Is Pepper Spray Legal?
Although Pepper Spray is legal in most states and municipalities there are some states where Pepper Spray can only be sold by licensed firearms dealers and we cannot ship to. We will cancel and reimburse orders shipping to the following states:
New York: You can buy pepper spray in pharmacies and from licensed firearms dealers in the state of NY. However, animal pepper spray such as Mace Muzzle Dog Spray and Mace Bear Spray are legal to order online.
Massachusetts: You can buy pepper spray from a licensed firearms dealer in the state of MA. However, animal pepper sprays such as Mace Muzzle Dog Spray and Mace Bear Spray are legal to order online.
If you live in one of these states and want to buy pepper spray from us, please provide an alternate shipping address when you place your order or we cannot ship to you.
States with Restrictions
California: Container holding the defense spray must contain no more than 2.5 ounces (71 g) net weight of aerosol spray. Can only be used for self-defense purposes. Any misuse can carry a penalty of $1000, up to 3 years in prison and a felony conviction.
Hawaii: Pepper spray products shipped to Hawaii cannot exceed a net weight of 1/2 ounce.
Illinois: Must be 18 years of age to carry pepper spray. Illegal to carry in the city of Chicago.
Michigan: Allows "reasonable use" of spray containing not more than 10% oleoresin capsicum to protect "a person or property under circumstances that would justify the person's use of physical force". It is illegal to give a "self-defense spray" to a person under 18 years of age.
New Jersey: Non-felons over the age of 18 can possess a small amount of pepper spray, with no more than three-quarters of an ounce of chemical substance.
Washington: Persons over 18 may carry personal-protection spray devices. Persons over age 14 may carry personal-protection spray devices with their legal guardian's consent.
Wisconsin: Tear gas is not permissible. By regulation, OC (Pepper Spray) products with a maximum OC concentration of 10% and weight range of oleoresin of capsicum and inert ingredients of 15-60 grams are authorized. This is 1⁄2 and 2 oz (14 and 57 g) spray. Further, the product cannot be camouflaged, and must have a safety feature designed to prevent accidental discharge. The units may not have an effective range of over 20 feet and must have an effective range of six feet. In addition there are certain labeling and packaging requirements, it must state cannot sell to anyone under 18 and the phone number of the manufacturer has to be on the label. The units must also be sold in sealed tamper-proof packages.
These are only some of the state restrictions. Many states may have other minor restrictions. If you are unsure of the restriction in your area, check with your local law enforcement for specific laws regarding the possession and use of pepper spray products.
What Is Pepper Spray?
Pepper spray is an aerosol spray that irritates the eyes, causes tears, pain, and temporary blindness. When pepper spray is used in self defense, you are given a window of opportunity to escape. Pepper spray contains oils derived from cayenne peppers which are some of the hottest peppers in the world. This active ingredient is called OC or oleoresin capsicum and is a reddish-orange, oily liquid, that is insoluble in water.
History Of Pepper Spray
The use of pepper as a weapon goes all the way back to ancient China. The Chinese would put red chili pepper on rice paper as a weapon and swing it to the face of their opponents. The Japanese ninja were also known to use ground pepper against their enemies. During the Tukagawa Empire in Japan, the police would use a box called; metsubishi, which was filled with pepper and blown into a prisoner's eyes as a way of torture. Tear gas was invented in Germany in the 1800's and it is included in some Mace brand pepper sprays today.
The US introduced pepper spray through the US Postal Service in the 1980's as a dog repellent. Our government also used it for protection against bears and other animals. The FBI endorsed it as an "official chemical agent" in 1987 and by 1991, there were over 3,000 law enforcement agencies that utilized it.
Pepper Spray Patterns
Forced Cone – best for most situations. A fine mist spray at a distance of 8-12 feet with minimum blow-back on to you. Blow-back can however be a problem in a mild breeze and uncontrollable in a strong wind.
Stream – very effective for hitting multiple targets (or in the dark), can be fanned for covering wider area. Provides heaviest blast of pepper, but cans will empty quicker. Range normally 15-20 feet, not affected by breezes and winds as much as fog and cone sprays.
Fogger – very good against multiple attackers and home use, due to the barrier effect of the fog. Can however be some blow-back of pepper, which would contaminate you, especially if used outside in strong winds. This would still be minimal compared to the amount the attacker would receive. Most foggers have a range of 15-20 feet.
Foam or Gel – very good blow-back protection and immediate saturation, even in windy conditions. This thick, sticky foam works instantly on the attacker.
How Should Pepper Spray Be Used?
If you have to use your pepper spray in self defense, make sure that you have some distance between you and your attacker(s) if possible (you don't want the spray to affect you). Aim the spray at the eyes and facial region of the threat, then release a 1 to 2 second burst of spray. After you have done this move away, but watch the attacker(s) carefully as you do so. By watching the reactions of your attacker(s) you will be able to tell if a further burst of spray is required. REMEMBER spray and move, spray and move. Once the threat has been incapacitated seek help and call the police.
Shelf Life And Testing Pepper Spray
Most pepper spray has a shelf life of 3-4 years although some expire after two years. The expiration date should be marked on the canister. Any use of the spray beyond the expiration date is not recommended.
Pepper spray should be tested by firing with half second bursts, both after purchase and then on a regular basis of every 60-90 days. Testing must always be done outside with any wind blowing from behind you.
For more information about the technical and historical aspects of pepper spray visit the pepper spray Wiki page.