February 25, 2024

Tasers are certainly becoming more popular as a self-defense tool these days, at least they’re getting more popular in the hands of civilians.

flag of North Dakota

Tasers have a lot to recommend them, and considering that they are significantly less lethal compared to guns, this makes them highly attractive to certain users and also from a legal and ethical standpoint.

But surprisingly enough, tasers still aren’t freely available everywhere. How about in North Dakota? Are tasers legal in North Dakota?

Yes, tasers and stun guns are completely legal in North Dakota and maybe freely purchased and possessed. However, any taser capable of administering multiple shocks requires that the carrier have a concealed weapons permit.

It’s kind of a strange thing to have to deal with in North Dakota which is otherwise a very self-defense- and gun-friendly state. Tasers and stun guns are easy to get in North Dakota and you can possess them without any training or licensing needed except in the case that your device can deliver multiple shocks.

This particular requirement is not very well defined, and could be a hang-up for you down the road. It’s unfortunate, but that’s just the way it is. Keep reading and I’ll try to help you make sense of this curious requirement below…

How are Tasers Classified in North Dakota?

Tasers don’t really have a specific definition under North Dakota law, and are actually more readily defined by what they aren’t!

If we look at 62.1-01-01 we see that tasers and stun guns are specifically excluded from the definition of dangerous weapon, with the exception that the device uses a projectile and voltage, or it uses a projectile and voltage and can apply multiple applications of voltage during the same incident.

In this case, the term dangerous weapon applies to the device under the statute that prohibits certain individuals from owning a gun.

This is definitely a tricky consideration: tasers use a projectile, so that means they meet the definition any which way. A stun gun is usually on or off, and considering it can be switched on and off as needed, does this count under the requirement for multiple applications of voltage?

The statute is unclear, and that makes the rest of what we will discuss unclear although it is clear enough that tasers and stun guns are certainly legal to purchase and possess generally in North Dakota.

62.1-01-01. General definitions.

As used in this title, unless the context otherwise requires:

1.”Dangerous weapon” includes any switchblade or gravity knife, machete, scimitar, stiletto, sword, dagger, or knife with a blade of five inches [12.7 centimeters] or more; any throwing star, nunchaku, or other martial arts weapon; any billy, blackjack, sap, bludgeon, cudgel, metal knuckles, or sand club; any slungshot; any bow and arrow, crossbow, or spear; any weapon that will expel, or is readily capable of expelling, a projectile by the action of a spring, compressed air, or compressed gas, including any such weapon, loaded or unloaded, commonly referred to as a BB gun, air rifle, or CO2gun; and any projector of a bomb or any object containing or capable of producing and emitting any noxious liquid, gas, or substance. “Dangerous weapon” does not include a spray or aerosol containing CS, also known as ortho-chlorobenzamalonitrile; CN, also known as alpha-chloroacetophenone; or other irritating agent intended for use in the defense of an individual, nor does the term include a device that uses voltage for the defense of an individual, unless the device uses a projectile and voltage or the device uses a projectile and may be used to apply multiple applications of voltage during a single incident, then the term includes the device for an individual who is prohibited from possessing a firearm under this title.

Are Stun Guns Legal in North Dakota?

Yes, stun guns are legal to purchase and possess in North Dakota generally.

Still, whether or not you’ll need a concealed weapons permit to carry one is dependent on exactly how they would be found to fall under the requirement for delivering multiple applications of voltage as discussed above.

Can You Carry a Taser Openly in North Dakota?

Yes, you can. Open carry of tasers is legal in North Dakota, but because tasers use a combination of projectiles and voltage to operate according to the definition above you’ll need a concealed weapons permit if you want to be in possession of them.

Can You Carry a Taser Concealed in North Dakota?

Yes, you can, so long as you have a concealed weapons permit for the device. As mentioned, true tasers definitely fall under the prescription for dangerous weapons since they utilize a combination of projectiles and voltage, and many models are also capable of delivering multiple applications of voltage.

Make sure you read the entirety of 62.1-04-03 for yourself to understand precisely how the state law interacts with the category of taser or stun gun you choose. An excerpt is below, but there is much that has been left out for brevity.

62.1-04-03. License to carry a firearm or dangerous weapon concealed – Class 1 firearm license and Class 2 firearm and dangerous weapon license.

The applicant is not an individual specified in section 62.1-02-01 and for a Class 1 firearm license, the applicant:

(1) Has not been convicted of a felony;

(2) Has not been convicted of a crime of violence;

(3) Has not been convicted of an offense involving the use of alcohol within three years prior to the date of application;

(4) Has not been convicted of a misdemeanor offense involving the unlawful use of narcotics or other controlled substances within ten years prior to the date of application;

(5) Has not been convicted of an offense involving moral turpitude;

(6) Has not been convicted of an offense involving domestic violence;

Any Age Restrictions on Taser Ownership or Possession in North Dakota?

Yes, there are. You need to be at least 18 to purchase and possess a taser or stun gun generally, but carrying a taser anywhere means you’ll need a concealed weapons permit, and you’ll have to be 21 to get one of those in North Dakota.

What Do You Need to Do to Buy a Taser in North Dakota?

If you want to purchase a taser in North Dakota, head to a dealer that sells these devices. Stun guns can be purchased freely, but generally to get a taser, you’ll need to complete a background check and the dealer will record your personal information, ID and more for sending to the manufacturer so they can database it.

Also, you cannot legally possess a taser in North Dakota:

  • if you have any felonies on your record,
  • any charges of domestic violence whether or not they are a felony,
  • are addicted to any narcotics or other controlled substances,
  • have been convicted of moral turpitude,
  • or have been adjudicated mentally defective.

Is Training Mandatory for Taser Ownership in North Dakota?

No, you don’t need to undergo any special training just to purchase and possess a taser in North Dakota, but you will need to undergo training to get the concealed weapons permit.

Where Can You Carry a Taser in North Dakota?

You can carry your taser or stun gun anywhere that weapons can legally go so long as the weapon itself is legal and you may legally possess it.

Generally speaking, you’ll never be able to carry your taser into any government installation, office or building, into any courthouse or courtroom, into the secure area of an airport, and similar places.

Do keep in mind that your local municipal and city laws in North Dakota might be stricter than the state laws when it comes to the disposition and carry of weapons, and perhaps even tasers and stun guns specifically so make sure you look into it. A thorough discussion of that topic is way beyond the confines of this article, though…

When Can You Use a Taser to Defend Yourself in North Dakota?

Even though North Dakota doesn’t explicitly define tasers and stun guns as dangerous weapons, you should only use them in self-defense when you have a genuine threat against your life or the life of someone else, or else a threat that might result in great bodily injury.

Tasers are not non-lethal tools; they are properly considered less lethal tools, meaning less likely to inflict death or serious injury.

Tasers are more than capable of causing significant injury, lifelong impairment or even death although it is rare, and accordingly you must never deploy your taser rashly or over a minor incident. Criminal misuse of a taser is a serious crime in North Dakota.