Pepper Spray Laws and Restrictions by State
The U.S. Department of Transportation considers pepper spray a hazardous material, which means it is not allowed to ship internationally and is otherwise subject to strict shipping guidelines. |
NOTE: Pepper Spray is legal in all 50 states, however, a number of cities and states have restrictions on sizes, strengths, etc.. If you have a question, it is wise to check with your local city or state attorneys office.
FOR THE MOST CURRENT INFORMATION on pepper spray state laws, please check with your State, County, Province and Federal authorities regarding possession of Defense (pepper) Sprays as they may have recently changed!
ALASKA: Legal with restrictions. -Section 11.81.900 (a)(18) defines "defensive weapon" as "***a device to dispense Mace or a similar chemical agent, that is not designed to cause death or serious physical injury". |
ARIZONA: Legal. - Section 13-3101.7 excludes from the definition of "prohibited weapon" "**any propellant (or) propellant actuated devices ** which are manufactured, imported or distributed for their intended purposes **".
ARKANSAS: Legal with restrictions. - Section 5-73-124 makes the possession of tear gas or pepper spray illegal.
CALIFORNIA: Legal with restrictions. - Subject to certain restrictions, Section 12403.7 of the Penal Code provides "**any person may purchase, possess or use tear gas and tear gas weapons for the projection or release of tear gas if the tear gas and tear gas weapons are used solely for self-defense purposes**".
DELAWARE: Legal with restrictions. - Title 11, Section 222 (7) defines "disabling chemical spray" as including self-defense sprays.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Legal with restrictions. - Self-defense sprays are lawful if used or possessed by a person 18 or over "in the exercise of reasonable force in defense of the person or the person's property only if it is propelled from an aerosol container, labeled with or accompanied by clearly written instructions as to its use, and dated to indicate its anticipated useful life."
FLORIDA: Legal. - "Self-defense chemical sprays" are legal. They are defined as "a device carried solely for purposes of lawful self-defense that is compact in size, designed to be carried on or about the person, and contains not more than two ounces of chemical".
HAWAII: Legal with restrictions. - Only OC products are legal for use by or sale to persons 18 and over. There is a ½ ounce size restriction and there are licensing requirements.
ILLINOIS: Legal with restrictions. - The use of a product "**containing a non-lethal noxious liquid gas or substance designed solely for personal defense carried by a person 18 years of age or older" is authorized by Section 720 ILCS 5/24-1.
MAINE: Legal. - The criminal use of chemical mace or a similar substance is a violation of the law. 17 M.R.S. Section 1002. However, the use of such a substance in defending one's person or property is authorized. Id.
MARYLAND: Legal. - Section 36 of the Criminal Code allows any person to carry "pepper mace" as "a reasonable precaution against apprehended danger". There appears to be no provision regarding any other self-defense sprays.
MASSACHUSETTS: Legal with restrictions. - Massachusetts defines ammunition as including "tear gas cartridges, chemical mace, or any other device or instrument which contains or emits a liquid, gas, powder or other substance designed to incapacitate".
MICHIGAN: Legal with restrictions. - Michigan law contains size restrictions (no more than 35 grams of CS [CS is the only tear gas accepted] or no more than 10% OC [different companies can sell different concentrations]), and no combinations of CS and OC.
MINNESOTA: Legal. - The use of a self-defense spray is permitted "**in the exercise of reasonable force and defense of the person or the person's property only if it is propelled from an aerosol container, labeled with or accompanied by clearly written instructions as to its use, and dated to indicate its anticipated useful life.
MISSOURI: Legal. - It is permissible to use or possess a device that ejects a "temporary incapacitating substance". Section 571.010 (8).
NEVADA: Legal with restrictions. - Nevada law prohibits possession of tear gas weapons, except for CS by an adult (no minors or felons) with no more than 2 fluid ounces in the form of an aerosol spray "which is designed and intended for use as an instrument of self-defense".
NEW HAMPSHIRE: Legal.
NEW MEXICO: Legal.
NEW JERSEY: Legal with restrictions. -Any non-felon 18 or over may possess for the purpose of self-defense "one pocket-sized device which contains and releases not more than three-quarters of an ounce of chemical substance not ordinarily capable of lethal use or of inflicting serious bodily injury, but rather is intended to produce temporary physical discomfort or disability through being vaporized or otherwise dispensed in the air". Section 2C:39-6i.
NEW YORK: Legal with restrictions. - The possession of "self-defense sprays" by persons who are not felons or who have been convicted of an assault, 18 or over for the protection of person or property and its otherwise lawful use is legal. "Self-defense spray" is defined as "a pocket-sized spray device which contains and releases a chemical or organic substance which is intended to produce temporary physical discomfort or disability through being vaporized or otherwise dispensed in the air or any like device containing tear gas, pepper spray or similar disabling agent".
NORTH CAROLINA: Legal with restrictions. - Possession and use of self-defense sprays are lawful for non-felons so long as the device does not exceed 150 cubic centimeters (150cc). Section 14-401.6.
NORTH DAKOTA: Legal.
PENNSYLVANIA: Legal. - "Chemical mace" is specifically excluded from the definition of weapons. There appears to be no regulation or restriction on the lawful use of self-defense sprays.
RHODE ISLAND: Legal with restrictions. - "Any person eighteen (18) years of age or over may carry on his or her person and use unless otherwise prohibited by law, any non-lethal noxious substance or liquid for his protection or the protection of others". Section 11-47-57.
SOUTH CAROLINA: Legal with restrictions. - It is lawful to possess a container not exceeding fifty cubic centimeters (50cc) containing tear gas "for self-defense purposes only". Section 16-23-470.
SOUTH DAKOTA: Legal.
TEXAS: Legal. - It is permissible to possess a "small chemical dispenser sold commercially for personal protection". 10 Texas Penal Code Section 46.01 (14).
WASHINGTON STATE: Legal with restrictions. Section 9.91.160 explicitly authorizes the sale and use of "personal protection spray devices" such as "mace, pepper mace, or pepper gas".
WEST VIRGINIA: Legal.
WISCONSIN: Legal - Pepper Spray may only be used defensively and cannot be possessed by felons.
WYOMING: Legal. - This is the most current compilation of pepper spray state laws. Please check with your local jurisdiction if unsure.
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