Pepper Spray Laws and Restrictions

ALABAMA: law only involves the criminal use of a noxious substance.

ALASKA: Legal with restrictions. prohibits the sale of a defensive weapon to a person under 18 years of age. Such a defensive weapon cannot be possessed in a school without permission of certain school authorities, unless the person is 21 years of age or older.

ARIZONA: Legal. There is nothing that appears to regulate or prohibit the lawful use.

ARKANSAS: Legal with restrictions. It is legal to possess a small container but the capacity shall not exceed (150cc)” (including 4 oz canister not 1 lb)There is also a specific prohibition against using and spray against the law enforcement officer.

CALIFORNIA: Legal with restrictions. …any person may purchase, possess or use. The restrictions include selling to a minor, and a provision limiting the size to 2.5 ounces by weight. The misuse in California comes with state penalties of up to a $1000 fine and/or up to three years in prison, not to mention a possible felony conviction on record. Some examples of misuse include; spraying on people in anger, as a joke, possession of by prohibited persons; minors, drug addicts or persons convicted of felonies. To be legally purchased, possessed or used in California, any canister must have a label that says “WARNING: The use of this substance or device for any purpose other than self-defense is a crime under the law. The contents are dangerous–use with care.” The maximum legal net weight for a canister is 2.5 ounces, or 70 grams of OC, CS or CN. CR is not legal for civilian use.



DELAWARE: Legal with restrictions. defines “disabling chemical spray” However, the only prohibitions are restricting their possession by minors, and increasing the penalty for criminal use of the sprays.

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Legal with restrictions. 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.” The buyer must complete a registration form, and the vendor must forward the form to the Metropolitan Police Department.

FLORIDA: 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”. It is an expressly prohibited to use Pepper Spray against a law enforcement officer.


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.

IDAHO: Legal.

ILLINOIS: Legal with restrictions. The use of Pepper Spray is legal for carrying by a person 18 years of age or older. In the City of Chicago (a) No person shall use any device to discharge a noxious gas or liquid in an enclosed room in any Class C-1 or Class C-2 Assembly Unit, as defined in Chapter 13-56 of this Code, or in an enclosed room in any restaurant, bar or tavern that is a Class F Assembly Unit as defined in that chapter, if more than 20 persons are present in that room, unless the person is a peace officer, as defined in Section 8-20-30* of this Code, engaged in law enforcement activity. As used in this section, “noxious gas or liquid” means mace, pepper spray or any other substance that is intended or designed to cause irritation to the eyes, nose or mouth, or to cause nausea.


IOWA: Legal.

KANSAS: Legal.



MAINE: Legal. The criminal use of chemical mace or a similar substance is a violation of the law. The use of such a substance in defending one’s person or property is authorized.

MARYLAND: Legal. Allows any person to carry as a reasonable precaution against danger.

MASSACHUSETTS: Legal with restrictions. a license is required. Therefore, the unlicensed sale is illegal in Massachusetts. Massachusetts residents may only purchased from licensed Firearms Dealers in that state. The licensing authority is the local chief of police or other persons authorized by the locality. If you live in or plan on visiting Massachusetts and you want to carry pepper spray legally, their pepper spray law says you must get a FID (Firearms Identification Card). All you do is go to your local Massachusetts police station, show two forms of ID, fill out a form, pay $2, and wait a week. When you get your FID, keep it on your person (and of course, to make the FID useful, keep your pepper spray on your person as well).

MICHIGAN: Legal with restrictions. Michigan law contains size restrictions (no more than 35 grams of CS or no more than 2% OC [different companies can sell different concentrations]), and no combinations of CS and OC. There is a prohibition on sales to minors.

MINNESOTA: Legal. The use of a is permitted “…in the exercise of reasonable force 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. The law here gives the right of localities to decide of its legality.


MISSOURI: Legal. It allows the use or possession of a device that ejects a “temporary incapacitating substance”.



NEVADA: Legal with restrictions. Nevada law prohibits possession by minors or felons. For use by adults with no more than 2 fluid ounces in the form of an aerosol spray designed for your protection.



NEW JERSEY: Legal with restrictions. Any non-felon 18 or over may possess for your protection “one pocket-sized device which contains and releases not more than three-quarters of an ounce of chemical substance not 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”.

NEW YORK: Legal with restrictions. The possession by persons who are not felons or who have not been convicted of an assault, 18 or over for the protection of person or property and its otherwise lawful use is legal. The definition is “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. There are certain labeling requirements. Sales require both a seller’s license and the completion by a purchaser of a registration form. New York residents may only purchase from licensed Firearms Dealers or licensed Pharmacists in that state. No more than two sprays may be sold at any one time to a single purchaser.

NORTH CAROLINA: Legal with restrictions. Possession and use is lawful for non felons so long as the device does not exceed (150cc)


OHIO: Legal.


PENNSYLVANIA: Legal. “Chemical mace” is specifically excluded from the definition of weapons. There appears to be no regulation or restriction on their lawful use.

RHODE ISLAND: Legal w/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”.

SOUTH CAROLINA: Legal w/restrictions. It is lawful to possess a container not exceeding fifty cubic centimeters (50cc)



TEXAS: Legal. It is permissible to possess a “small chemical dispenser sold commercially for personal protection.

UTAH: Legal.



WASHINGTON STATE: Legal with restrictions. authorizes the sale and use of Pepper Spray. There is an age restriction to persons age 18 and older, or 14 with a parent or guardian’s permission.


WISCONSIN: Legal with restrictions. UV Dye or combination sprays are not permissible. A “device or container that contains a combination of oleoresin of capsicum and inert ingredients” is permissible. By regulation, OC products with a maximum OC concentration of 10% and weight range of oleoresin of capsicum and inert ingredients of 15-60 grams is authorized. Further, the product can not be camouflaged, and must be designed to prevent accidental discharge. In addition there are certain labeling requirements..