In the state of Oklahoma, a person can legally buy, use and possess a stun gun, taser or pepper spray. An individual does not need a license or permit to buy any of these types of weapons. Any person, whether a civilian or a law enforcement officer, is permitted to use such weapons in self-defense.
Dangerous Weapons and Stun Gun Laws in Oklahoma
Section 21-645 of the Oklahoma Statutes categorizes stun guns, tasers and pepper spray as dangerous weapons, but they are not deadly weapons, like firearms.
An individual who has the intent to do bodily harm and commits an assault or battery without a justifiable or excusable cause on another person with a dangerous weapon is guilty of a felony punishable by between one and 10 years incarceration. The offense is not typed as a misdemeanor, a crime punishable by up to a year in jail.
Oklahoma does not impose an age limit on buying, possessing or using stun guns, tasers or pepper spray.
Illegal Weapons in Oklahoma
The state of Oklahoma makes it illegal for certain individuals to carry firearms. It also makes it illegal to carry firearms in certain places, such as in a courthouse. Oklahoma has a concealed carry permit program for handguns.
Oklahoma’s constitutional carry law is effective November 1, 2022. The law allows a person 21 or over who is not a felon, adjudicated as mentally defective, or who has a conviction for a crime involving domestic violence to carry a handgun without a license throughout the state.
The rules discussed above regarding handguns do not apply to stun guns, tasers and pepper spray. Federal laws regarding handgun purchase, use and possession, such as the prohibition on a convicted felon using a firearm, still apply.
Prohibition of Use Against Officers
Oklahoma Statutes Section 21-1272.3 provides that an individual may not knowingly discharge or cause to be discharged a stun gun, pepper spray or similar agent against a person, knowing the other person is acting in the course of official duty and is a:
- Peace officer, such as a sheriff who has the duty of keeping the peace.
- Corrections officer.
- Probation or parole officer.
- Emergency medical technician.
The offense is a crime punishable by between one year to 10 years' incarceration.
Places Where Weapons Are Not Allowed
Section 21-1277 of the Oklahoma Statutes prohibits an individual, including a person in possession of a valid state handgun license, to carry a concealed or unconcealed firearm into a courthouse, jail, detention facility, public or private school, government building or sports arena.
Cities also have their own local laws, such as Oklahoma City, which prohibits a person from discharging any type of firearm, air gun, stun gun or other type of weapon within city limits unless the discharge:
- Is accomplished by a shotgun and done 600 feet from any residence or place of business.
- Is done by a police officer or those impressed into the duties of a peace officer.
- Takes place with a firearm in an approved shooting gallery or on an approved shooting range.
State Laws for Weapons in Schools
A school district, such as Tulsa Public Schools, may prohibit student and employee possession and use of a dangerous weapon on school property, on a school bus or vehicle, or at a school activity. Possession is defined as a person having a dangerous weapon:
- On their person.
- In their locker.
- In their vehicle.
- Held by another for their benefit.
- At any place on school property, a school bus or vehicle, or at a school activity.
The term “dangerous weapon” includes a stun gun, a taser and pepper spray, as well as a replica or facsimile of these items. It is not a defense to a disciplinary action that the student or employee did not know the item was a dangerous weapon, but claim of a lack of knowledge may be considered in mitigation of a disciplinary penalty.
Criminal and Civil Charges Regarding Tasers
An individual who uses a stun gun or pepper spray on another person without acting in self-defense or defense of another person can face criminal and civil charges. Section 21-644 of the Oklahoma Statutes provides that a prosecutor may charge the defendant, the person who committed the offense, with assault; an attempt to commit a battery; or battery, a willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon another person.
Assault is punishable by up to 30 days' incarceration in county jail and a fine up to $500. Battery is punishable by up to 90 days' incarceration and a fine up to $1,000.
Penalties for Tasers Used Against Family Members
A person who commits battery upon certain persons, such as a current or former spouse, parents, children and those with whom they are in a dating relationship will be charged with domestic abuse. The penalty for domestic abuse is up to one year of incarceration and a fine up to $5,000.
The penalty for a second or subsequent charge of domestic abuse is up to four years' incarceration and a fine up to $5,000.
Restitution and Civil Claims
The court typically requires the offender to pay the victim restitution, or money to cover damages such as medical bills, as part of the sentence for the criminal case. The victim of assault, battery or domestic abuse may also sue the offender for money damages in civil court.
Statute of Limitations Under Oklahoma Law
Section 12-95 of the Oklahoma Statutes provides the statute of limitations for an assault or assault and battery case is one year from the date of the attack.
The statute of limitations for a lawsuit for recovery of damages from an injury suffered as a result of criminal actions may be brought against an incarcerated person or person under the supervision of a state, federal or local correctional facility at any time during the offender's incarceration for the crime.
Alternatively, the lawsuit may be brought within five years after the offender is released, if the offender was serving time for the offense on which the action is based.
- Oklahoma State Legislature: Oklahoma Statutes Section 21-645 Assault, Battery, or Assault and Battery With Dangerous Weapon
- Oklahoma City Ordinances: Section 30-308 Discharging Firearms; Exceptions, Shooting Galleries
- Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation: Handgun Licensing
- Tulsa Public Schools: Policy 7312, Possession/Use of Dangerous Weapons or Instruments
Jessica Zimmer is a journalist and attorney based in northern California. She has practiced in a wide variety of fields, including criminal defense, property law, immigration, employment law, and family law.