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Massachusetts State Pepper Spray Laws

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We take the time to research and stay up-to-date on MA state self defense laws and regulations, so you don't have to. We guarantee if you are over 18 and have not been convicted of a felony or assault, any self defense product purchased from our listing of "MA legal products" is legal to ship/use/carry in the state of Massachusetts at the time of purchase. Most cities and counties simply comply with the state level laws, however, we recommend you check with your local city or county for any additional restrictions.
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Video Explanation of MA State Laws

 

In Plain English:
Massachusetts state laws for pepper spray & self defense products

The Basics:

  • Pepper spray IS LEGAL to use, carry or purchase within the state.
  • Human formula pepper spray, although allowed, cannot be legally shipped to a MA state address (many surrounding states do allow shipment though).
  • Animal sprays can be legally shipped, used and carried.
  • Personal alarms of all types are legal to ship/use/carry.
  • If over 18 years old, pepper spray does not require a FID card 
  • Users cannot be convicted of a felony.
  • Users cannot be convicted of a misdemeanor requiring 2+ years of imprisonment.
  • Certain users who struggle with drug addiction or mental illness cannot use/carry/purchase pepper spray (see the law below).
  • Pepper spray can only be used for self defense purposes.

It is illegal for pepper spray designed for use against humans to be mailed to Massachusetts, but it may be lawfully carried by private citizens.

In 2014, the Massachusetts state legislature voted to remove the FID requirement in order to purchase, possess and use pepper spray for self-defense. That said, even though you can purchase, possess and use pepper spray without an FID card, 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 directly to a consumer.  No one other than an authorized dealer may receive any type of defense spray via the postal service. Nearby states, such as New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, Maine and Connecticut do permit sprays that are used for personal protection to be shipped, so those who have addresses just outside MA may purchase 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 many 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.

 

In Legal Jargon:
What the official Massachusetts state law says

From Section 131 C and D:
"People over 18 can have 
pepper spray, mace or other "self defense spray" without an FID card. There are limits...(see below)"
Section 122D (paraphrased for ease of reading)
"No person shall purchase or possess self-defense spray who:
(i) in a court of the commonwealth, has been convicted or adjudicated a youthful offender or delinquent child as defined in section 52 of chapter 119 for the commission of: (A) a felony; (B) a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for more than 2 years; (C) a violent crime as defined in section 121; (D) a violation of a law regulating the use, possession, ownership, transfer, purchase, sale, lease, rental, receipt or transportation of weapons or ammunition for which a term of imprisonment may be imposed; or (E) a violation of a law regulating the use, possession or sale of a controlled substance as defined in section 1 of chapter 94C..."

"...(iii) has been committed to any hospital or institution for mental illness unless the person obtains, prior to purchase or possession, an affidavit of a licensed physician or clinical psychologist attesting that such physician or psychologist is familiar with the applicant's mental illness and that in the physician's or psychologist's opinion the applicant is not disabled by such an illness in a manner that shall prevent the applicant from possessing self-defense spray;

(iv) is or has been in recovery from or committed based upon a finding that the person is a person with an alcohol use disorder or a substance use disorder or both unless a licensed physician or clinical psychologist deems such person to be in recovery from such condition, in which case, such person may purchase or possess self-defense spray after 5 years from the date of such confinement or recovery; provided, however, that prior to such purchase or possession of self-defense spray, the applicant shall submit an affidavit issued by a licensed physician or clinical psychologist attesting that such physician or psychologist knows the person's history of treatment and that in that physician's or psychologist's opinion the applicant is in recovery;..."

"...(vii) is an alien who does not maintain lawful permanent residency or is an alien not residing under a visa pursuant to 8 U.S.C ? 1101(a)(15)(U), or is an alien not residing under a visa pursuant to 8 U.S.C. ? 1154(a)(1)(B)(ii)(I) or is an alien not residing under a visa pursuant to 8 U.S.C. ? 1101(a)(15)(T)(i)(I)?(IV);..."

"...(ix) is currently the subject of an outstanding arrest warrant in any state or federal jurisdiction...."

 

FROM Section 131 Licenses to carry firearms; Class A and B; conditions and restrictions

"(c) Either a Class A or Class B license shall be valid for the purpose of owning, possessing, purchasing and transferring non-large capacity rifles and shotguns, and for purchasing and possessing chemical mace, pepper spray or other similarly propelled liquid, gas or powder designed to temporarily incapacitate, consistent with the entitlements conferred by a firearm identification card issued under section 129B"

Last Updated March 2019

 

Please note: We guarantee that as long as you are over 18 and have not been convicted of a felony or assault, any pepper spray product purchased from our listing of "MA legal products" is allowed to ship and process in the state of Massachusetts. Our guarantee applies to legality at the state level. Please check with your local city or county for any additional possible restrictions.