Is It Legal To Carry Pepper Spray or Mace?


Is it legal to carry pepper spray or mace? Believe it or not pepper spray and mace are legal for self defense and personal security purposes in all U.S. states. New York, Massachusetts, and Michigan have specific restrictions that must be followed in order for users to be lawful.

Residents of New York state must purchase all defense spray from a licensed firearm dealer or licensed Pharmacist from within the state of New York. Unfortunately, this means it is unlawful to purchase pepper spray products from anyone outside of the state. So if you live in New York find a licensed dealer. Before you can purchase your defense spray you will be asked to sign a form that affirms you are 18 years of age or older and have no felony convictions. Residents are limited to 2 canisters of pepper spray per transaction.

Massachusetts does not allow consumers to recieve pepper spray or mace by mail. All residents must purchase from a licensed firearm dealer from within the state. Residents of Massachusetts do not have to sign for their pepper spray products, so they are on the honor system. As a result, many consumers purchase defense sprays online and have them shipped to an address outside of the state.

Ironically, both New York and Massachusetts put no restrictions on the sale of bear spray and dog repellent even though the active ingredients are often the same. Some bear sprays are more potent and powerful than the human version. With no restictions on the animal version, many consumers living in New York or Massachusetts purchase online for their personal self defense.

The state of Michigan limits the concentration of pepper spray to 2% OC (oleoresin capsicum). A 2% concentration of CS tear gas is also legal. Pepper spray and tear gas cannot be combined. This law was undoubtedly established by someone with no knowledge of pepper spray products as the percent concentration of OC does not necessarily correlate to hottness or potency. For example, we sell a 10% OC pepper spray concentration that is rated at 2 million SHU’s, (scoville heat units are the industry accepted measure of hotness) which is illegal in Michigan. We also sell a 2% concentration that has a 5.3 million scoville heat unit rating and is legal. Michigan residents are limited to 35 grams of spray per person.

There are cities, towns, and counties who have specific restrictions regarding the use of a self defense spray like mace or pepper spray. It is advisable that you check with local law enforcement to ensure you are following all applicable laws.