Is Pepper Spray Legal in Massachusetts?

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Self-defense spray is an essential tool to ensure your safety in times of danger.

However, you should know that the U.S. Congress has ruled that pepper spray is considered a weapon.

Therefore, it is bound by certain firearms laws. That said, there is one question that we’ll try to answer today.

Is pepper spray legal in Massachusetts?

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    The short answer is yes. You will not be charged with any criminal act by any law enforcement agency for carrying, purchasing, or using pepper spray.

    Additionally, you are not required to have a Firearms Identification Card or any Federal Firearms Licenses to possess and use the tool.

    However, pepper spray, along with other defense spray products, is not allowed to be mailed to a private citizen in Massachusetts, even when it’s from a licensed firearms dealer.

    The only exception to this is animal pepper sprays.

    On the other hand, an authorized dealer may receive self-defense sprays mailed to the state for whatever purpose they may serve.

    Additionally, it is important to note that even though it is a type of defense spray, you need to be extra mindful when using it.

    What Does the Law Say About Using, Carrying, and Purchasing Pepper Spray in Massachusetts?

    Section 131 C and D of the Massachusetts Firearms Law states that any person of legal age can purchase, carry, and use mace, pepper spray, and other types of defense spray without a Firearm Identification Card.

    However, there are certain limitations that you need to be aware of.

    These limitations are discussed in the Section 122D of the same law, and they are as follows:

    • A person may not possess or purchase any defense spray product if he:
      • Is convicted or determined as a youthful offender
      • Has previous records in the U.S. National Archives for felony
      • Has committed any form of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for two years or more
      • Has previous records with any police department for committing a violent crime
      • Has previously violated a law regarding the use, possession, sale, and transportation of firearms, as long as the charge is punishable by imprisonment
      • Has previously violated a law regarding the possession, sale, and use of any controlled substance
    • Any person who has been admitted to a mental institution or a hospital for a mental condition may not possess, purchase, or use any type of defense spray unless:
      • A licensed mental health professional is currently aware of the person’s condition
      • The said licensed mental health professional provides the patient with an affidavit indicating that the illness does not disable the patient from possessing or using the self-defense spray
    • Any person who is in recovery or currently diagnosed with alcohol and/or substance use disorder may not possess, purchase, or use any type of self-defense spray unless:
      • A licensed health professional deems that the person is in recovery from the condition
      • The person has been in recovery for more than five years since the date of confinement
      • An affidavit issued by the licensed health professional is submitted by the person prior to the possession or purchase of the self-defense spray.

    • Any person who is currently considered an alien in Massachusetts for failing to maintain lawful permanent residency may not own, purchase, or use any type of defense spray.
    • Any person with an outstanding arrest warrant within federal jurisdiction or in any of the other states may not possess, purchase, or use a self-defense spray.

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    The following are specific examples of when it’s legal to use pepper spray. Do take note that the legal use of pepper spray is not limited to this list.

    • When you are in a situation where multiple attackers are trying to harm you
    • When you are in a situation where an attacker is carrying a weapon
    • When the attacker trying to harm you is much larger than you or has undergone combat training that makes him or her more dangerous
    • When the person attacking you is also carrying a pepper spray and is attempting to use it on you
    • Any other instance where another person is threatening to harm or injure you

    If you found yourself in any of these situations, or any other situation where you felt it necessary to use pepper spray, be sure to get yourself to safety and head to the nearest police station to report the incident.

    Important Reminders on Pepper Spray Purchase, Possession, and Use

    Here are some important reminders about the purchase, possession, and use of pepper spray to ensure you don’t face criminal liabilities:

    • The only acceptable and legal use of pepper spray is for self-defense, which means when you or another person’s life is in danger.
    • This tool shall not be used to threaten, coerce, or harm another individual or animal unless the same is attempted on you.
    • You must only purchase pepper spray from a licensed firearms dealer.

    This should not be an issue since most of them keep self-defense sprays in stock, and it’s easily accessible to people over 18 years of age.

    • Even though it’s less concentrated, animal pepper spray may also be used to deter human perpetrators.

    It may still induce the same effects as pepper spray intended for humans.

    • Roughly one in every 20 people will show no signs of discomfort to being sprayed with this self-defense tool.

    Therefore, you must still try your best to run to safety prior to or after using pepper spray.

    • Some states or local jurisdictions may have their own rules and regulations regarding the purchase, possession, and use of pepper spray.

    As such, it’s best to consult your local government before acquiring one.

    Pepper Spray Use in Massachusetts

    So, is pepper spray legal in Massachusetts?

    Generally, yes, as long as it’s purchased from a licensed firearms dealer or an authorized seller and that it’s used solely for self-defense.

    If you are uncertain about laws surrounding pepper spray and other types of self-defense tools in your area, consult your local government or a criminal attorney for guidance.


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