Pepper Spray Laws by State: A Simple Cheat Sheet With All the Details by Brett K for Concealed Carry Today
Pepper spray is a non-lethal chemical compound that works by causing temporary blindness and is primarily used in self-defense (including animals) and for crowd or riot control.
Pepper spray is a great self-defense tool when a firearm, or lethal weapon, is not needed, not allowed, or if you just don’t like to use firearms. Whether you are jogging in the evening on a dark street or hiking in the mountains, there are numerous reasons for needing and choosing pepper spray, and consistently carrying it on your person.
It is easy to conceal and carry
Because of its small size, pepper spray is easy to carry and conceal. Common devices include (but are certainly not limited to) hip holsters or key chains that give you the ability to access and use pepper spray almost instantly. And it can easily be disguised.
It is affordable
Though prices will range, you can easily purchase pepper spray for under $10, making it an affordable self-defense option for anyone.
You can make pepper spray at home
In the event of a situation where you can no longer purchase pepper spray, here is a helpful guide on making pepper spray at home.
It is legal in all 50 states
Pepper spray is legal in all 50 states, though there are some conditions in place in certain states.
Pepper Spray Laws
Carrying and using pepper spray for self-defense is recognized and legal in all 50 states. But before entering a state, it is important to understand the varying laws in each respective state.
That is because possession or use of pepper spray may be limited or restricted in some jurisdictions. Some states have limitations that include:
- The size of the pepper spray container;
- The concentration of the pepper spray;
- The age you must be to possess or purchase pepper spray;
- Prohibitions against felons or others with a criminal history from possessing or purchasing pepper spray.
While many states may have restrictions, no state requires training or a permit to possess or purchase pepper spray, whether it is concealed or not.
A large number of states make no mention of pepper spray or similar chemicals and therefore have no restriction on their legal use. And there are some commonsense laws that are on the books in a number of states, such as a prohibition against using pepper spray on law enforcement officers.
Pepper spray is for self-defense purposes only regardless of the state and whether or not they make mention of pepper spray in their state statutes.
Disclaimer: These laws are subject to change at any time, and certain municipalities may have additional restrictions. Therefore you should check with your local law enforcement officials to verify current statutes. See our full disclaimer here.
Here is a rundown of the laws in each, with applicable legal statute (if available).
Pepper Spray Laws in Alabama
Alabama has no laws that prohibit individuals from carrying or using pepper spray. It is legal to buy, carry, use, or ship to Alabama. The only restrictions in Alabama concerning the use of pepper spray is in the commission of a crime.
“The crime of criminal use of a defense spray is committed if the perpetrator uses a defense spray including, but not limited to pepper spray, foam and any other self-defense chemical spray against another person in the commission of a crime or against a law enforcement officer while the law enforcement officer is performing his or her official duties.”
Pepper Spray Laws in Alaska
Pepper spray is legal in Alaska, with certain restrictions. State law prohibits the sale of a defensive weapon, including pepper spray, to a person under 18 years old. It is also illegal to possess in a school without the permission of school authorities.
“A person is justified in using nondeadly force upon another when and to the extent, the person reasonably believes it is necessary for self-defense against what the person reasonably believes to be the use of unlawful force by the other person.”
Pepper Spray Laws in Arizona
Arizona has no laws that prohibit individuals from carrying or using pepper spray. It is legal to buy, carry, use, or ship to Arizona. The use of pepper spray is not allowed in response to verbal provocation alone or to resist arrest.
“A person is justified in threatening or using physical force against another when and to the extent a reasonable person would believe that physical force is immediately necessary to protect himself against the other’s use or attempted use of unlawful physical force.”
Pepper Spray Laws in Arkansas
It is legal to buy, carry, use, or ship pepper spray to Arkansas, yet the container cannot exceed 150 cubic centimeters (150 cc).