Stun guns--weapons that can incapacitate a person with an electric charge--are legal in Virginia. This includes both Taser-style stun guns, which fire projectiles attached to electric wires, and stun guns that are held directly against the body. State law sets no minimum age for carrying them and includes only a couple of restrictions on who can possess a stun gun and where such devices can be carried.
Stun guns cannot be carried on school property in Virginia. The law defines "school property" as the buildings and grounds of any elementary, middle or high school, be it public, private or religious. The restriction is extended to any other place that is normally open to the public when it is being used exclusively for a school-sponsored function or extracurricular activity. Examples could include a nightclub that has been rented for a school dance, or an auditorium that is hosting a high school basketball game. "School property" also includes any bus owned or operated by a school.
The law makes exceptions for law enforcement officers and people carrying stun guns as part of school-authorized activities, such as someone coming to the school to present a demonstration of a stun gun.
Violation of the school-property restriction is a Class 1 misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine.
Possession by Felons
Any person who has been convicted of a felony is barred by state law from carrying a stun gun in Virginia. The restriction also applies to anyone under age 30 who was convicted of a felony-level crime as a juvenile and to anyone, regardless of age, who was convicted as a juvenile of murder, robbery, rape or kidnapping. However, all of these people are allowed to keep a stun gun in their home for defense. Felons can petition a court for the right to carry a stun gun--or another weapon--if their civil rights have been restored by order of the governor.
Violation of the felon-in-possession restriction is considered a Class 6 felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and a $2,500 fine.
Stun guns can be carried concealed. State law requires a permit to carry certain concealed weapons, including firearms, switchblade knives and throwing stars, but not stun guns.
Cam Merritt is a writer and editor specializing in business, personal finance and home design. He has contributed to USA Today, The Des Moines Register and Better Homes and Gardens"publications. Merritt has a journalism degree from Drake University and is pursuing an MBA from the University of Iowa.