Pepper Spray Laws

Laws on Pepper Spray, Mace, & Tear Gas

Some states have regulations that forbid defense sprays, while some states allow the individuals cities to make their own laws concerning these products. Sometimes an actual country will forbid pepper spray, tear gas and mace such as Canada. Therefore, before you take your self defense products anywhere it is a good idea to contact your local law enforcement agency that has jurisdiction over the area to find out what the specific laws are. Dog and bear pepper sprays are LEGAL in all 48 contigous states and can be purchased through online defense spray retailers, including the Pepper Spray Store.

In most states pepper spray is legal against bears but using mace and tear gas is not legal. Tearing and involuntary closure of the eyes accompanied by severe burning sensations on the nerve endings of the skin are the effects of exposure to tear gas. Other effects that may result include coughing, inflammation, mucous secretion, headache, dizziness, a tight feeling in the chest or excessive salivation. Vision can be severely degraded even on a PCP-intoxicated person who can’t feel pain should a significant enough inflammatory response be caused by the pepper spray. The face should be your target when using tear gas defensively. Especially if you achieve an element of surprise a person will experience panic when properly sprayed with tear gas.

After the agent has been completely irrigated from skin surfaces the effects of the pepper spray may last up to forty minutes and even then some minor irritation will continue for a few hours after exposure to the chemical. On the other hand, irritation only occurs when there is sufficient concentration in contact with the skin should you use CS, CN and CR and the residual irritation which lasts from fifteen to thirty minutes degrade rapidly. Especially in a basic solution, CS is hydrolyzed in water and with a pH of nine its half life is about a minute.

Pepper Spray Laws and Restrictions By State
The following six states have outlined specific restrictions and laws of purchasing traditional pepper sprays. Animal repellents (dog and bear pepper spray) for protection against vicious dogs and wild bears can be shipped to all 48 contiguous states.

  • New York Pepper Spray Laws: Animal repellents, including dog and bear pepper sprays, can be legally sold and shipped through online retailers. High decibel personal safety alarms also legal to carry and use. Traditional pepper spray sold in pharmacies and by licensed firearms dealers locally.


  • Massachusetts Pepper Spray Laws: Animal repellent pepper sprays are legal and can be purchased online. Traditional pepper sprays are only available through local licensed firearms dealers and cannot be purchased through online websites.


  • Michigan Pepper Spray Laws: Animal defense sprays and personal alarms can be legally purchased online. Other pepper spray products must be less than 35 grams (approx. 1.2oz) of product and 10% or less OC concentration. OC pepper sprays only. No UV dyes.


  • Wisconsin Pepper Spray Law: Pepper spray only, no stronger than 10%. Safety features required. Weight allowed 15-60 grams.


  • California Pepper Spray Law: Canisters must be less than 2.5 ounces.


  • Washington D.C. Pepper Spray Laws: Must register pepper spray possesion with local law enforcement

States WITHOUT shipping restrictions on pepper 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.

Defense Spray Use in California (Tear Gas)
In California you can get a state penalty of up to a thousand dollar fine and/or up to three years in prison for misuse of tear gas and you would also have a felony conviction on your record for the rest of your life. Some conditions that qualify as misuse of tear gas including using it on people in anger, spraying it as a joke or tear gas possessed by prohibited persons. Those who are legally prohibited from possessing tear gas includes minors, drug addicts or persons convicted of felonies and assault, although these people can procure tear gas with very few barriers.

In California any legally purchased canister of tear gas that is going to be possessed or used must have a label stating the following: “WARNING: The use of this substance or device for any purpose other than self-defense is a crime under the law. The contents are dangerous--use with care.” For a canister of tear gas the maximum legal weight is 2.5 ounces or 70 grams of OC, CS or CN. For civlian use CR is illegal.

Four Types of Chemical Formulas of Personal Protection Tear Gas Sprays
Defense sprays have four major chemicals that are used. CS and CN are the first two which are short for orthochlorobenzalmalononitrile and chloroacetophenone. Although they are by far not the most common.

The third option has not come into civilian use which is CR. These are actually white crystals when at standard temperature and pressure. They have fairly low vapor pressures, not gasses and they are generally not water soluble. They are suspended in a liquid carrier and aerosolized in order to disperse them. One of the many brands of CN tear gas you have likely heard of, the more well recognized trade name by both civilian and law enforcement tear gas users is Mace.

Pepper spray is the fourth option (which we sell here on this site) which is extracted from chili peppers to get oleoresin capsicum. The hot quality is gained from the chemical. OC is insoluble in water and looks like a reddish-orange, oily liquid. As with the other agents this one is dispersed by aerosol. When police are faced with barricade situations and combative suspects tear gas has been credited with saving lives. Without the need for lethal force it is used as a standard tactics to facilitate an arrest.

On the other hand, CS and CN may have some effect on a person who is hit less accurately due to the vapors which vaporize to some extent as a result of their low vapor pressures. Some effect may be experienced with CS and CN if a person is sprayed in the groin area. Some formulations are being manufactured that contain blends of OC and either CS or CN since each has different advantages. Even though oleoresin capsicum has no vapors the aerosolized particles can remain airborne for a while especially if used indoors. Many people who are not sprayed directly can be irritated since the concentrations are high enough. In an attempt to eliminate the aerosolized pepper spray entirely one type of OC product propels the agent in a thick foam.