In Pennsylvania, most people can purchase, possess, or use a stun gun for self-defense without obtaining a permit. However, if you are in a class of people who are not allowed to possess a firearm in Pennsylvania you may not purchase, possess or use a stun gun. These people include:
- convicted felons;
- people convicted of certain specified crimes such as certain offenses related to driving under the influence, drugs, or alcohol;
- people who have a protective order against them that requires them to relinquish weapons to the court;
- fugitives from justice;
- people who have been adjudicated incompetent;
- juvenile delinquents; and
- people unlawfully present in the United States.
Penalties can be harsh for violating the law by purchasing, possessing, or using a stun gun. Convicted felons who commit this crime face second degree felony charges with penalties ranging from $5,000 – $25,000, up to 10 years in prison, or both.
It is also a second degree felony if you use a stun gun with the intent to commit a felony. If you possess a stun gun without the intent to commit a felony, but you nonetheless use a stun gun for an unlawful purpose, or possess one with the intent to do so, the offense is a first degree misdemeanor with penalties ranging from $1,500 – $10,000, up to 5 years in prison, or both. Additional fines may apply for repeat offenders.
In perhaps one of the most cruel twists we’ve seen in the courts lately, you can be convicted of illegal possession of a stun gun even if the stun gun can’t stun. What’s that you say? Was that a typo? No, the Pennsylvania Superior Court held on November 17, 2015, that an inoperable stun gun is still a stun gun and therefore just as illegal to possess as one that works. Commonwealth v. Tysak.
Don’t take chances with your freedom. If you are unsure about whether you can legally possess, purchase, or use a stun gun in Pennsylvania, or if you are facing charges for a stun gun violation, you should consult a criminal defense attorney who can provide you with advice or options going forward.