Laws between borders can create a tension you can’t find many places. You have citizens of one nation who have been told their whole life what their doing is legal, or even a matter of individual rights, while another nation sees it as nothing other than a crime. This is the case we are looking at right now. A tension between the laws of cities like that of the great Hong Kong and the great, and prideful, USA.

What particular laws are we discussing? None other than the hotly debated topic of stun guns and their legality. Many places in the world outright ban stun guns and taser guns, while the majority of the U.S. and other such locations consider them an individual right to personal protection and self defense. How do the two world-views reconcile?

First, The Story…

Before looking into anything else, I want to examine and make notes on the reason for this article. The idea of the topic of today presented itself as I read an article depicting tourists unwittingly arrested for carrying stun guns in their baggage. This is the fault of the traveler. In my opinion, it is your responsibility to research the laws of where you are entering. It is not their responsibility to research the laws of your country. Pretty simple concept, but the article really stuck with me for several days after reading.

Detective inspector Yuen Shing Hei, who was placed on the case, said, “The tourists do not know the devices are not allowed under Hong Kong law.” He explained they aren’t brought with malicious intent, but that does not change the law of the city. The tourists are the outsiders, who are responsible for respecting the laws of where they stay.

The detective goes on to explain, “and these devices are very cheap these days. You can buy them for a few dozen dollars now. It used to cost more than HK$100.” With such easy access to these electroshock weapons, it is no surprise the numbers are rising… On that note, let us take a look at the numbers.

The Numbers

You would expect the number of tourists bringing in police stun guns, portable stun guns, or even flashlight stun guns would be low. This seems to not be true in our current age. The numbers are rising… Quickly, it seems.

In the whole of last year, 57 people were arrested and a surprising 170 electric stunning devices were seized. This is compared to only 36 arrests, 66 devices in 2011. As you can see, the numbers are steadily rising. Even the superintendent of the Hong Kong airport Patrick Kwok Pak-Chung said, “we have seen a sharp rise recently.” The question that instantly comes to mind is why? Well the detective inspector gave two primary causes to this increase in arrests of tourists with stun gun equipment:

  1. There is a real rise in passenger in-flow to the Hong Kong airport.
  2. Stun weapons are becoming extremely cheap and more centered towards the consumer market

The detective certainly gave some convincing points on the matter. Quoting these two culprits, we can safely claim the increase in stun gun arrest is a natural occurrence. But what if we look at the other numbers and statistics?

According to the article, stun devices were not the only culprit in this case, found among the passengers were 12 knuckle-dusters, 297 cans of tear gas (!), and 10 flick knives. These statistics seem to call more concern than a simple increase in passenger in-flow, although that may be the case. Looking at these numbers, one could posit that the general outlook on safety is changing. People are, in general, more scared of their environment and of the people around them. This may even be a cause-and-effect of our current culture in the 21st century… Or it could be a simple growth in passenger in-flow, hard to say.

Stun Gun Laws Around The World

When you are looking into the legality of stun guns, you need to look at three major things – private citizen ownership, open carry, and use for personal protection.

Here are some of the top nations and how their legal system views stun guns and tasers in light of the law.

Australia

  • Allowed for private ownership, but strict on the reason behind your request.
  • Personal protection is not a permissible reason to get a permit.
  • You are not allowed to have a stun self-defense weapon open carry.

Argentina

  • Allowed for private ownership.
  • Personal protection is a valid and permissible reason to get a permit.
  • You are allowed to have a stun self-defense weapon for open carry use.

Brazil

  • Allowed for private ownership.
  • Personal protection is a valid and permissible reason to get a permit.
  • You are not allowed to have a stun self-defense weapon open carry.

China

  • Very restricted on private ownership.
  • Personal protection is not a permissible reason to get a permit.
  • Open carry of stun gun is strictly forbidden whether for self protection or any other intention.

Czech Republic

  • Allowed for private ownership.
  • Personal protection is a permissible reason to get a permit.
  • Open carry is only permissible if you are a certified professional.

Canada

  • Private ownership is accepted.
  • Personal protection is generally not accepted to get a permit, but may make an exception depending on the exact situation.
  • Open carry of stun gun is strictly forbidden whether for self protection or any other intention.

Concluding The Controversy On Tourist Arrests of Taser & Stun Devices

We learned that you need to be cautious of the laws of where your traveling. Your a visitor in someone else’s home, make sure to respect their courtesies. The rising numbers could be cause for concern for our modern world, but may also be simple after effects of larger passenger numbers.

The topic of stun guns is a sticky one and brings attention to the fact you better watch your step if you plan to make a vacation and bring your trusted self defense tool with you. We hope this article and list of nations will give you some guidance if you find you need it!

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