States With Pepper Spray RestrictionsPepper 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.
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) Legal Security Products >>
Massachusetts: Sold by licensed firearms dealers. Animal sprays ordered online are legal.
More on Massachusetts (MA) Legal Self Defense Products >>
- Michigan: The laws here have changed recently. Read more about Michigan (MI) Legal Defense Spray Products >>
Wisconsin: Pepper spray only, no stronger than 10%. Safety features required. Weight allowed 15-60 grams.
Learn about Wisconsin Legal Pepper Sprays >>
California: Weight restricted to 2.5 ounces (about 70 grams).
More on California Legal Pepper Spray Products >>
Washington D.C.: You must register with the police for possession of pepper spray.
More on Washington D.C. (District of Columbia) Legal Pepper Spray Products >>
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 possession and use of pepper spray products in your city or county.