Pepper Spray Laws
Is pepper spray legal?
Pepper spray is LEGAL in all fifty states. However, some states and cities have
specific regulations pertaining to the purchase, possession and use of defense
sprays. Please check with your local law enforcement agency for any regulations your
state may have.
New York: the sellers must be local licensed firearm dealers or local pharmacies.
Massachusetts: the buyer is required to obtain a Firearms Identification Card (FID); the
sellers must be local licensed firearm dealers.
Michigan: OC Pepper Spray can be no stronger than a 2% concentrate. CS is the only
Tear Gas accepted. Both must be no larger than 35 grams per can. No combination
Wisconsin: Pepper spray only. No Tear Gas, UV Dye or combination sprays. OC
Pepper Spray can be no stronger than a 10% concentrate. The can must be between
15-60 grams only. Must have safety feature.
California: Canisters cannot be more than 2.5 ounces.
Animal Repellers like bear spray and dog spray are legal and can be shipped to New
York, Wisconsin and Michigan.
Is there anyplace where I cannot carry pepper spray?
Yes. You cannot carry any pepper spray on an airplane or in carry-on luggage or in the
passenger area. The FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) allows one Pepper Spray
(up to 4 oz) per traveler in your checked luggage only.
How do I remove pepper spray from myself?
If you get pepper spray on yourself, don’t panic. Water, soap and time are all that is
needed to decontaminate you. Exposure to fresh air should help, too.
Remove all contaminated clothing. Flush the affected area with cool water. Warm
water may intensify the burning and inflammation. Do not rub your face!
Wash the affected area with non-oil or cold cream based soap. Don't apply oily lotions--
they will trap OC resin onto your skin.
Have a physician examine the exposed area if any irritation or pain persists after the
What are the benefits and limitations of pepper spray?
Pepper spray is an excellent self-defense product. It is used by nearly every law
enforcement agency throughout the country. It is non-lethal and extremely effective
when sprayed in the facial area and eyes. It put a safe distance between your and an
attacker and gives you plenty of time to escape and seek help.
Because pepper spray does not cause death to the attacker, people are more likely to
use it instantly with out hesitation. Acting quickly can often avoid serious injuries and
save lives. Pepper spray is very inexpensive, and is not typically restricted by law. A
permit is not usually required to carry them.
Still, you should be aware of its limitations, so you do not rely on just one form of
defense. Pepper spray may take a few second for it to be effective. An attacker may
be able to take your canister away from you, before the effects kick in. It may be used
against you. Wind and rain may reduce its range and effectiveness. You may get
spray-back when sprayed against strong wind.
How should I store & carry pepper spray?
Store your defensive spray in a safe place at room temperature. Keep it away from
children. Do not leave it in your car during summer because high temperatures may
cause the seals to leak.
Think in advance how you want to carry your pepper spray. In a typical assault, you
get no warnings and you will get attacked when you least expect it. Carry your pepper
spray with you whenever possible, and keep it in the same place. You can put it in a
loose outer pocket of a jacket or inside a pants pocket, or in a purse with an open
pocket. Try a few different carrying methods and find good accessible locations for
you. Practice and make sure you can draw it quickly in an emergency situation.
How do I use pepper spray?
It is very important that you get some training and practice with the specific spray you
are going to carry. Study the canister, the nozzle, and the dispenser. Take your
canister to an open field, make sure the wind, if any, is at your back, and fire it for
about two seconds. How far will it spray? Is the spray a stream or a foggy mist? How
did it react to the wind? Can you spray it into the eyes of an attacker?
In an emergency situation, make sure you have distance between you and the
attacker. Don't get within their grabbing distance. Don’t threaten an attacker with your
spray. Fire 2 or 3 second bursts directly into the eyes of the attacker. If it is not
working, give them another two seconds. The small pocket or purse size will give you
between 5 and 10 seconds of continual fire. Once the threat is stopped, run
immediately and call the police. If your spray contains UV dye, tell the police that. It
can help the police to identify your attacker.