Because of the pepper spray restrictions imposed in multiple states, many seek to make their own self-defense spray from household items.
While making homemade pepper spray from ghost pepper or dish soap is easy, is it legal to make your own pepper spray?
Let’s explore the pepper spray restrictions, legal consequences, and some of the legal pepper spray products you can carry as a self-defense tool.
What’s in Pepper Spray?
Pepper spray is a chemical that is carried by individuals, especially women, for defense purposes.
When sprayed directly into the eyes, the effects of pepper spray include teary eyes, burns, pain, or even temporary blindness.
In severe cases, those with asthma can experience fatal outcomes and even death.
Pepper spray is also sometimes called oleoresin capsicum spray. It contains OC gas as the active ingredient and is meant to serve as a personal-protection spray.
When used at an effective range, this simple tool can cause serious bodily harm to an attacker, allowing you to run to safety.
Animal sprays such as bear sprays are also often used as an alternative for oleoresin capsicum pepper spray.
Can You Make Your Own Pepper Spray at Home?
So, is it legal to make your own pepper spray?
It is legal to make or be in possession of a self-defense chemical spray, but you have to abide by the imposed carrying restrictions and safety features of its usage.
You can legally purchase a canister of pepper spray containing a limited amount of oleoresin and a specific weight range.
That said, only licensed firearms dealers and other registered sellers can sell oleoresin capsicum spray with varying ranges of oleoresin.
The average weight range of the product is usually 2.5 ounces.
If you do not wish to buy oleoresin capsicum spray and want to make your own personal protection spray device using homemade ingredients, you can do so.
How To Make Your Own Pepper Spray at Home
To make your own personal protection spray device using ingredients you can find at home, follow these steps below:
Step 1: Gather Your Supplies
The first thing to do is to gather the necessary ingredients.
Because of its high heat and propensity for eye discomfort, you can use cayenne pepper to make homemade self-defense spray.
Two teaspoons are all you need, and you can make a number of bottles from such a small quantity.
Alcohol and vegetable oil are also good inert ingredients to add.
Step 2: Start Mixing
In a small cup, add two tablespoons of cayenne paper and mix it into the water.
Using a small, clear glass is preferable since it makes it easy to measure the correct quantities.
Instead of powder, you can also use freshly ground peppers.
Let the mixture settle for a few minutes, and add rubbing alcohol to the mixture.
The cayenne powder will adhere to the alcohol mixture to give it a better consistency.
Stir the mixture from time to time to get a better idea of its development.
Add one tablespoon of vegetable oil for every two tablespoons of cayenne pepper, making sure all of the extra ingredients are properly mixed.
You can substitute baby oil if you don’t want to use vegetable oil.
To enhance the effective range of the spray and make it more potent like those of bear sprays, you can use cayenne pepper with a higher Scoville heat rating.
Because you’re making your own pepper spray at home, there are no constraints on what inert ingredients to use.
You can even make your self-defense chemical spray more effective and unpleasant to the eyes if you add a squeeze of lemon to it.
Whatever inert ingredients you use, ensure they are legal pepper spray products.
Step 3: Filter the Mixture
Filtering the spray mixture is necessary to avoid nozzle blockage. You may cover the rim of another cup with cheesecloth or a coffee filter.
Slowly pour the spray mixture through it. Your self-defense chemical spray will become a seamless liquid when all solid impurities have been removed.
Pepper Spray Restrictions
Carrying an excessive quantity of homemade spray is illegal in many civilized countries, despite being made from common household items.
However, when used in excess, it can become an assault crime, given its damaging effects.
Only a certain amount of product per canister of pepper spray is permitted in some jurisdictions, and offenders can face incarceration or heavy fines if they exceed the limit.
In most cases, self-defense spray contains between 2% and 10% oleoresin capsicum, which is also subject to regulation and several firearms laws.
Before buying a container of pepper spray that includes tear gas, check your state and municipal laws.
The range of oleoresin in a container of pepper spray may be limited in certain jurisdictions but not in others.
In addition to pepper spray, some manufacturers may also sell bear attack deterrent spray.
A bear attack deterrent spray is a more potent pepper solution with more range of oleoresin to ward off an attack from a bear.
That said, using bear spray on a person raises a slew of questions about its legality.
A container of pepper spray cannot be sold to minors, individuals who have committed drug offenses, unauthorized persons, or convicted offenders.
To own and carry pepper spray in public, check with your local police agency to know whether being in possession of pepper spray is prohibited or permitted in your area.
It is also not a good idea to bring pepper spray on an aircraft.
Who Cannot Be in Possession of Pepper Spray?
Several state-imposed limitations restrict certain individuals from owning oleoresin capsicum spray, regardless if it is store-bought or a homemade spray. These include:
- Anyone convicted of an assault crime and anyone convicted of misuse of a personal protection spray device (in non-self-defense situations)
- Individuals below the age of 18 (excluding children over the age of 16 who may buy and carry pepper spray if their parent is present or if given written authorization)
- Individuals who are addicted to any substance such as narcotic drugs or have committed drug offenses
Is It Legal to Make Your Own Pepper Spray?
Yes. It is legal to make your own pepper spray using cayenne pepper and other extra ingredients at home.
However, each canister of pepper spray has to have a permissible amount of oleoresin.
It is also important to make sure that the weight range of the product does not exceed 2.5 ounces.