States With Pepper Spray Restrictions
Pepper spray, although made from an item you can get in the produce section, is considered a weapon by most civilized countries, and is restricted to some extent in nearly all of them. Pepper spray causes temporary blindness, pain, breathing problems and panic: when it's used excessively, it can kill.
In some states, you can buy pepper spray, but the amount is restricted, and you can be arrested or fined if your canister contains more than the amount specified by law. Some states regulate the allowed strength of the pepper spray: most sprays contain somewhere between 2% and 10% of capsaicin, the primary component of capsicum. Pepper sprays that also contain tear gas may be illegal in some states but not others, so that before you decide to buy a spray, you should find out what the state and local ordinances say about their possession.
According to pepper spray manufacturers, pepper spray as a personal defense weapon is considered legal in all 50 states, although various state restrictions may prevent shipping to several states. Some manufacturers may ship their bear spray (a stronger pepper spray made to deter an attacking bear) to states where pepper spray can't be shipped as a weapon. However, if someone is found to have used bear spray on a person, there are all sorts of interesting questions about its legal use (unless that person happens to be doing a highly convincing bear act). Pepper spray isn't sold to minors or to people who have been convicted of a felony. A few instances of state regulations follow: check with your local police force in the restrictions and permissible use of pepper spray in your area. And never take pepper spray with you when you travel by air.
Animal Repellents (including dog and bear sprays) can be legally shipped to and purchased from online retailers in ALL 48 contigious states, including the restricted states listed below.
States Where Pepper Sprays are Restricted
New York: Sold in pharmacies and by licensed firearms dealers. Animal sprays ordered online are legal.
More on New York (NY) Below:
Massachusetts: Sold by licensed firearms dealers. Animal sprays ordered online are legal.
More on Massachusetts (MA) Below:
Michigan: <35 grams per can, no stronger than 10% concentrate. No combinations.
Read more about Michigan (MI) Below:
Wisconsin: Pepper spray only, no stronger than 10%. Safety features required. Weight allowed 15-60 grams.
Learn about Wisconsin Below:
California: Weight restricted to 2.5 ounces (about 70 grams).
More on California Below:
Washington D.C.: You must register with the police for possession of pepper spray.
More on Washington D.C. Below:
States that do not have shipping restrictions on OC defense spray products:
Alabama (AL), Arizona (AZ), Arkansas (AR), Colorado (CO), Connecticut (CT), Delaware (DE), Florida (FL), Georgia (GA), Idaho (ID), Illinois (IL), Indiana (IN), Iowa (IA), Kansas (KS), Kentucky (KY), Louisiana (LA), Maine (ME), Maryland (MD), Minnesota (MN), Mississippi (MS), Missouri (MO), Montana (MT), Nebraska (NE), Nevada (NV), New Hampshire (NH), New Jersey (NJ), New Mexico (NM), North Carolina (NC), North Dakota (ND), Ohio (OH), Oklahoma (OK), Oregon (OR), Pennsylvania (PA), Rhode Island (RI), South Carolina (SC), South Dakota (SD), Tennessee (TN), Texas (TX), Utah (UT), Vermont (VT), Virginia (VA), Washington (WA), West Virginia (WV),Wyoming (WY)
Check with your local law enforcement department for specific laws about the possesion and use of pepper spray products in your city or county.
New York State
More Details on New York Self Defense & Pepper Spray Regulations
It is legal to carry defense sprays in NY, but they must be purchased within the state. Pepper spray can not legally be mailed to any city or county in New York. Most other parts of the country do allow for these products to be shipped in, so people who live in nearby states may legally have pepper spray delivered by mail.
The only type of self defense spray that can be mailed into New York is animal pepper spray, which is used to ward off an attack from a vicious beast. Animal spray is a powerful weapon that contains Oleoresin Capsicum (OC) to temporarily stop even the largest wild attacker. These sprays are intended to temporarily stun an animal and give you the opportunity to escape, and may only be lawfully used for personal protection purposes. Although New York is most often thought of as an urban area where attack dogs may be the only animal threat, there are also plentiful rural zones where a dangerous encounter with wildlife may occur.
There are regulations about how much mace or pepper spray a New York resident may purchase and carry. It is only legal to buy a can of safety spray that is small enough to fit inside a standard pocket. Canisters that are larger are expressly forbidden. State law about purchasing pepper spray in New York declares that each person may only purchase two canisters during any transaction. No individual will be allowed to buy multiple cans from the same source.
Pepper spray may only be used to defend yourself against an attacker. Each canister must have a label that declares it is for self defense purposes only. Any other use of a personal spray is illegal and punishable by law. People living in or visiting cities such as Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx or any other NY city may wonder where to buy a defense spray for their own protection. Only a fully licensed firearms dealer or pharmacist is permitted to sell pepper spray in the Empire state, and before a purchase can be finalized the buyer must sign a form that affirms they are 18 years or older and have no felony convictions.
