Only half of the people who live in the Goober State feel safe, which is lower than the national average (55%).
If you are one of them, you are probably wondering, is pepper spray legal in Georgia?
While it is far from being a deadly weapon, it is still an effective self-defense tool.
Non-lethal weapons like these can buy you precious minutes or even seconds to make your escape.
So it is only natural if you want to carry one.
Before discussing whether defensive sprays are legal tools in Georgia, you must understand the difference between lethal and non-lethal weapons.
What is a Lethal Weapon or Deadly Weapon?
Based on the Georgia Code, the term lethal weapon applies to a gun or firearm, whether loaded or unloaded.
Since it can discharge a bullet through an explosive action, it earns the label of a lethal and, therefore, dangerous weapon.
It sets the parameters for what can be considered a handgun.
A gun falls under this category if its barrel does not exceed 12 inches.
However, note that this definition only covers guns capable of a single shot of no more than 0.46 cm.
Another dangerous weapon is the knife, a bladed instrument no longer than 12 inches based on the same code.
These details are essential to the discussion because they set the stage for an important topic: the weapons carry license.
It clears up a common misconception that you must secure one if you want to carry non-lethal weapons.
What Are Non-Lethal or “Less Lethal” Weapons?
Now that we have established what lethal defensive weapons are, it’s time to talk about the less lethal ones.
These types of weapons typically come in three forms: chemical sprays, stun guns and tasers, and batons or nightsticks.
It is obvious what sets them apart from firearms and knives, which is that they are not as deadly.
However, you should not make the mistake of assuming that these types of weapons are not dangerous.
For instance, some studies have shown that an electroshock weapon like a stun gun can stop the heart.
Certain factors can increase the chances of this happening – the risk is there, no matter how low.
The same principle applies to pepper spray products.
Under certain conditions, they can leave lasting injuries, and it is something that you should not overlook.
Knowing these things will help you understand why pepper spray laws exist.
Lawmakers design these regulations to discourage abuse or misuse of these types of weapons.
Is Pepper Spray Legal in Georgia?
Now that we have laid the groundwork, it is time to answer the question, “Is pepper spray legal in Georgia?”
By now, you probably have a good idea that self-defense pepper spray regulations in Georgia allow civilian use.
That said, you should also know that there are a few limitations.
First is the age restriction, which limits the purchase of this safety tool to those 18 years old or older.
However, this permission does not apply to individuals who have a felony on record.
Aside from this, you must make sure that you use your pepper spray only for self-defense purposes.
Failure to prove this after using your spray might require you to deal with its legal fallout.
Outside of these requirements, Georgia has a pretty permissive attitude towards pepper sprays.
It does not limit the size of pepper spray you can carry in public.
In comparison, many other states restrict the type and amount of active ingredients in legal sprays.
They also do not allow the combination of different active ingredients in a single canister.
This is allowed in Georgia.
Another thing that makes Georgia an ideal place for pepper spray users is that it allows the shipping of these products.
It means that you can purchase from online suppliers and have them delivered to you without worrying about violating any laws.
As you can see, the Goober State is relatively permissive when it comes to the purchase, use, and shipping of pepper sprays.
Moreover, access to pepper spray is not a problem since you can buy it from licensed retail and online shops.
That said, this does not indicate that you should take pepper sprays lightly.
Proper use involves a learning curve that you can only achieve with a bit of practice.
You can do this by taking a couple of practice sprays or buying from a brand that provides products with a practice canister.
Try to master the distance and the pattern of the spray.
Doing so will allow you to hit your target more efficiently, even in high-stress situations.
How About the Other Non-Lethal Weapons?
Aside from pepper spray, there are other non-lethal weapons that you can use in Georgia.
You do not need a weapons carry license, but you do need to exercise caution when using them.
Stun Guns and Tasers
In Georgia, you can carry electroshock weapons like stun guns and tasers without a license.
However, these personal defense tools are not allowed in schools.
Those who have a statutory exemption are not subject to these restrictions.
Batons and Nightsticks
Like pepper sprays and stun guns, you can wield the baton as a weapon in defense of yourself or those around you.
That said, safety zone laws may prohibit its use within school premises.
Make sure that you follow the guidelines and observe proper techniques when using them.
Other Chemical Sprays
Chemical sprays are generally subject to the same guidelines that apply to pepper sprays.
Local ordinances could not stop their sale or purchase.
Moreover, it does not fit the definition of the term “weapon,” even when it comes to schools.
Protect Yourself the Right Way
Pepper sprays are designed to protect you against would-be attackers.
They are simple self-defense tools that are easy to acquire and carry in the State of Georgia and can be the difference between life and death.
However, this should not come at the expense of your own safety or of other civilians around you.
Make sure you deploy it using the proper techniques and that you do not run afoul of Georgia’s pepper spray laws.