When it comes to self defense, guns and knives are typically subjected to considerably more restrictions than tasers. Tasers are one effective option for self-defense that can still give you some standoff capability and is usually subjected to a lot less red tape in the grand scheme of things.
But, as safe as they tend to be, tasers are not legal everywhere in the nation. How about Alabama? Are tasers legal there?
Yes, tasers are legal in Alabama. They have very few restrictions about buying, possessing or carrying them in the state, though there are restricted locations you’ll need to know about.
Unlike some other states, Alabama is happily very permissive when it comes to tasers and other electric self-defense weapons.
There aren’t any roadblocks when it comes to getting your own, and you can carry them basically anywhere with no need to obtain a permit first, even if you want to carry it concealed.
However, just because you have a taser does not mean you aren’t subject to any laws, and you’ll need to know about several of them. Keep reading and I’ll tell you what you need to know…
How are Tasers Classified in Alabama?
Tasers don’t really have a specific classification in the Alabama State statutes but are defined in 16-11-106 as “any device that is powered by electrical charging units such as batteries and emits an electrical charge in excess of 20,000 volts or is otherwise capable of incapacitating a person by an electrical charge.”
In short, except where specified in specific statutes, they occupy their own sort of category and are referred to by name periodically throughout the text, although I would caution readers to pay attention to any laws that refer to weapons generally.
Section 13A-1-2 – Definitions
(5) DANGEROUS INSTRUMENT. Any instrument, article, or substance which, under the circumstances in which it is used, attempted to be used, or threatened to be used, is highly capable of causing death or serious physical injury. The term includes a “vehicle,” as that term is defined in subdivision (15).
(6) DEADLY PHYSICAL FORCE. Physical force which, under the circumstances in which it is used, is readily capable of causing death or serious physical injury.
(7) DEADLY WEAPON. A firearm or anything manifestly designed, made, or adapted for the purposes of inflicting death or serious physical injury. The term includes, but is not limited to, a pistol, rifle, or shotgun; or a switch-blade knife, gravity knife, stiletto, sword, or dagger; or any billy, black-jack, bludgeon, or metal knuckles.
(12) PHYSICAL INJURY. Impairment of physical condition or substantial pain.
(14) SERIOUS PHYSICAL INJURY. Physical injury which creates a substantial risk of death, or which causes serious and protracted disfigurement, protracted impairment of health, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily organ.
Are Stun Guns Legal in Alabama?
Yes, they are. Although the terms are sometimes used interchangeably, stun guns and tasers are not the same thing.
Tasers are electric weapons which fire a set of probes or darts at range, whereas stun guns are contact distance only devices.
Nonetheless, both are completely legal for citizens to own, possess, and carry in Alabama.
Can You Carry a Taser Openly in Alabama?
Yes, you can. Tasers and stun guns can be open carried in Alabama with no restrictions so long as you may legally be in possession of one and are carrying it in a place where you are allowed to have it.
Can You Carry a Taser Concealed in Alabama?
Yes, you can. You can freely and legally carry a taser concealed in Alabama without a concealed weapons permit.
Are there Age Restrictions on Taser Ownership or Possession?
Yes. Generally, you’ll need to be at least 18 years old to own and legally own a taser or stun gun in Alabama. There might be some exceptions depending on if an underage person is possessing one on private property, but broadly, tasers are categorized as weapons even if they are completely legal in most other regards.
Accordingly, most retailers of such devices will not sell one to anybody that is under the age of 18. More on that in the next section…
What Do You Need to Do to Purchase a Taser in Alabama?
Tasers are typically sold freely in Alabama from any authorized retailer that carries such devices. A background check isn’t required, though some retailers of tasers particularly might require one.
Assuming you have no serious criminal record and are at least 18 years old or older, you can purchase and leave with a taser the same day wherever they are sold.
Similarly, it is possible to obtain either device from the internet and have it sent directly to your home in Alabama.
Is Training Mandatory for Taser Ownership?
No. You do not have to have a concealed weapons permit or any other specialized training to buy, own or possess a taser or stun gun in Alabama.
But, as with all such self defense weapons, I stridently encourage you to seek out training so that you will be safer and more effective with your chosen weapon.
Where Can You Carry a Taser in Alabama?
You can carry a taser pretty much anywhere in Alabama with few restrictions. Broadly, you want to think twice before carrying your taser or stun gun into any government building at any level, be it city or county, state or federally owned and operated.
You also cannot carry your taser into any school function, school safety zone, or bus or other vehicle that is furnished and operated by a school without the explicit permission of ranking faculty or in the limited circumstances described in Section 16-11-127.1.
Notably, if you’re a parent that is picking up a child from the school and are keeping the taser in your vehicle or on your person while in the vehicle as long as you stay in the vehicle.
Make sure you read the entire section in detail, as it is very lengthy!
When Can You Use a Taser to Defend Yourself in Alabama?
Even though tasers and stun guns are broadly classified as less than knives and guns in most circumstances, they are not truly less than lethal weapons; they are correctly categorized as less lethal weapons, meaning less likely to inflict serious bodily harm or death.
The chance still exists, however, and accordingly you should only ever use your taser stun gun against someone when you are in legitimate fear of great bodily harm or death yourself.
People can and have died from being tased, and even if the device itself doesn’t inflict any significant injury, if someone were to lock up, fall and hit their head on the pavement, suffering a fatal injury, you will be liable for that.
Never, ever use your taser to win an argument, to scare someone or as a prank or you will be held criminally liable! Similarly, owning one during the commission or attempted commission of certain other crimes is a crime in and of itself. See Section 16-11-106 for more.
16-11-106. Possession of Firearm or Knife During Commission of or Attempt to Commit Certain Crimes
For the purposes of this Code section, the term “firearm” shall include stun guns and tasers. A stun gun or taser is any device that is powered by electrical charging units such as batteries and emits an electrical charge in excess of 20,000 volts or is otherwise capable of incapacitating a person by an electrical charge.
Any person who shall have on or within arm’s reach of his or her person a firearm or a knife having a blade of three or more inches in length during the commission of, or the attempt to commit:
Any crime against or involving the person of another;
the unlawful entry into a building or vehicle;
A theft from a building or theft of a vehicle;
Any crime involving the possession, manufacture, delivery, distribution, dispensing, administering, selling, or possession with intent to distribute any controlled substance or marijuana as provided in Code Section 16-13-30, any counterfeit substance as defined in Code Section 16-13-21, or any noncontrolled substance as provided in Code Section 16-13-30.1; or
Any crime involving the trafficking of cocaine, marijuana, or illegal drugs as provided in Code Section 16-13-31,
and which crime is a felony, commits a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by confinement for a period of five years, such sentence to run consecutively to any other sentence which the person has received.