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The Complete US State-by-State Guide to Legal Restrictions On Pepper Sprays

“Can I legally use pepper spray to defend myself?” a PepperFace customer recently asked when deciding whether or not to purchase a pepper spray.

While it is a straightforward question, the answer is not 100% cut and dry.

Let’s start with what we know. On a federal level, pepper spray is legal in 50 states and the District of Columbia. Yet, the government does not allow pepper spray in government buildings or restricted areas. For example, commercial airlines do not permit pepper spray on their flights—possession can result in a fine of up to $25,000.

Additionally, after the events of 9/11, the federal government banned pepper sprays from both federal and state buildings. They also restrict it from any location where you need to pass through security.

Despite these exceptions, the federal government permits access to pepper spray. There are, however, exceptions from state to state.

Understanding The Legality of Pepper Spray In The US

While 27 states across the nation have little to no restrictions on pepper spray, the remaining 23 states and the District of Columbia rules vary tremendously.

For example, some states have blindingly obvious laws that ask you NOT to use your pepper spray for “criminal mischief”.

Additionally, some states increased their regulation of pepper spray. Depending on how you use the spray, you may face up to $1,000 in penalties and three years in prison in states like California.

Also, many cities have their own set of regulations. While we did not mention all city regulations, we did add some details regarding major cities such as Chicago and Honolulu.

Finally, the laws constantly change. For example, while writing this guide, Michigan changed their laws. Because of the new regulation, we are now in compliance with their pepper spray laws.


We understand that abiding by varying regulations can be overwhelming. To help you, we created a handy guide below to answer your questions.

Final Thoughts

It’s worth mentioning that our pepper sprays are around 1.5 ounces. Most states permit a pepper spray this small. That is why a lot of customers come to PepperFace. We not only work to protect you, but we also keep up with and respect laws around the country to ensure that we provide our unique safety tool to as many individuals as possible.

If you have further questions, contact us for more information to see if you can purchase PepperFace in your state.

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