I was thinking of buying a taser for self defense. However, if someone were trying to attack me such as pulling a gun out on me, I fear a taser will just leave a criminal pissed off and still wanting to kill me.

If lethal force is used (in self defense) in the form of a taser & a knife, is that Legally equivalent to the same lethal force of a gun.

Assuming all weapons are legal. Location-Pennsylvania

  • 1
    It's not clear to me what you're proposing here. Are you saying that, instead of using a gun, you would rather taser & then stab an attacker? How would you justify stabbing him 'in self defense' if you've already tasered him?
    – brhans
    Commented Feb 19, 2019 at 20:38
  • Pulling a taser or knife to defend against a gun is going to have a predictable result and all your problems -- legal and otherwise -- will likely vanish instantly. Commented Feb 19, 2019 at 22:53
  • If the idea is to fire the taser and use the knife in case the taser doesn't work, for whatever reason, I wouldn't have much confidence in it. If the criminal has a gun, and many do, a knife won't help you much. If the criminal has a knife, well, the criminal's probably better at knife fighting than you are Commented Feb 20, 2019 at 17:38

1 Answer 1


Self-Defense is an active Defense for Homicide (note, this is the legal term for taking a life. Criminal Homicide and Justified Homicide are two subsets of Homicide and are denoted by illegal actions and legal actions. Homicide as a result of Self-Defense is a Justified Homicide, regardless of the weapon, so long as it was applied with the minimal amount of force required to stop the criminal harm to oneself).

Suppose you use a taser and the current causes the attacker to go into cardiac arrest and die. Your intention in using the taser was to stop the criminal from injuring yourself, your property, or another person or their property (defense of others). Even though the Taser is non-leathal, it's more like less lethal. Death by Taser is uncommon, but not impossible or rare. It would be handled as a defensive use of a weapon (same as if the attacker was killed by a gun) and processed as such.

Pennsylvania is a Stand Your Ground State, meaning that in a public place, you do not have a duty to flee if your attacker approaches you in a public place, you do not have to prove that you could not flee in order to claim self-defense. However, if you pull a weapon and your attacker decides to flee, you can not give chase and kill him upon capture. You also need to have a reasonable expectation that the attacker is about to use deadly force (this normally means having sight of the weapon or what would reasonably look like a weapon i.e. a realistic toy gun without the orange safety cap would be reasonable). You also cannot claim self-defense if you were engaged in another crime when the attacker approached you (i.e. If you rob the Krusty Krab and the Hash Slinging Slasher approaches you with a knife, sucks to be you cause you don't have a right to be in the Krusty Krab after closing.).

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