Emergency Crime Bill Legalizes Pepper Spray Sales in Washington D.C.—-Which States Will Follow?
The Washington DC Council passed an emergency bill in November 2023 that makes selling and using pepper spray and pepper guns legal for self-defense. Before this legislation passed, only licensed dealers could sell pepper spray due to a 1975 Firearms Control Regulations Act restricting the sale of "destructive devices," including pepper spray.
That’s why it’s been difficult historically for DC residents to get their hands on pepper spray. Even most online sellers have restricted sales in DC, as well as Alaska, Hawaii, Massachusetts, and New York due to this type of legislation.
The team at Mace® Brand is curious about which state will be next to update legislation.
Pepper Spray Isn’t Legal Everywhere?
It is legal in all 50 states to use pepper spray for self-defense, but there are restrictions around the sale of pepper spray in select states. That has prompted retailers to restrict availability in those states, but DC is now off that list for Mace® Brand.
DC legislators say that the rise in crime—robbery and homicide in particular—in the DC area is prompting the change. But there may be something else at work.
Even though pepper spray wasn’t legal to sell in DC before this bill, many other weapons could be purchased for self-defense. A Washington Examiner story revealed that you could easily purchase any of the following items and have them delivered to your door in DC: a 25-inch machete, a set of throwing knives, an authentic katana, a compound bow, and a pocket staff. (1)
But none of those options is discrete or easy to carry, much less used effectively in a crisis, especially without training. Let’s also consider one of the primary benefits of personal safety tools like pepper spray: It’s non-lethal.
When you use weapons like a firearm, katana, or machete to subdue a threat, there is a far greater chance of a lethal outcome. Many people would prefer to subdue a threat without taking a life if at all possible.
That’s where pepper spray and other non-lethal forms of self-defense are an ally. A life-changing situation doesn’t become life-ending for any parties involved.
Stay Safe Out There
(1) Washington Examiner. Why won’t retailers mail pepper spray to residents of crime-ridden DC? Posted: July 26, 2023. Accessed: January 31, 2024.