In a world where people can do whatever they please, it would click that it would be a safer place to live. Although the world can be a safe place, there are moments when protection may be required. Pepper spray is one of the most straightforward and affordable forms of self-defense for people to possess. But before anyone goes out there and purchases one for themselves, it's essential to understand the laws surrounding its possession in each state.
In all 50 states and Washington D.C., it is legal to use pepper spray for self-defense purposes. However, some states only allow the use and carrying of pepper spray under certain circumstances.
For instance, some states have certain circumstances where people can only carry pepper spray based on its/their size, concentration, age (at least 18 years old, and/or restrictions (felons are not allowed to purchase pepper spray). Currently, 16 states have specific conditions for their pepper spray law.
Typically, it is legal to carry pepper spray in public. However, there are certain cases where pepper spray has to remain concealed or is prohibited in various buildings and establishments. One place where pepper spray is not allowed is commercial airlines. It could pose a significant risk if it ends up accidentally getting sprayed. Carrying pepper spray on these airlines is a felony that can have a fine of up to $25,000.
Another place where pepper spray is not allowed is specially secured buildings, like governmental buildings and state establishments. This action became illegal after the events of 9/11 occurred in 2001. As of right now, all 50 states and Washington D.C. enforce these laws with no excuses. Anyone who is caught with pepper spray in a forbidden area will face penalties and fines.
It is implied that only people who are 18 or older can purchase and carry pepper spray throughout the country. Also, there are specific regulations that prevent certain people from accessing this self-defense tool. There are two types of people who cannot have access to pepper spray for any reason: children and felons. Children should not possess pepper spray under any circumstances. They could spray it recklessly and possibly end up hurting others and themselves if they're not careful. Felons also shouldn't possess or use any pepper spray. It is considered a weapon, and depending on their past charges, it can determine the types of consequences that come with carrying pepper spray.
Pepper spray is legal in all 50 states, but some states have conditions and restrictions in place. Below are the pepper spray laws for each state. Each is warranted to be true according to the best available information; however, those looking to purchase or carry pepper spray should always verify local, state, and federal laws.
Pepper Spray Legality
|Alaska||Legal||Cannot be sold to minors. | To carry on school property, the user must have permission and be at least 21 years old.|
|Arizona||Legal with Restrictions||Product container cannot exceed 150cc.|
|Arkansas||Legal with Restrictions||Product canisters cannot exceed 150 cc or 5.07 fluid oz.|
|California||Legal with Restrictions||Cannot be sold to minors. Product canisters cannot exceed 2.5 fluid oz.|
|Delaware||Legal with Restrictions||Cannot be sold to minors.|
|District of Columbia||Legal||Registration form must be completed at purchase and forwarded to the Metropolitan Police Department.|
|Florida||Legal||Product canisters cannot exceed 2 fluid oz.|
|Hawaii||Legal with Restrictions||The retailer must be licensed to sell pepper sprays and gels.|
|Illinois||Legal with Restrictions||Cannot be sold to minors.|
|Maryland||Legal||Cannot be sold to minors.|
|Massachusetts||Legal with Restrictions||A license is required to sell or carry pepper sprays and gels. | Only licensed firearms dealers can sell pepper sprays and gels. | Those aged 15 to 18 must obtain a firearms ID card in order to purchase.|
|Michigan||Legal with Restrictions||Cannot contain more than 35 grams (or 18%) of oleoresin capsicum (OC).|
|Minnesota||Legal||Seller must comply with local licensing requirements, if applicable in their area.|
|Nevada||Legal with Restrictions||Cannot be sold to minors. Product canisters cannot contain more than 2 fluid oz.|
|New Jersey||Legal with Restrictions||Cannot be sold to minors. Product canisters cannot contain more than 2 fluid oz.|
|New York||Legal with Restrictions||Product canisters cannot contain more than 0.75 oz. and the strength cannot exceed 0.7% major capsaicinoids. | Can only be sold by licensed firearms dealers and licensed pharmacists. | It is illegal to ship to New York. | Purchases must be made in person, with a maximum of two sprays per purchase.|
|North Carolina||Legal with Restrictions||Product canisters cannot exceed 150 cc or 5.07 fluid oz.|
|Rhode Island||Legal with Restrictions||Cannot be sold to minors.|
|South Carolina||Legal with Restrictions||Product canisters cannot exceed 1.69 fluid oz.|
|Washington||Legal with Restrictions||Purchase restriction to persons age 18 and older, or 14 with a parent or guardian's permission.|
|Wisconsin||Legal with Restrictions||Cannot be sold to minors. | Propduct canisters cannot exceed 2.0 fluid oz. and the oleoresin capsicum (OC) content must be between 15 to 50 grams. | Range of pepper sprays and gels must be within 6 to 20 feet, and all products must have a safety feature to prevent accidental deployment. | Product cannot be camouflaged or look like a non-pepper spray product.|