Keeping Safe: Is Pepper Spray Legal in New York? - Women On Guard


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Keeping Safe: Is Pepper Spray Legal in New York?

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Pepper spray is one of the most effective and powerful non-lethal forms of self-defense. But is pepper spray legal in NY? What are the regulations surrounding pepper spray and is it safe to use?

Questions like these are extremely important and they’re worth answering before you go out and purchase a canister of pepper spray yourself. So continue reading and we’ll walk you through what pepper spray, how to use it, and what are its legal restrictions.

What Is Pepper Spray?

Pepper spray is a self-defense tool that can be used to ward off attackers. It’s extremely powerful and can debilitate a person for as long as one hour. But how does it work?

The active ingredient in pepper spray capsaicin, which comes from peppers. Capsaicin is extracted from finely ground peppers which have been mixed with ethanol. It’s then mixed with water and propylene glycol.

The solution is then packaged into a spray can and thus gives us pepper spray.

How Pepper Spray Works

When pepper spray comes into contact with mucus membranes in the mouth, nose, or eyes, it creates a significant amount of pain. The more capsaicin a person is exposed to, the more paint they will feel.

Once a person is sprayed, distress signals are immediately sent to the brain. The body forces the eyes to shut as it produces large amounts of mucus and tears. This is to protect against more injury and flush out the capsaicin.

While this is happening, the capsaicin is causing inflammation in the eyes and on the skin. It also causes spasms in the larynx and nerve endings in the throat. This makes it very difficult to talk.

People have compared the pain to have shards of glass shoot into your eyes.

What to Do If You Get Pepper Sprayed

The most important rule when you get pepper sprayed is to not touch your face. This will only spread the capsaicin around. You’re going to need a sterile solution that contains magnesium hydroxide.

Magnesium hydroxide is able to break down the capsaicin and make it easier to rinse away. Just make sure that there’s no menthol in the solution, as this can lead to more pain.

Is Pepper Spray Legal in Ny?

Believe it or not, pepper spray is legal in all 50 states. But it is still regulated. For someone to buy pepper spray in New York, they have to be at least 18 years old.

The purchaser also cannot have a record of assault or felony convictions in any state. You can also only purchase pepper spray from a permitted pharmacist or a licensed firearms dealer. Before completing your purchase, you have to fill out a document that states you don’t have any convictions and you’re of legal age.

You’re also only allowed to purchase two canisters of pepper spray at a time.


Any canisters of pepper spray that are sold in New York need to come included with directions for correct use. The instructions also need to contain information about storage and safety. Plus, it must have information regarding to first-aid.

Each canister needs to come with a toll-free phone number that leads you to local self-defense safety and training courses for using pepper spray. And lastly, the canister must state that it’s a criminal offense to use pepper in any instance other than self-defense.


You’re only legally allowed to carry pepper spray on you in New York if it’s a pocket-size canister. A canister needs to have a clear label on it that states that the spray can only be used for self-defense. You also need to purchase pepper spray in New York if you intend to carry it in the state.

If you live in New York, it’s illegal to have pepper spray mailed to you from anywhere outside of New York.

With that said, there are some exceptions to shipping pepper spray. Dog pepper spray, bear pepper spray, and personal alarms are allowed to be shipped into New York from out of state.

People in wildlife areas, as well as urban ones in New York, have the threat of being attacked by wild animals. By using an animal pepper spray, you can humanely and temporarily stun a wild animal and safely escape the situation.

How to Use Pepper Spray

If you’re faced with an attacker, you want to establish a stable standing position. Present your pepper spray with authority and try to stand around 10 feet away from the attacker.

Aim for the person’s eyes and spray ear to ear, going across the eyes. If you miss the reverse, reverse the movement and do it again. While you spray, you want to move to the side so that you can get out of the line of the attacker.

Once you see the pepper spray taking effect, you can either drop the spray or take it with you as run away to safety.

The Importance of Knowing the Legalities of Pepper Spray

Hopefully, after reading the above, you feel that you understand the answer to the question “is pepper spray legal in NY?” By educating yourself more about pepper spray, such as its legality and how it works, you’ll be able to use it more safely and effectively. Owning a canister of pepper spray is a great way to feel more confident and protected when walking around the great state of New York.

Are you looking to better protect yourself and your family? Contact us today and see how we can help you!


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