Massachusetts Spray Regulations
More Details on Massachusetts Self Defense & Pepper Spray Regulations
Massachusetts is one of the few states that does not allow mace or any other type of defense spray to be sent in through the mail. No one other than an authorized dealer may receive any type of defense spray via the postal service. Nearby states do permit sprays that are used for personal protection to be shipped in following an online purchase, so those who live just outside MA may or defense spray products online.
Only a licensed firearm dealer has the authorization to sell self defense sprays in Massachusetts, and most do keep them in stock. Once you know where to buy them, there are a few other rules to keep in mind. There is only one acceptable use for pepper spray, and that is for the self defense of any individual who is being assaulted or threatened by an assailant. It is against the law to spray a person or animal unless your safety or the safety of someone you are with is in jeopardy. Animal pepper spray is also legal in MA, but state regulations prohibit using them for any other reason than to guard yourself against an attack. When people think of the state, they may most often bring to mind a large city such as Boston, but there are many outdoor areas where an attack from a wild animal might occur. The powerful ingredients in these sprays will incapacitate them for a short time and give you the opportunity to get away safely. Though they are safe for use on any creature, it is unlawful to use this type of spray on humans.
More Details on Michigan Self Defense & Pepper Spray Regulations
The Mace company produces several different types of of CS sprays that are approved for use in the state of Michigan. These products comply with all the regulations established by MI law, and people who are wondering where to buy them will be able to find safety devices at various retail locations within most any MI city, or purchase them online. Neighboring states do not have the same rules and allow for every legal type of pepper or other self defense spray to be purchased.
No one under 18 is ever permitted to buy any type of mace defense spray. People who are of age in MI may purchase canisters of the approved tear gas and carry them in public, but they must only be used to defend the owner or others against an attack. Circumstances in which the use of tear gas would be lawful include fending off an assailant, protecting personal property from a thief and warding off a wild animal.
Michigan features an expansive wilderness that is home to hundreds of animals. Sometimes man and beast do not mix well in the great outdoors, and a human may find themselves under attack. When this happens, the safest and most humane approach is to use an animal defense spray. These sprays are more powerful than the ones that are designed for humans, and will temporarily incapacitate even the largest creature. Animal sprays are legal in Michigan, but they must be properly labeled to indicate that purpose.
More Details on Wisconsin Self Defense & Pepper Spray Regulations
Pepper spray is the only self defense spray you can legally carry in Wisconsin. Anything containing traditional mace ("MACE BRAND" pepper spray proucts without UV dye are perfectly legal) or tear gas is not legal for the public, even if it’s mixed with pepper spray. The legal ingredient of pepper spray is Oleoresin Capsicum, (OC) the oil derived from the hot pepper. Although you may find some stronger concentrations online, Wisconsin laws state that the strongest concentration of OC used in Wisconsin is 10% --plenty to stop an attack from a human being.
Police sprays often contain ultraviolet (U.V) dyes, so if a suspect manages to escape, he can be identified by the dye marks on the face. Pepper sprays sold to the public in Wisconsin may not contain U.V. dyes, and the container may not be disguised, which means you won’t be buying peppery spray pens or lipsticks in that state. The canister must hold less than 2 ounces of spray and must have a safety feature like a flip top cap.
More details on California Regulations on Sprays.
However, the state of California does have a few rules and regulations regarding the use of pepper spray. It is absolutely legal to carry pepper spray and use it to protect your personal safety without having any special state or federal permits. CA laws do regulate the size and/or weight of the defense spray products you can carry and buy. The legal container size must be equal to or below 2.5 ounces of active product. There are many pepper spray items and models that comply with this state set standard (see list below).
The pepper spray carried, shipped, sold or used in California should also be labeled with a warning stating that the product is only intended for self-defense. In general, most state laws (California included) enforce that pepper spray should only be used in self defense situations where you fear your life or safety is in danger. Illegal use of pepper spray products (perhaps dispensing them out of anger or as non self defense violence against another person) can bring fines of $1000 and up and/or three years in prison.
More Details on Washington D.C. Pepper Spray Laws
Residents and visitors to DC may want to ensure their own safety by carrying a non lethal self defense device such as pepper spray or a MACE brand chemical spray. These personal security items may be purchased in the state, but before a citizen may legally possess any type of safety spray they must first register the weapon at a local police station. This allows law enforcement officers to know exactly who is carrying any type of defense spray and to help make sure they are used in a lawful manner. Only people who are 18 years or older may purchase and register a canister of spray on their own, but anyone 14 or older may do so as long as they have the permission of a parent or legal guardian.
Defense sprays are registered to discourage any illegal use of these powerful weapons. It is only lawful to use them if you are threatened with bodily harm. Just one blast of pepper spray is enough to completely incapacitate any aggressor, so it is an ideal form of self protection in Washington D.C., or anywhere you may go.
Individuals who are wondering where to buy a defense spray in Washington will find them at any retail location where self defense products are sold. They are also available to be ordered online. DC does not have any restrictions regarding the shipping of pepper spray in or out of the state, but all items received through the mail must be registered as soon as they are received.
States With Pepper Spray Restrictions
July 10, 2011
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