Do you have questions about pepper spray? The article has a lot of common pepper spray QA that might be helpful to anyone planning to buy a defense spray.
The safety of our loved ones and ourselves is paramount these days. Our livelihood can be threatened by a bad seed and we should protect ourselves from such an element. Pepper spray remedies that without having to resort to keeping firearms around children; yet, like guns, pepper spray should be kept away from small hands and used only in cases of emergencies and threatening circumstances.
Here are some common pepper spray questions and answers about self defense weapon:
Question 1: Can pepper spray kill?
Answer: No, however, the mixture of pepper spray and a drug (such as cocaine) could cause fatality. Pepper spray in itself has not been a direct link to a death.
Question 2: Is pepper spray harmful to the eye?
Answer: The spray is meant to ward off attackers and as is such, will cause an immediate burning effect – long enough to seek help. Different sprays have varied levels of irritation.
Question 3: Does pepper spray contain cancer causing agents?
Answer: At press time, it is not listed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as cancer causing.
Question 4: Is it legal where you live and travel?
Answer: Yes and No. It depends on how old you are, where you live, where you are going and how you will get there. To purchase pepper spray you must be at least 18 years of age or older, know and understand laws governing the purchase and use of these products and agree to all terms and conditions of the seller.
It is illegal to carry pepper spray on board a commercial aircraft. It is a Federal crime and can carry up to a $25,000 dollar fine. You can carry pepper spray in your checked baggage although we suggest you call the ticket agent or airline and ask before you go to the airport.
Since September 11, 2001 you may have problems carrying pepper spray into secured locations such as Federal buildings, State buildings or anywhere you pass through a security checkpoint.
Although there may be no laws about it you should use your common sense.
In most states in the United States, pepper spray is legal to possess and carry. You can call your local law enforcement to be sure or your states Attorney Generals office. Remember it is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to comply with the law.
Massachusetts – Residents must only purchase pepper spray from licensed Firearms Dealers in the state of Massachusetts.
Michigan – OC Pepper Spray (the type of pepper spray we promote) can be no stronger then a 2% concentrate. This is called Michigan Formula Pepper Spray (SPG-1). No combination sprays are allowed.
NEW YORK – New York residents can only legally purchase pepper sprays from licensed Firearms Dealers or licensed Pharmacists in the state of New York.
Wisconsin – The pepper spray OC can be no stronger then a 10% solution. The can must be between 15-60 grams only and it must have safety feature. Tear gas, UV Dyes and combination sprays are illegal.
Canada – You can buy pepper spray in Canada but only if it is called bear repellant. But don’t even think of using it against 2-legged attackers or you could be charged with a crime. The Canadian
Federal Government has not yet banned pepper spray completely but there is a large grey area about its legal ownership and use. For example:
* If you purchase pepper spray in the United States and the container or the packaging says it is for protection against human attackers, it is likely that Canada Customs will seize it and you could face charges.
* If you use pepper spray on a human in Canada, the police can charge you under the Criminal Code.
This website is for discussion purposes only. No legal advice is offered or implied. It is your responsibility to check your local laws before you decide to purchase or use pepper spray.
Question 5: How do I know what to get?
Answer: When you buy pepper spray take note of the percentage of pepper you are purchasing. It should be at least 8%. But by far, even more important is the Scoville Heat Unit Rating. Good self-defense products at least 1.5 million to 2 million SHU, qualify as law enforcement grade.
Remember, when you buy pepper spray, if the manufacture does not include the SHU (Scoville Heat Units) on their product, it is likely a low quality pepper spray. You could buy a cheap pepper spray, but do you want to make an attacker angry or do you want to disable them? 15% pepper qualifies as Law Enforcement Grade Pepper Gas (cayenne pepper spray).
Question 6: Are there any places where I shouldn’t carry pepper spray?
Answer: Yes! It is illegal to carry pepper spray on board a commercial aircraft. It is a Federal crime and can carry up to a $25,000 dollar fine. You can carry pepper spray in your checked baggage although we suggest you call the ticket agent and ask before you go to the airport.
