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Know the Law: Non-Lethal Self-Defense | New Jersey

The following is a video transcript.

New Jersey Is Still just as strict

Today, I’d like to talk to you about non-lethal weapons. What non-lethal weapons can we carry for self-defense in New Jersey? The answer is very few. The only non-lethal weapon specifically authorized under New Jersey law is pepper spray; but only if it is under three quarters of an ounce. Other than that, there’s no specific law authorizing the carrying of a non-lethal weapon in New Jersey.

Stun guns and tasers – legalized?

You may have heard that stun guns and tasers have been ‘legalized.’ Recently, the law prohibiting stun guns and tasers proved unconstitutional in Massachusetts. There was a change in the law: stun guns and tasers are now allowed to be possessed, but only in your home. Due to caselaw, you may not preemptively arm yourself with a taser or stun gun when you leave your home. If you do preemptively arm yourself with a taser or stun gun and are caught, you could be facing criminal charges. So, do not carry a stun gun or a taser outside of your home.


Now, you can carry other non-lethal weapons outside of your home, but you can’t use them to preemptively arm yourself for self-defense purposes. For example, while you can have a Maglite in your car, you can’t have it in your car for the purpose of arming yourself, even though a Maglite would be a fine impact weapon. The purpose of possessing the item must be solely for the item’s intended use. Here, the purpose of possessing the Maglite would be to use it as a flashlight, not to use it as a weapon.

Now, if you use it as a weapon in an emergency, that’s a whole other story, and there are defenses that can be raised regarding your use of the non-lethal weapon in self-defense. Essentially, you cannot just carry weapons, even non-lethal weapons, with the exception of pepper spray that is under three quarters of an ounce, in New Jersey for self-defense.

If you have any other questions about non-lethal weapons, feel free to give a call to U.S. LawShield and ask for your Independent Program Attorney.

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