A Taser gun, an electroshock device that immobilises a person by disrupting muscular control, is legal in most states. In some states it's treated in the same legal manner as possession of a handgun in which a permit may be required. Many states have placed legal restrictions on the use of Taser guns to regulate improper use. The Taser gun is used primarily by law enforcement personnel as a less lethal alternative to handguns.
The Taser gun has become a common tool for the police and the military to subdue uncooperative or dangerous suspects. The weapon fires two metal probes that emit a temporary low-current electrical charge that is painful and briefly paralyses the muscles of the targeted person. Muscle spasms occur, but there is no permanent damage. However, death has occurred in some incidents.
Illegal in Some States
The Taser is not defined by the U.S. government as a firearm and can be carried as a concealed weapon in most states without a permit. Forty-three states currently have laws that define the Taser as a non-lethal weapon that can be owned by civilians. But it's illegal for civilians to possess a Taser in the states of Hawaii, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Wisconsin. The District of Columbia also has outlawed the Taser.
Michigan has one of the toughest anti-Taser laws in the United States. Michigan law requires that Tasers contain a tracking device and the identification of its owner. Its use is only permitted for sworn peace officers, licensed private investigators, bail agents and trained aircraft pilots and crew members.
Some states severely restrict the use of Tasers. The state of Connecticut has legalised the possession of the Taser in the home only. An individual can be charged with a felony if it's carried in a vehicle or used outside the home, unless the owner is a law enforcement officer.
The state of California has one of the most liberal laws regarding the use of the Taser. It can be carried by civilians except in state and local public buildings, at a public meeting or at an airport. The state of Alaska permits adults to possess a Taser but forbids them on school grounds without permission or when a protective order is being violated.
Permission by Omission
Some state laws do not address the use and possession of the Taser. Georgia's state laws do not expressly mention the Taser as a weapon, but it does expressly ban it from school grounds.
States Yes, Cities No
While the possession of a Taser may be legal in many states, some cities and counties within those states have outlawed them. Pennsylvania permits the possession of the weapon, but the city of Philadelphia bans the use of the Taser if intended for illegal purposes. The city does allow a Taser in instances when it is being used to defend a person or property. Maryland permits possession of the Taser except in the cities of Annapolis and Baltimore. The counties of Howard and Baltimore also ban the use of Tasers.
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