Since 9/11/01 you may have problems carrying pepper spray into secured locations such as Federal buildings, State buildings or anywhere you pass through a security checkpoint. Although there may be no laws about it, you should use your common sense.
Question 7: How does pepper spray work?
Answer: The active ingredient in pepper spray is oleoresin capsicum or OC. The OC is derived from Cayenne peppers, some of the hottest peppers in the world. Where mace and tear gas are irritants, pepper spray OC is an inflammatory agent. When this inflammatory agent comes in contact with eyes, nose, throat and lungs, it causes immediate dilation of the capillaries. The result is
temporary blindness, considerable tearing of the eyes, instant inflammation of the breathing tube and temporary paralysis of the larynx, which causes subjects to lose their breath. The OC will create an intense burning sensation on the surface of the skin.
After being sprayed, attackers’ reactions become reflexive in nature. They immediately cover their eyes and bend over in a defensive posture to avoid further contact. The effects of the spray generally last about 20 to 45 minutes (as little as 10 minutes in some and as long as 60 minutes in others) and leaves no lasting after effects.
Because pepper spray is an inflammatory and not an irritant it is effective on people who feel no pain such as psychotics and those under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Question 8: When should I use my pepper spray?
Answer: You should ONLY use pepper spray in the following situations:
If the physically safety of someone you care about is threatened
If the life of someone you care about is in danger
If your physically safety is threatened
If your life is in danger
Warning: It is a crime to use pepper spray to commit malicious acts.
Question 9: How do I use pepper spray?
Answer: When it comes time to use your pepper spray make sure you have distance between you and the threat if possible. Aim your spray at the eyes and facial region of the threat and spray for 1 to 2 seconds. NOW MOVE OUT OF THE WAY and keep your eyes on the threat. You want to avoid being grabbed by someone just sprayed.
The pepper spray can take a moment or two to cause a reaction. Watching the reaction of the threat will allow you to determine if you should apply another shot of pepper spray. Remember “Spray and Move!” Once the threat is neutralized, leave the area. They will NOT follow you. Consider seeking help and call the police.
Question 10: What are the ingredients in pepper spray?
Answer: Pepper spray is made from Cayenne pepper. A high-pressure process is used to extract the oils, called OC or Oleoresin Capsicum. This is the active ingredient in pepper spray. The pure extract is then diluted with an inert ingredient to reduce the SHU to the desired level.
Pepper spray is also known as O.C. spray or OC (from the oleoresin capsicum).
Question 11: What is SHU?
Answer: SHU stands for Scoville Heat Unit. SHU is a unit of measurement that determines how hot something is. The SHU rating ranges from 1 million SHU up to 5 million SHU. At concentrations as small as 1 million SHU, the pepper is detectable by taste in as little as 1 part per million or 1 drop of OC in 1 million drops of water.
Question 12: Does pepper spray expire?
Answer: Yes it does. Usually it will still work 3 to 4 years from the date of purchase, but it will lose its potency over time. Using pepper spray beyond the expiration date is a bad idea. You could safely replace your pepper spray every two years but, we find it is hard to remember something every two years. We mark our calendar with the next purchase date so that we remember to replace the pepper spray every year! That way we are always assured that the spray will do it’s job when we need it.
Question 13: How can I be sure my pepper spray will work when I need it?
Answer: By testing and practice. We mark our calendar so that we get in the habit of testing the defense spray every three months. Take your pepper spray outside and check which direction the wind is blowing. Remember to always spray downwind. Press the firing mechanism for half a second. This will also let you know the range and dispersal pattern of your spray. You should always test it when you first purchase it and every three months after that.
Note: Every time you test your spray you reduce the contents available for next time. If you are using a key chain model and you follow the above testing timetable, you will need to replace the unit every 9 to 12 months. Check the reference information on the back of the packaging for more information.