March 21, 2006
By: Veronica Rose, Principal Analyst
You asked for a summary of the laws governing stun guns.
A stun gun is an example of an electronic defense weapon. State law classifies electronic defense weapons as dangerous weapons, and, with minor exceptions, makes it illegal to carry them. Illegally carrying a dangerous weapon on one's person is punishable by a fine of up to $500, imprisonment for up to three years, or both (CGS § 53-206(a)). Illegally carrying it in a vehicle is punishable by a prison term of up to five years, a fine of up to $1,000, or both (CGS § 29-38).
The court has ruled that the prohibition against carrying dangerous weapons contains an implicit exception for carrying a weapon in a residence or abode (State v. Sealy (1988) 546 A.2d 271, 208 Conn. 689). But by law, the following cannot possess electronic defense weapons:
1. convicted felons;
2. anyone convicted of a serious juvenile offense;
3. anyone who knows that he is the subject of a restraining or protective order, issued after notice and an opportunity to be heard, for using, attempting to use, or threatening to use physical force against someone; and
4. anyone who knows that he is the subject of a firearm seizure order, issued by the court after notice and an opportunity to be heard.
A violation is a class D felony with a mandatory minimum two-year sentence. A class D felony carries a prison term of one to five years, a fine of up to $5,000, or both (CGS § 53a-217).
The law does not address stun gun sales or purchases. Raised Bill 105, currently before the Public Safety Committee, would, without exceptions, ban the sale of electronic defense weapons. Violators would be subject to a fine of up to $1,000, a three-year prison term, or both.
State law, with exceptions, prohibits the carrying of dangerous weapons on one's person or in a vehicle. It defines the following as dangerous weapons: (1) BB guns, (2) black jack, (3) metal or brass knuckles (4) dirk knives, (5) switch knives, (6) stilettos, (7) police baton and nightstick, (8) martial arts weapon, (9) electronic defense weapon, (10) any knife with an automatic spring release device that releases a blade from the handle longer than one and one-half inches, (11) any knife that has a blade with an edged portion four inches or longer, and (12) any other deadly or dangerous weapon or instrument.
The law allows:
1. the listed weapons to be carried by peace officers engaged in their official duties;
2. batons or nightsticks to be carried by security guards engaged in their official duties;
3. BB. guns to be carried by (a) people participating in or going to or coming from supervised boy scouts events or competitions of or other authorized events or competitions and (b) people on or going to or from their own property, or on or going to or from someone else's property with the person's permission; and
4. martial arts weapons to be carried by people enrolled in, currently attending, or serving as instructors at a martial arts school while in a class or at an authorized event or competition, or when going to or from such class, event, or competition.
The law allows the following to carry knives with four-inch or longer blades:
1. people with valid state hunting, fishing, or trapping licenses or salt water fishermen for lawful hunting, fishing, or trapping;
2. members of the U.S. Armed Forces or reserves when on or going to or from duty;
3. a military organization's members who are on parade or going to or from a place of assembly;
4. people transporting them as merchandise or for display at authorized gun or knife shows; and
5. people participating in authorized historic reenactments (CGS § 53-206(b)).