Pepper spray, or oleoresin capsicum, is legal to use for your personal protection and self defense in most states. However, transporting defense spray or another disabling chemical or device (such as a stun gun) from one place to another can be somewhat tricky-especially if you are traveling by plane. Today’s airline restrictions are very strict, and for good reason. The limitations are in place to keep all passengers and employees safer.
What Pepper Spray Products are Allowed?
There are certain limitations on what you can actually transport while you are traveling by plane-specifically, you are forbidden to travel with any other disabling chemical or device, and these regulations are strictly enforced. The specific rules regarding pepper spray state that carrying a spray on your person or in your carryon luggage is prohibited. If you do feel you need defense spray at your destination, it is possible to get it there since you are allowed to pack pepper spray containers or cans that are 4 oz. or less in your checked baggage. Most pocket or purse-sized pepper spray cans that you will find are generally in the 2.5-3 oz. range, and rarely larger than 4 oz., so this should not be a problem.
Tell the Airline that You Have an O.C. Spray
If you do choose to pack a small can of defense spray or a stun gun in your checked luggage, you must declare this to the clerks at the baggage counter. They will probably want to inspect the can (this is generally required by law), and ensure that there is a locking safety device to prevent unintentional discharge while inside of the bag.
While most self defense spray dispensers are small enough to be contained in your purse or pocket, remember that you will be searched and have to pass through a metal detector prior to boarding the airplane. Concealing the container can get you arrested.
Don’t Conceal Your Defense Spray in Your Carry-on Luggage
If you feel that you will want to have your defense spray or a stun gun for your personal protection at your final travel destination, then knowing the airline safety regulations regarding how to properly pack the spray is very important. Unfortunately, if you do attempt to get through security with the spray on your person or in your carryon baggage, it probably will be confiscated. Safely packing it into your checked baggage at the start of your trip is a much better way to handle the situation and ensure that you still have it to protect yourself when you arrive.
Check All State and City Pepper Spray Regulations of Your Travel Destination
Also, you will want to be sure that you carefully check the laws regarding personal protection devices and disabling chemicals in your destination state. It’s important to understand that there may be specific limitations on the legality of having OC spray in certain states, such as Massachusetts (requires a firearm card), New York (limitations of point of purchase), Wisconsin (limitations on concentration of pepper spray or other chemicals), Washington DC (pepper spray must be registered), California (limits size of container), and Michigan (limits ingredients and size of container). In Canada, pepper spray is completely illegal, so if you are headed to Canada then leave the pepper spray at home.