Minnesota laws permit the possession and use of stun guns and Tasers for self-defense and protection of private property unless the owner is prohibited from having guns (including those convicted of violent and drug crimes), but the misuse of these weapons in the commission of an assault can result in criminal liability in Minnesota.
Electronic Incapacitation Devices in Minnesota
Under Minnesota law, “electronic incapacitation devices” are defined as portable devices with electric pulses or currents with the means to temporarily immobilize or incapacitate a person. Legally, these devices are regulated in the same manner as tear gas. Since electrical current from stun guns and Tasers has the potential to inflict lethal force, Minnesota stun gun laws enforce certain restrictions on possession, use, and sale of all electronic incapacitation devices.
Stun guns administer an electric shock on direct contact. They are activated by pulling a trigger which releases electricity between two metal prongs at the end of the device. Stun guns deliver a painful shock when electrified prongs touch the target. They can stun and briefly incapacitate a person for up to five seconds.
Tasers shoot small darts or probes attached to thin, flexible wires. Darts or probes can hit a target up to 15-20 feet away, delivering electricity through attached wires. Electric pulses that pass between the probes incapacitate a person by disrupting the neuromuscular system. Once darts or probes are in place, the person holding the Taser can deliver multiple cycles of electricity.
Since stun guns and Tasers can damage the central nervous system, they can only be legally possessed or sold to adults 18 years old or older. It’s a misdemeanor offense for minors to possess or use a stun gun or Taser in Minnesota. State laws permit adults of legal age to possess and use stun guns and Tasers for self-defense and protection of property, as long as there are no prior convictions for violence and drug crimes. Using an EID in a situation that is not self-defense or using it as a weapon against someone may be considered assault and can lead to criminal prosecution.
Additionally in Minnesota, any person with prior convictions for violent crimes and/or drug crimes who possesses an EID, or who uses an EID against a police officer, may face felony charges. A Minnesota assault attorney is essential for criminal defense against unfair plea bargains, felony charges, and harsh sentences.