7) As used in this section:

(a) “A device that uses electro-muscular disruption technology” means a device to which both of the following apply:

(i) The device is capable of creating an electro-muscular disruption and is used or intended to be used as a defensive device capable of temporarily incapacitating or immobilizing a person by the direction or emission of conducted energy.

(ii) The device contains an identification and tracking system that, when the device is initially used, dispenses coded material traceable to the purchaser through records kept by the manufacturer, and the manufacturer of the device has a policy of providing that identification and tracking information to a police agency upon written request by that agency. However, this subdivision does not apply to a launchable device that is used only by law enforcement agencies.

Are Stun Guns Legal in Michigan?

Yes, stun guns are legal in Michigan but only nominally. Because of the requirements for the function of these devices and the mandate for a built-in tracking and identification system most classic stun guns, consisting of little more than a box with an activation switch and electrodes at the front, will not be legal in Michigan.

Can You Carry a Taser Openly in Michigan?

Yes, but only if you have a concealed pistol license. Sounds strange, but consider that only people who are exempt from the statutes or who are licensed to carry a pistol concealed may even be in possession of a taser.

Accordingly, if you don’t have your concealed pistol license you aren’t allowed to be in possession of a taser unless you are one of the exempted people listed in the statute. That statute, 750.224a, and its relevant paragraphs are in the following section.

Can You Carry a Taser Concealed in Michigan?

Yes, so long as the device is legal and you are carrying it for a legal purpose while in possession of a concealed pistol license. You’ll also have to abide by all other Michigan laws concerning the carry of weapons and firearms generally, and that includes where you can and cannot carry the taser.

Below is an excerpt from 750.224a concerning exempted persons, and you will see that those in possession of a concealed pistol license are one of them. Nonetheless, you need it to read the entirety of 750.224a on your own to understand everything going on with tasers in the state.

750.224a (…)

(1) Except as otherwise provided in this section, a person shall not sell, offer for sale, or possess in this state a portable device or weapon from which an electrical current, impulse, wave, or beam may be directed, which current, impulse, wave, or beam is designed to incapacitate temporarily, injure, or kill.

(2) This section does not prohibit any of the following:

(b) The possession and reasonable use of a device that uses electro-muscular disruption technology by an individual who holds a valid license to carry a concealed pistol under section 5b of 1927 PA 372, MCL 28.425, and who has been trained under subsection (5) in the use, effects, and risks of the device.

(4) A person who violates subsection (1) is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 4 years or a fine of not more than $2,000.00, or both.

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

Yes. You must be 21 to possess a taser in Michigan, and that’s because you have to be 21 to get a concealed pistol license which enables possession. There are no other exceptions for age outside of the exempted personnel listed in 750.224a.

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

If you want to purchase a taser in Michigan you’ll have to go to an authorized dealer of such devices, submit yourself to a background check and then get the prerequisite training to obtain a concealed pistol license. This is the only way.

Concerning the background check, the usual disqualifiers for firearm possession apply to tasers here, meaning if you are a filling or have any conviction of misdemeanor domestic violence on your background or any assaultive crimes generally you’ll usually be disqualified.

And remember, any taser that is a legally sold and possessed in the state of Michigan must have a tracking and identification system built into it that will activate when it is discharged.

750.224a (…)

(5) An authorized dealer or other person who sells a device that uses electro-muscular disruption technology to an individual described in subsection (2)(b) shall verify the individual’s identity and verify that the individual holds a valid concealed pistol license issued under section 5b of 1927 PA 372, MCL 28.425b, and shall provide to the individual purchasing the device, at the time of the sale, training on the use, effects, and risks of the device. A person who violates this subsection is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 30 days or a fine of not more than $500.00, or both.

Is Training Mandatory for Taser Ownership in Michigan?

Yes. You must undergo specific training on the use, effects and handling of a taser prior to purchasing and possessing one in Michigan.

Where Can You Carry a Taser in Michigan?

You can carry a taser anywhere that weapons can lawfully go, though there are many restrictions. This includes government buildings of all kinds and at all levels, be they municipal, state, or federal, courthouses, courtrooms and courthouse annexes, police stations and sheriff’s offices, any school, school bus or other school property and anywhere else where weapons are generally forbidden, including the security area of airports and seaports.

There are many other restrictions besides, and quite a few restrictions in different counties and cities throughout Michigan, so make sure you consult a knowledgeable self-defense attorney as part of your preparations if you plan on carrying a Taser in Michigan.

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

You can only ever use your taser to defend yourself in case of legitimate self-defense wheen you’re genuinely in fear for your life or fearful of great bodily injury.

Any lesser use or deliberately misusing your taser for any purpose, including as a prank, could see you charged with a felony and facing up to 10 years in prison. Tasers aren’t toys, party favors, or joy buzzers, and using them on a person could potentially inflict great bodily harm or death!

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