Is Pepper Spray Legal?

Written by rob wagner | 13/05/2017
Is Pepper Spray Legal?

Pepper spray, which uses a highly concentrated chemical compound containing oleoresin capsicum from peppers, is generally used by law enforcement officers in riot situations, crowd control and self-defence. Animal control officers use it to ward off bears, attacking dogs and other animals. It's also used by civilians, primarily among women, for self-protection. Legal possession of pepper spray varies in each country and state. Assaulting a person with pepper spray in the U.S. is a crime.

War Ban

Is Pepper Spray Legal?
Some women carry pepper spray for self-protection.

Chemical weapons convention article I.5 bans the use of pepper in war, although U.S. military personnel are equipped with it while on duty in Iraq prisons.

Foreign Restrictions

Is Pepper Spray Legal?
Law enforcement use pepper spray for crowd control.

It is illegal for civilian use in Belgium, Denmark, Iceland, Malta and the United Kingdom.

Legal with Conditions

Is Pepper Spray Legal?
Custom guns are manufactured for pepper spray.

The spray is legal for civilians in Germany, Italy, Lativa, South Korean, the Philippines, Israel, Russia, Sweden and Spain with varying degrees of restrictions on chemical concentration or licensing.

Law Varies

In the United States, the states of Michigan, New York, Massachusetts, California and Wisconsin permit the civilian possession of pepper spray, but may be limited to less than 85.1gr or a concentration level of less than 10 per cent.

Bear Repellent

Is Pepper Spray Legal?
Purchasing pepper spray for protection from animals is relatively easy.

Most states permit the sale of pepper spray as bear or animal repellent.

Illegal Use

Under California state law, a person misusing or assaulting another with pepper spray or tear gas is guilty of a felony and faces three years in prison and a £650 fine.


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