Stun Gun and Tasers Law in California – Penal Code 22610 PC
Stun guns and tasers are primarily designed to immobilize someone through the use of “non-fatal” force, but there are differences in how each one of them functions.
Using a stun gun requires direct contact with their target, while tasers will shoot an electrified dart, allowing them to be used from a distance. While these weapons are considered a safer alternative to firearms, they should still be used cautiously as they can inflict serious injuries.
Put simply, these weapons are used to subdue a target through non-lethal means, but this is not always guaranteed as they could inflict fatal injuries, just as with firearms.
Under Penal Code 22610 PC, it is primarily legal in California to purchase, possess or carry a stun gun or taser for lawful self-defense. However, you can't have a taser if you are a convicted felon, a drug addict, a minor under 18, or have a prior conviction for assault or misuse of a stun gun.
PC 22610 says, “Notwithstanding any other provision of law, any person may purchase, possess, or use a stun gun, subject to the following requirements: (a) No person convicted of a felony or any crime involving an assault under the laws of California, or any other state, government, or convicted of misuse of a stun gun under Section 244.5, shall purchase, possess, or use any stun gun. (b) No person addicted to any narcotic drug shall purchase, possess, or use a stun gun. (c) (1) No person shall sell or furnish any stun gun to a minor unless the minor is at least 16 and has the written consent of the minor's parent or legal guardian.”
Under this law, a violation of this subdivision is a public offense punishable by a $50 fine for the first offense. Any subsequent violation will be a misdemeanor crime.
In other words, first-time violations of this statute are an infraction that carries only a fine. Let's review this topic further below.
Are Stun Guns and Tasers Legal?
As noted, Penal Code 22610 PC makes it legal for most residents in California to own, use, or buy a stun gun or taser for lawful self-defense.
However, certain people are prohibited, such as the following:
- convicted felons;
- people found guilty of assault;
- people previously convicted of stun-gun misuse;
- people who are addicted to narcotics;
- minors under the age of 16 years old.
As noted, minors at least 16 years old can purchase and use a stun gun or taser with written parental consent. There are places where people legally carrying stun guns and tasers are still not allowed, such as the following:
- meetings where the law requires attendance by the general public;
- state or government buildings;
- schools or any school property;
- airports beyond TSA checkpoints;
- secured passenger terminals in port or harbor facilities.
If someone violates these limits, they could be charged with a misdemeanor offense.
What Are the Related Crimes?
Several California statutes are related to Penal Code 22610 PC stun guns and tasers, such as the following:
- Penal Code 20170 PC - BB gun,
- Penal Code 24410 PC – cane gun,
- Penal Code 12556 PC - imitation firearms,
- Penal Code 16470 PC – dirk or daggers,
- Penal Code 21810 PC - brass knuckles,
- Penal Code 21510 PC – switchblade,
- Penal Code 21110 PC – ballistic knife,
- Penal Code 20610 PC – lipstick case knife,
- Penal Code 22210 PC – possession of a baton,
- Penal Code 20410 PC – belt buckle knives,
- Penal Code 20710 PC - possession of a shobi-zue,
- Penal Code 22410 PC - possession of shurikens,
- Penal Code 29800 PC – felon with a firearm,
- Penal Code 243(d) PC – aggravated battery,
- Penal Code 415 PC – disturbing the peace,
- Penal Code 647(f) PC – public intoxication.
What are the Penalties for PC 22610 PC?
Using, possessing, or purchasing a stun gun or taser is considered a crime if someone has prior convictions, such as a felony, any crime involving assault, or the previous misuse of a stun gun or taser.
Notably, the legal use of these weapons is for self-defense situations. You can't just assault others with a stun gun or taser. The penalties include the following:
- first-time offenders are charged with an infraction and must pay a $50 fine.
- misdemeanor conviction carries a $1,000 fine and up to a year in jail, or
- felony conviction carries a jail sentence of up to 3 years and a $10,000 fine.
What are the Defenses for PC 22610?
California criminal defense lawyers can use several strategies against charges of illegally possessing or using a stun gun or taser. The most common are discussed below.
Perhaps we can argue that you have no prior convictions: The use, possession, or purchase of a stun gun or taser by someone with previous convictions is a crime, but only an infraction for a first-time offense.
Perhaps we can argue that the person who cannot legally possess a stun gun or taser due to the listed reasons is not the weapon owner in question.
Perhaps we can argue that illegal searches or seizures were conducted. Maybe there is evidence obtained illegally, either due to a lack of a search warrant or because it does not fall within a warrant's parameters.
The court can suppress illegally obtained evidence upon the legal motion of the defense. If evidence is suppressed, it usually leads to a dismissal of the charges.
Contact our law firm for a free case evaluation by phone or using the contact form if facing any type of weapon charges. The Hedding Law Firm is located in Los Angeles, California.