If you were considering getting a weapon for self-defense, one with a little bit of range, but guns just aren’t your thing then a taser might be right for you.
flag of South Carolina
Tasers provide good standoff capability and can quickly and effectively stop an attacker in his tracks when they work as advertised, and this is part of the reason why law enforcement relies on them so much.
But despite the proven track record, the legality of tasers in civilian hands varies considerably from state to state. How about in South Carolina? Are tasers legal in SC?
Yes, tasers and stun guns are legal to purchase, possess, and carry in South Carolina with no permit required. However, tasers must only be used for lawful self-defense purposes, as any other use is a crime.
The good news is that tasers are definitely a viable option for self-defense in South Carolina. However, it is a little bit worrying that these devices are not precisely defined under the statutes concerning weapons and concealed carry.
Nonetheless, you should be fine if you’re only buying and carrying one for lawful purposes. Read on, and I’ll tell you more.
How are Tasers Classified in South Carolina?
Stun guns and tasers don’t really have a definition, not an official one, in the South Carolina statutes. In fact, they are defined by what they aren’t defined as, if that makes sense!
If you look at sections 16-23-10 and 23-31-210 below you’ll see they don’t meet the definition of “handgun” or “concealable weapon,” and that affects how they interact with the rest of the statutes in those respective titles.
Section 16-23-10. Definitions.
(1) “Handgun” means any firearm designed to expel a projectile and designed to be fired from the hand, but shall not include any firearm generally recognized or classified as an antique, curiosity, or collector’s item, or any that does not fire fixed cartridges.
Section 23-31-210. Definitions.
(5) “Concealable weapon” means a firearm having a length of less than twelve inches measured along its greatest dimension that may be carried openly on one’s person or in a manner that is hidden from public view in normal wear of clothing except when needed for self defense, defense of others, and the protection of real or personal property.
Are Stun Guns Legal in South Carolina?
Yes, stun guns are legal in South Carolina. It should be noted that as far as South Carolina law is concerned, these two devices are not exactly interchangeable, but they don’t give them distinct definitions, either.
Can You Carry a Taser Openly in South Carolina?
Yes. You can open carry a taser legally, no permit needed, so long as the device is legal and you may be in legal possession of it.
Can You Carry a Taser Concealed in SC?
Yes, you sure can. You may legally carry a taser concealed anywhere that weapons can normally go, so long as the taser is itself a legal device and again you may be in a legal position of it.
However, many of South Carolina’s statutes that affect the carrying of firearms and other weapons that may also apply to stun guns and tasers whether carried concealed or not. Read 16-23-460 carefully.
Section 16-23-460. Carrying concealed weapons; forfeiture of weapons.
(A) A person carrying a deadly weapon usually used for the infliction of personal injury concealed about his person is guilty of a misdemeanor, must forfeit to the county, or, if convicted in a municipal court, to the municipality, the concealed weapon, and must be fined not less than two hundred dollars nor more than five hundred dollars or imprisoned not less than thirty days nor more than ninety days.
(B) The provisions of this section do not apply to:
(1) A person carrying a concealed weapon upon his own premises or pursuant to and in compliance with Article 4, Chapter 31 of Title 23; or
(2) peace officers in the actual discharge of their duties.
(C) The provisions of this section also do not apply to rifles, shotguns, dirks, slingshots, metal knuckles, knives, or razors unless they are used with the intent to commit a crime or in furtherance of a crime.
Are there Age Restrictions on Taser Ownership or Possession in South Carolina?
Yes, there are. You must be 18 years old or older to legally be in possession of a stun gun, or 21 years old or older to own a taser.
What You Need to Do to Buy a Taser in South Carolina
Tasers are easily purchased in South Carolina, and you can get one from an authorized dealer, which is usually a gun shop or a well-equipped sporting goods or security supplies retailer, or else order one off the internet and have it shipped to you in the state.
Note that if you’re buying a taser, you’ll have to complete a background check and have the device registered with the manufacturer which keeps a database of end users since the cartridges of tasers are each serialized so that a discharge can be tracked to the purchaser.
Is Training Mandatory for Taser Ownership in South Carolina?
No. You do not have to get training to purchase or carry a taser in South Carolina.
Where Can You Carry a Taser in South Carolina?
You can carry stun guns and tasers pretty much everywhere that other weapons can go, and potentially into places where other weapons cannot go since they don’t fit the definition of most of the weapons and other implements defined in the various statutes.
As a rule of thumb, you should avoid trying to carry your taser into any government building, office, or installation, and that includes the post office, courthouses, and courtrooms, or into the secured area of any airports. Schools are also a no-go as detailed in 16-23-430 below.
Also, something else to keep in mind is that it is uncertain whether or not signs placed on private property stating “no concealable weapons allowed” have the force of law behind them when it comes to tasers. Refer back to the definitions at the beginning of this article, and you’ll see that a concealable weapon refers to a firearm alone.
If you plan on concealed carrying a taser everywhere you go, I highly recommend you consult a competent attorney fluent in self-defense and other relevant laws of SC for assurance.
Section 16-23-430. Carrying weapon on school property; concealed weapons.
(A) It shall be unlawful for any person, except state, county, or municipal law enforcement officers or personnel authorized by school officials, to carry on his person, while on any elementary or secondary school property, a knife, with a blade over two inches long, a blackjack, a metal pipe or pole, firearms, or any other type of weapon, device, or object which may be used to inflict bodily injury or death.
(B) This section does not apply to a person who is authorized to carry a concealed weapon pursuant to Article 4, Chapter 31, Title 23 when the weapon remains inside an attended or locked motor vehicle and is secured in a closed glove compartment, closed console, closed trunk, or in a closed container secured by an integral fastener and transported in the luggage compartment of the vehicle.
(C) A person who violates the provisions of this section is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, must be fined not more than one thousand dollars or imprisoned not more than five years, or both. Any weapon or object used in violation of this section may be confiscated by the law enforcement division making the arrest.
When Can You Use a Taser to Defend Yourself?
Tasers and stun guns should only be used for legitimate instances of self-defense against unlawful force that’s being used against you or the imminent threat of unlawful force being used against you.
Tasers aren’t toys, and using a taser on someone is not a joke or prank. Tasers can, and have, killed people before and inflicted lasting injuries. They aren’t some magical sci-fi stunner which will drop someone with absolutely no harm.
Accordingly, the only time you should taze someone is if your life or someone else’s life is actually on the line.
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