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Are Stun Guns Legal in Arizona? (Definition, Laws & Statistics in 2024)

Stun guns are legal to possess and use in Arizona without a permit, as they are not considered firearms under state law. However, there are restrictions on the sale and possession of stun guns in some cities and counties within Arizona, so it’s important to check local laws and regulations.
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What is a Stun Gun?

According to The Home Security, stun guns are devices that use electric shocks to temporarily incapacitate an assailant, providing an opportunity to escape or, in the case of law enforcement, to subdue a suspect [1].

Millions of civilians, soldiers, and police officers all over the world regularly carry a stun gun, whether it’s a tool on their gun belt or a self-defense weapon.

The effectiveness of stun guns lies in their ability to disrupt the normal functioning of the body without causing permanent harm. Unlike firearms or knives, stun guns are considered less lethal weapons, as they are designed to incapacitate without causing fatal injuries.

Also Read: Arizona Gun Laws: Carrying in Your Car?

How Do Stun Guns Work?

According to Tom Harris from HTW, traditional stun guns have a relatively straightforward design, resembling a flashlight in size and shape, and are powered by standard 9-volt batteries [2].

These batteries supply power to a circuit that includes several electrical components. Among these components are multiple transformers, which increase the voltage in the circuit to between 20,000 and 150,000 volts while reducing the amperage. The circuit also features an oscillator, which modulates the current to create a specific pulse pattern of electricity. This current charges a capacitor, which stores the electrical charge and then releases it to the electrodes, the active part of the device.

The electrodes are simply two plates of conducting metal positioned in the circuit with a gap between them. Since the electrodes are positioned along the circuit, they have a high voltage difference between them. If you fill this gap with a conductor (say, the attacker’s body), the electrical pulses will try to move from one electrode to the other, dumping electricity into the attacker’s nervous system.

Also Read: Are Brass Knuckles Illegal in Nevada?

Stun Gun vs Taser

As stated by SafeWise, stun guns are designed for close-range defense, requiring you to be in close proximity to the attacker. They deliver a painful shock to deter further aggression [3].

In contrast, a TASER utilizes projectile prongs that can attach to a target from a distance of up to 15 feet. When fired, the prongs spread out, increasing the likelihood of contact with different parts of the body. This allows the TASER to deliver an electric shock over a wider area. Interestingly, a TASER’s design is more akin to a traditional firearm than a typical stun gun.

While a TASER device is just as painful as a normal stun gun, it’s more effective at incapacitating muscle functions so an attacker can’t move – Safewise Stated.

Arizona Stun Gun and Taser Laws

Arizona permits residents to carry stun guns and Tasers for self-defense, but there are regulations regarding their possession and use. These include age restrictions, prohibited locations, and guidelines for lawful use.

Individuals must be at least 18 years old to purchase and carry these devices, and their use is prohibited in certain places like schools and correctional facilities. Additionally, the use of stun guns and Tasers must be justified and not used recklessly or criminally.

While no license or permit is required to buy these devices, buyers must provide proof of age and residency. Arizona Revised Statutes Section 13-3117 outlines these regulations, which include:

  • Permissible Use: Individuals who are at least 18 years old and not prohibited from possessing firearms can lawfully carry and use stun guns or Tasers for self-defense purposes.
  • Restrictions: These devices should not be used in the commission of a crime or offense.
  • Carrying Restrictions: Stun guns or Tasers shouldn’t be carried in certain restricted places, such as schools, polling places during elections, nuclear or hydroelectric generating stations, and on school grounds.
  • Exceptions: Exceptions exist for certain authorized individuals, such as law enforcement officers, military personnel, and those specifically licensed or permitted under state or federal law.
  • Consequences of Violation: Carrying or using these devices unlawfully can result in penalties, potentially ranging from misdemeanors to felonies based on the severity of the violation.

Stun Gun Statistics

  • Effectiveness of CEDs: A 2011 report from the U.S. Department of Justice found that the use of conducted energy devices (CEDs), like TASER Devices, significantly reduces injuries to suspects by 70% and decreases injuries to officers by up to 65%.
  • Discrepancies in Effectiveness: Police departments in major cities such as New York, Los Angeles, and Houston have reported lower effectiveness rates for Tasers than what has been claimed by the manufacturer, Axon. These rates vary by department, but none have reported the success rates claimed by Axon.
  • Optimal Dart Spread: Tasers are most effective when the electrified darts hit at least 12 inches apart; when the darts hit closer together, the effectiveness of the Taser is reduced. This highlights the importance of proper training for law enforcement officers using stun guns.

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References:

1. https://www.thehomesecuritysuperstore.com/blogs/the-home-security-superstore-blog/how-does-a-stun-gun-work
2. https://electronics.howstuffworks.com/gadgets/other-gadgets/stun-gun3.htm
3. https://www.safewise.com/stun-gun-vs-taser/

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