The Shocking Reality of Stun Gun Laws
Personal protection is very important to most Americans. Every year people invest millions in ways to protect their homes, their cars, but especially themselves. Protection can come in many forms. Often times, individuals will invest in advanced security systems, however this does not protect them from dangers outside of their homes. To answer this need, people invest in other forms of personal protection like firearms. For those who choose not to own firearms, other options like mace, pepper spray, or stun guns become a more viable option. Residents of Bergen County are not afforded all of these options though.
Illegal to Own
According to Stungunbuyersguide.com, New Jersey is among a small, but growing, number of states which make it illegal to own or possess a stun gun. Other states include Hawaii, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, the District of Columbia, and some other states with very limited use permitted. The New Jersey law which prohibits stun guns is N.J.S.A. 2C:39-1 titled prohibited weapons and devices. A weapon under the statute is something that can readily inflict serious bodily harm, including lethal injury. A “stun gun” is considered any weapon or device which emits an electrical charge, or current, intended to temporarily or permanently disable a person. If on the off chance you believe that this is a law not enforced by the police, then you would be mistaken.
As recently as May 3, 2016 NJ.com reported on Shane Jennings’ stun gun charges. Jennings was riding in a vehicle with Walker Dymarkis, when it was stopped by a patrolman. Dymarkis, the owner of the vehicle, was wanted on multiple warrant, hence the stop. Once the patrolman searched the vehicle he found a stun gun, in the shape of a flashlight, and determined it belonged to Jennings. After the discovery, Jennings was arrested and charged with the unlawful possession of a weapon.
Despite the illegality of stun guns in New Jersey, this does not make them hard to obtain. Just last year ABC 6 News reported on a 12-year-old boy who reportedly ordered a stun gun online from Amazon and shipped it to his home. Despite the fact that simple possession of a stun gun is a fourth degree crime, punishable by up to 18 months in prison and a $10,000 fine, it only took the child a few minutes and $11 on an Amazon gift card to complete the transaction. This incredibly easy way to procure stun guns may put you at risk.
Be Wary of Stun Guns
If anyone you know purchases or owns a stun gun, they are violating the law. If the mother of the young boy did not report his actions, she could be charged if the stun gun were found in her car. This would easily escalate a simple traffic stop to serious criminal charges. Just like illegal firearms, the presence of stun guns should be treated with the same level of respect. You would not want to be caught with illegal firearms on you for the same reasons you would not want to be caught in possession of a stun gun.
In the event charges are filed against you for possession of an illegal weapon, you may be able to claim a defense. The simplest defense is that it does not belong to you, but that may not be your only defense. To fully know what your options are it is best that you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney like Phillip J. Murphy. Phillip J. Murphy is licensed to practice in New Jersey and has been practicing law since 1989. Contact us today to discuss your options.